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Oct 14, 2015, 3:52 PM | Article By: FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama

Sunday, 4th October 2015 marked the annual celebration of the Parish feast of St. Therese’s Church, Kanifing.This is one of the many occasions that Catholics of the kombo area don’t want to miss just as Banjul Catholics would do for Sang-Marie.Parishioners and well wishers in their hundreds come annually to the open air mass at Kanifing School and to the ambiance of the day.The open air mass was first celebrated in 1989 and Father Tony Sonko was the first celebrant invited for the mass.

The St Therese’s parish is vast and large and hence it is nicked named the “Chinese parish” because of its numbers and size.It is the largest and most attended parish of the Catholic Church in The Gambia.It is also the only parish that avails of four masses on weekends and the outcome is always a full packed Church.I call it the heart beat of the diocese of Banjul because by its membership it makes up for half the population of the diocese.

The parish has great potentials structurally, economically and spiritually.It can gather its human resources and will be able to produce elites and promising young elites that already made the parish to be self reliant.Spiritually the parish attracts hundreds of worshippers to pack full masses and devotions of the Stations of the Cross during lent.

During this year’s patronal feast Rev. Father James Mendy, ordained last January was invited to be the Chief Celebrant and preacher.Father James as he is called is known to be a bold and dynamic preacher.At his ordination his boldness was misjudged and wrongly misinterpreted by inferior minds.Well meaning prophets of God in the Bible were wrongly misinterpreted and judged.So it was in the life of John the Baptist and even Jesus.The proverbial words states, “if gold will rust what will iron do”.

In his homily Father James talked about the life of St Therese and the significance of the feast day celebration.For him, St Therese was a woman who lived in an enclosed order but her heart was missionary by nature.She wanted and longed to go out and reach out to souls that needed to be saved.Also in his homily Father James challenged the community of the parish in their Christian responsibilities and callings in the Church.He purported that the lay-faithful of the Church should allow the priests to do their work without interference and the priests too should open up to the lay-faithful who would genuinely want to contribute towards Church work.Father James fairly sees collaboration as the necessary spirit that should bind the priests, religious and lay people of the St Therese’s Church.

In the Church through its teachings we acknowledge the common priesthood of all baptized persons (Lumen Gentium 10:1).Those in this category include all clergy, religious and lay-faithful.Christ has called them to a life of sanctity and to service in the Lord’s vineyard.By virtue of their own baptism they are called in this common priesthood, God’s own chosen people (Canon 204).

In this priesthood, men, women young and old are on the same pedestrian fulfilling God’s holy will.For the sake of Father’s preaching this is the kind of theological concept which the parish community of St Therese’s need to study, develop and inculcate in them.

The specific priesthood in particular has the vocation and mandate towards the task of evangelization and dispenser of the sacraments of the Church.Thus fundamentally both the common priesthood of the baptized and the specific priesthood should complement one another.There is no need for any conflict of tasks.It is as if where one can meet the other, they should not conflict but rather agree to complement one another.Furthermore both the priesthood of the baptized and that of ordination are of service to God’s holy people to teach, sanctify and lead them to God’s Kingdom.They all have the same ultimate goal and objective for the sanctification of humankind and for God’s glory.

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