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JUNE / JULY 2015 Newsletter

FIRST Holy Communion

A great day for the family, to which they’ve looked eagerly forward for months. The young candidate has been carefully prepared by the Church so that he or she understands what receiving the Lord in Holy Communion means. As the day nears, other preparations include the making of beautiful white clothing and arrangements for a family celebration: festive food and drink and lots of party music. Yes, it’s a big day: what the French call a rite de passage, a day which the family wants recorded in photographs and on video. Almost everyone enjoys a party. Hardly any family needs advice on the party side of First Communion, just as no one needs

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bishop Emeritus Michael cleary bids farewell

BISHOP-Emeritus Michael Joseph Cleary quietly said goodbye to The Gambia when on Saturday 14th March he left for Ireland
having spent nearly sixty-two years here as teacher, Principal, Vicar- General, Education Secretary, and (from 1981 to 2006) Bishop of Banjul. In a brief statement, Bishop Cleary said, ‘...in my 90th year, I feel I should live nearer hospital and nursing care and not be a burden here. ‘So I wish to sincerely thank you for the best years of my life. I now ask the Almighty to guide and protect you and your friends and families. ‘You will always be in my thoughts and prayers. ‘God love and bless you all.’ Farewell Mass The evening before his departure, Bishop Cleary took part in a Mass with Bishop Ellison and the priests of the

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Fr Matthias Murphy Unforgettable priest and teacher

FIVE years ago, on Corpus Christi Sunday - 6th June 2010 - Father Matthias Murphy announced to his congregation at Holy
Spirit Banjul that after more than thirty years as their Parish Priest he was about to retire, just as three years earlier, he had retired from teaching at St Augustine’s School. ‘I can’t believe it,’ was the comment of one long-standing regular at Holy Spirit. ‘When I think of this church I think of Fr Murphy. He’s always been here.’ Not quite. The first Parish Priest at Holy Spirit when it was opened in 1968 was Fr John Hogan, who was succeeded by Fr Michael Murray and Fr Frank Leahy. It was in 1975 that Fr Murphy became Parish Priest. He was to serve the church and parish for almost

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APRIL / MAY 2015 Newsletter

Fr Anthony Gabisi and Fr Peter Gomez celebrate 30 years as priests

The Gambia’s largest parish, St Therese’s Kanifing). Under Bishop Cleary, Fr Gomez served as Vicar-General for the western section of the diocese, while Fr Gomez, based in Soma, was Vicar-General of the eastern section. Fr Gomez punctuated his ministry in The Gambia for a while to study Liturgy at St Patrick’s College Carlo, in Ireland, and returned for further studies in Ireland in 2008, when he found the country much changed. Fr Gabisi spent two years at Port Harcourt, Nigeria, studying for a master’s degree.

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bishop Ellison attends installation of new Archbishop

BISHOP Robert Ellison and the Vicar-General of the Diocese of Banjul, Fr Emile Sambou, were present on 22nd February,
the First Sunday of Lent, at the enthronement in the Cathedral of Notre Dame des Victoires, Dakar, of the newly-appointed Archbishop of Dakar, the Most Revd Benjamin Ndiaye (pictured left). Archbishop Ndiaye was born in 1947 and ordained priest in 1977. He studied in Jerusalem and Paris. He became Bishop of Kaolack in June 2003, having been Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Dakar. Last October, he took part in the Synod on the Family in Rome. Archbishop Ndiaye takes over as Archbishop of Dakar from Cardinal Théodore Adrien Sarr, who stepped down in December last year after

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Francis bids us not to forget the poor

IN his Lent message, Pope Francis warned against indifference to the poor.‘Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable,
we forget about others (which God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure... our heart grows cold,’ he said. ‘As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well-off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalisation of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.’ He continued: ‘Indifference to our neighbour and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more

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FEBRUARY / MARCH 2015 Newsletter

What does the Catholic community ask of us, this Lent?

FOR many people, the season of Lent is a time when they put away their bad habits - only to go back to them
after Easter. During Lent, attendance at weekday Mass goes up, prayer meetings are well-attended, and people generally are more willing to help others. But Lent can subtly tempt us to tell ourselves lies, so as to feel virtuous. Suppose I attend Mass every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday? If I stop arguing with a certain person during Lent, perhaps it won’t matter what I say to that person at other times. Yes, in many ways I can tell myself, ‘I’m doing the right things during Lent, so it doesn’t matter so much what I

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Rejoice! Two new priests for the diocese

REJOICING at Lamin and throughout the diocese marked the priestly ordination by Bishop Robert Ellison on Saturday
24th January of two young Gambian deacons, James Mendy and Tanislas Ndecky. The ordination, followed by the usual festivities, was held at St Peter’s Senior Technical Secondary School Lamin on the feast day of St Francis de Sales. The rite of ordination is what ‘makes’ a priest, having already been a deacon. The rite occurs within the Mass. After being called forward and presented to the assembly, the candidates, James Mendy and Tanlislas Ndecky, were questioned.

