Vatican News English Africa Service.
“Even at the beginning of this New Year with its uncertainties and challenges, we should renew our hope and trust in God’s goodness, guidance, and faithfulness in our various vocations in life. So, my New Year’s message is: Our Hope in God will not disappoint us,” said Bishop Gabriel Mendy C.S.Sp., the Ordinary of Banjul, in his message for the New Year, 2022.
A New Year that is more peaceful and prosperous
The Gambia is a predominantly Muslim country with a total population of 2.5 million inhabitants. Approximately ninety-six per cent of the population is Muslim. Christians make up 4.2 per cent of the population. Most of the Christians are Catholics. The Diocese of Banjul is part of the Inter-territorial Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Gambia and Sierra Leone (ITCABIC).
Bishop Mendy’s New Year message was widely circulated and well-received by non-Catholics, in the country.
“Every New Year, we have new hope and plans we want to achieve in our lives as individuals, a community of faith, and a nation. We hope for a better New Year that is more peaceful, healthy, successful, and prosperous than the previous year. If we experienced misfortune, sickness, and disappointment the year before, we hope for good health, success, and progress in the New Year. We look forward to a year of blessing, favour, and fulfilment in our lives,” said the Bishop.
Covid-19 and its effects
“The whole world has seriously suffered for the past two years from the deadly effects of the Coronavirus pandemic that is still a danger to human life and activity. So, our hope for this New Year is obviously the eradication of this deadly pandemic so that we can experience good health and resume normal interaction and activity. Those who endured pain, disappointment, and hardship this past year also have new hope for a more prosperous and comfortable life in the New Year, said Bishop Mendy.
Bishop Mendy encouraged Gambians to plan but be mindful that God had the last word.
“So, our hope and plans are usually set in place in the New Year, but they may or may not be realised in the course of the year. For, our hope and plans are not fully within our own power and ability to accomplish without God’s blessings and assistance,” said the prelate of Banjul.
God will not deceive or disappoint us
Bishop Mendy urged his countrymen and women to work today for what they hope to achieve in the future. “We are not expected, therefore, to simply hope for a better life, a better future, and the fulfilment of our plans in the New Year,” he said.
He continued, “So we should be convinced that our hope in God will not deceive or disappoint us even if our condition in life is not what we expect. God will still support us and grant us our spiritual and material needs when we least expect them. Therefore, we have no reason to be anxious and doubtful of what will happen to us in this New Year. Our future is safely in God’s hands. We should confidently look forward in faith and hope in God’s power to sustain and guard us against all misfortune and danger,” the West African prelate encouraged.
He concluded, “As the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Banjul, I wish the priests, religious, and faithful of the Diocese, our Christian brothers and sisters, Muslims, believers of other faiths and their families and friends, Gambians at home and abroad a healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year. May God bless and protect you all throughout this year of 2022.”