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Christians Meet to End Pastoral Year at St. Peter's

Jul 1, 2009, 9:46 AM | Article By: Theresa Adekunle Kanjia

Catholics around the Kombo and other areas were gathered on Monday 29th June, on the Feast of St. Peter and Paul to pray and remember their Saints and to end their year as stipulated by Pope Benedict XV1th. The Catholic Church believes in the remembering of their saints whom they believe are their signs of true faith. These Saints are men or women who lived exemplary life style and are worthy of emulation in life. St. Peter and Paul are one of those fathers of faith who are seen in the Bible as heroes because they were bent on persecuting Christians, throwing them into cells until they got their conversion becoming the pillars of the Church in faith. St. Peter was given the key of the Kingdom to guard the Church and Jesus built His Church on a strong foundation and said to Peter, "You are Peter and on this Rock I build my church." This automatically turned Peter into the first Pope. There is no doubt that Paul also got his conversion and became a writer. He dealt with lots of writing to the admiration of the early Christians.

In the beginning, the early Christians were faced with lots of problems, ranging from problem of continuing the work Christ came to start. The task was left with the eleven believers who had given up their lives to solely serve the world. The eleven were willing to serve in that capacity because they had already seen the reality with the many examples Jesus had shown especially when He sent His Holy Spirit as he had promised in the Upper Room and it fell on them like tongues of fire. From that point in time, they all became perplexed and each started speaking in different tongues. The gift of the Holy Spirit helped the early Christians to spread the Good News to Persia, Antioch, Meedes, Mesopotamia, Pamphelia, Asia and today the rest of the world. It has become vibrant in The Gambia and on this day, Christians moved in their number especially youths to Lamin to celebrate the end of the year of St. Peter and Paul.

Speaking to the congregation at St. Peters Church in Lamin, the Parish priest Rev. Fr. Antoine Sambou welcomed all gathered to the celebration. In his sermon, Rev. Fr. David Jimo Jarju, the Vicar General of the Diocese said, "We are the salt of the earth, we cannot loose the taste. Let us concentrate in prayer, it is the key. The Lord will help us to see Him face to face at the end of time. Today is the celebration of St. Peter and Paul's feast Day. Let us learn to follow good example and use our time profitably. Many waste their time on films like Maria Los Angeles, Rubi etc" he said.

Time as it is said is mostly wasted on trifling matters. People leave out important things and take up little matters and waste time on them. Many children waste time without reading their books, others read their books and pass their exams quite well. Those who waste their time are left to see the reality by their failing and discouraging not only their parents but themselves too.

Bishop Ellison reiterated that the 12th Plenary Assembly if all Bishops Conference was at hand and demanded for their preparations for it. And in Rome from 4th to 25th October the Synod of Bishops will take place and he asked for the congregation to always pray for them. He said the theme for the Rome Synod will be "The church in Africa to Service reconciliation Justice and Peace."

"The Diocese of Banjul, The Gambia will be hosting the Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, representatives of priests, religious and lay faithful from the English speaking West African Countries from 4th to 8th August 2009. Such meetings of the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA) take place every three years. About 120 Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Religious and Lay Delegates are expected from all over AECAWA as well some from the Francophone Conferences.

This is the second time The Gambia will be hosting such a high profile Catholic Religious gathering. The first one was held in 1992 but by then the Association was much smaller.

The five-day AECAWA Conference will have three main components. Firstly, it will be a pastoral visit to The Gambia. The Cardinals and Bishops are coming to meet us, pray with us and for us and leave their blessings on our Church and on our country. Secondly they will hold a seminar/workshop on a very crucial contemporary theme "Youth and Migration in West Africa." Thirdly, they will attend to the ordinary administrative needs of the AECWA as the pastors of our sub-region, in a spirit of communion and collegiality.

A local planning committee has already been designated to start work on the preparations for this important Conference. This AECAWA Conference is ours to host and we hope to accomplish this challenge in a way that will do justice to the reputation of The Gambia as a place of welcome, hospitality and competence," Bishop Ellison CSSp said.

In her speech, the Parish Pastoral Council Chair lady, Marian Owens said she was glad to see so many young people gathered at the religious celebration. "The harvest is great but the labourers are few. May the Lord continue to carve you in the palm of His Hands," She said.