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Our nation’s fifty years of Independence

FIFTY years ago our country took its rightful place in the family of nations, and Wednesday 18th February is the Golden
Jubilee of Gambian Independence. In this country’s history as a sovereign state there have of course been ups and downs. But we can give hearty thanks that The Gambia has maintained its territorial integrity, social stability and its pride in nationhood. Gambians have a sense of ‘family’. This is something to which Catholics especially respond. We know that though we are important as individuals, we belong to the family of the nation, the Church and the world. In our country, Catholics are a minority, but we

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DECEMBER 2014 / JANUARY 2015 Newsletter

A beautiful time to rediscover God’s love

THIS YEAR, once again, I’ve had the opportunity of leading thirty-one Gambian pilgrims to the Holy Land
for our annual pilgrimage. We stayed in Bethlehem for seven days. For those making the pilgrimage for the first time, staying at the birthplace of Jesus was a dream come true. We celebrated one of our Sunday Masses at one of the oldest surviving churches in the world: the Church of the Nativity, near the place where it is believed that Mary gave birth to Jesus. Around 160 AD, Justin Martyr wrote that Jesus had been born in a cave in this part of Bethlehem. We used the Christmas Day readings and sang carols.

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Rejoicing as four young Gambians make their first profession

FOUR young Gambians made their first profession of vows as Sisters of the Presentation of Mary at a joyful Eucharist
for our annual pilgrimage. We stayed in Bethlehem for seven days. For those making the pilgrimage for the first time, staying at the birthplace of Jesus was a dream come true. We celebrated one of our Sunday Masses at one of the oldest surviving churches in the world: the Church of the Nativity, near the place where it is believed that Mary gave birth to Jesus. Around 160 AD, Justin Martyr wrote that Jesus had been born in a cave

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Well done!
A message from Bishop ROBERT ELLISON on the Centenary Celebrations

THE CELEBRATIONS for the Centenary of our Cathedral have come and gone. For many of you it involved a lot of hard work and commitment, especially as we faced the final great climax of Sang Marie 2014. A special word of gratitude is due to the members of the Centenary Committee for the way in which they kept the process and the implementation of the various events moving right up to the end. For all of us it was a most memorable occasion due to the meticulous preparations of the committee as well as the exceptional attendance of our Catholic community across the entire diocese, along with other friends and visitors - despite the heavy rain with its

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OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2014 Newsletter

Hail and farewell

Bishop Ellison’s appointments and the return of two priests to Senegal
BISHOP Robert Ellison has appointed two newly-arrived missionary priests to serve in the Diocese of Banjul. The newcomers are Fr Joseph K. Fynn CSSp, from Ghana, who is to be Assistant Priest at St Joseph’s, Basse, and Fr Godwin Nnadgiza MSP, from Nigeria, who is be Assistant Priest at Holy Spirit, Banjul. In other appointments, Fr Michael Gomez CSSp is to be Parish Priest at St Peter’s Parish Lamin. Fr Peter Jammeh CSSp, is to be Parish Priest at Sacred Heart, Bansang. Fr Yenes Manneh, formerly at St Augustine’s Senior Secondary School, is to be Priest at Christ the King, Dasilami. Fr Matthew Mendy, formerly at Bwiam, is to be Parish Priest at St Martin’s, Kartong.

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Ebola

What we should all know EBOLA is a disease caused by an ebola virus. Symptoms start two days to three
weeks after the virus has been contacted. The symptoms are fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Typically, vomitting, diarrhoea and rash follow, with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. Around this time, affected people may begin to bleed both within the body and externally. The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal. Spreading through the air has not been documented in the natural environment. Fruit bats are believed to carry and spread the virus without being affected.

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Sin, suffering and hope

EVER since the advent of regular newspapers in the 18th century much of the news has been ‘bad news’ – stories of conflict, corruption, assassination, scandal. What is it that so fascinates us about ‘bad guys’, rather than ‘good guys’? With the coming of radio and television in the 20th century the daily news output of gloom and doom intensified. And of course in our own high-tech age bad news flashes across the world in seconds: a suicide bomb somewhere in Asia, say, is broadcast round the world in next-to-no-time. So much bad news every day can be depressing. Problems in plenty in our own continent – in the Central African Republic, for example: in Libya, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria; not to mention, elsewhere

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AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2014 Newsletter

Our very own Sang Marie

THE FEAST of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on 15th August throughout the universal Church.
It is a Holy Day of Obligation, when no Catholic should wilfully miss taking part in the Mass. But this doesn’t need to be underlined in The Gambia, where the Catholic Cathedral is dedicated to Our Lady of the Assumption, who is Patron of the Diocese of Banjul.

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Gambian pilgrims in Israel in 2010

GAMBIAN pilgrims are to visit Israel and Egypt from 8th to 22nd October. In the Holy Land they will visit holy sites at
Nazareth, Cana, Capernaum, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem, Bethany and Jericho. The visit to Mount Sinai will be the second made by Gambian pilgrims. The pilgrims will be led by Fr Peter Lopez – the fourth time that he has fulfilled this role. In previous years, pilgrims have been led

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Priests and sisters consider 'The joy of the Gospel'

PRIESTS, reverend sisters and lay people gathered at GPI on Friday 27th June to mark the end of the Pastoral Year 2013-14.
Led by Bishop Robert Ellison, the day began with Mass for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Fr Joseph Carl Gomez spoke on his experiences in The Gambia and Dafur as Catholic Chaplain to the Gambia Armed Forces.

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