July 14, 2024
News Nigeria

Jos Archdiocese Commemorates Late Archbishop Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka

By CSN News

The Catholic Archdiocese of Jos commemorated Late Archbishop Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka on November 10-11, 2021. This solemn event took place at Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral, Jos where the late Archbishop was interred.

According to reports from Emmanuel Donatus, as part of activities for the commemoration, vigil/pilgrimage and prayers were held on Wednesday, followed by a Holy Mass celebrated by the Chief Shepherd of Jos, Most Rev. Matthew Ishaya Audu on Thursday.

In his homily during the Mass, the Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Hwolshe, Very Rev. Fr. Sylvester Dagin, described the late Archbishop as “an outstanding Bishop, a man who believed that a priest must be a gentleman, a scholar, and a saint, and also exhibited it.”

Giving a report about the cause of the beatification of Archbishop Ganaka, Fr. Dagin, who is also the postulator for the beatification cause reported that “the process so far is good, steady and not a thing to be rushed.” He explained that “the stage which we are now is called the documentation stage, where we interview people, receive testimonies, get documents from people that knew him and synergize all. When all these is done, then the tribunal will sit.”

Fr. Dagin further clarified that the documentation process “is not a gathering of ordinary positive materials, but everything about him.” He said, “the fact that he is being put forward for sainthood means that he was a human being, and as a human being, he erred like any other person, but his virtues outweighed his defects.”

In his remark, the Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Matthew Ishaya Audu, called on all Catholics, especially those within the Archdiocese, to take the annual pilgrimage and the prayer for the beatification of the Servant of God serious, noting that “if we want the servant of God to be recognized by the Holy Catholic Church, we must play our part.” He thanked the bishops for coming and urged them to encourage the lay faithful to come on pilgrimage, with the hope that something will happen. “Since we don’t know who God wants to favour, we should gather as many as we can, and I believe by doing so each year, something is going to happen.”

The Prelate urged the people of God to emulate the virtues of the servant of God, not only to be concerned with showing their faces at the event so they can be recognized or for the sake of titles. He said, “titles are not important, rather emulate the example of the servant of God. We like certificates, we like titles, but we don’t like virtues.” He then mandated that the prayer for the beatification of Archbishop G.G. Ganaka must be said by all Catholics within the Archdiocese after the Angelus prayer.

Tomb of Archbishop G.G.Ganaka, inside Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral, Jos.

Born to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Chinkhida Ganaka on May 24, 1937, Archbishop Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka was ordained a Catholic Priest on the July 4, 1965 (the first Ngas Priest and the first from Plateau State). His Holiness, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed him the Auxiliary Bishop of Jos in 1973 at the age of 36, the substantive Bishop of Jos in 1975, and an Archbishop in 1994. Known as a charismatic figure who was enthusiastically devoted to his priestly ministry and also to our Lady, he rose among his brother bishops to become the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). He was also the Vice President and later became President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM). Alongside Rev. Frank Kennedy, he was the Spiritual Director to Visionary, Maureen Sweenly Kyle of the Missionary Servants of Holy Love.

In December 1997, he took ill and was flown to the United States of America for medical treatment. He died two years later, precisely on November 11, 1999. His philosophy of life is summarized in “this too shall pass away” usually hung in his office and all rooms in his house.

The cause of the beatification of Archbishop Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka, a man once described as ‘the Golden Voice of the Church’, formally began in 2014, when the permission or Nihil Obstat, (nothing stands in the way) was given by Rome, particularly, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

At his funeral Mass on November 26, 1999, the then Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Archbishop Felix Alaba Job, who was the homilist, addressing an estimated crowd of 100,000 mourners gathered at the Rwang Pam township stadium declared; “the fearless preacher, the great man in size and might, in body and mind, has come to his time in silence. That man of God, Gonsum, who said Masses and prayers for those in joy and sorrow, now needs our prayers and Masses. That real pastor of souls, a man of great faith, a father and provider for all his flock is gone, a man of letters, a true son of the Church, a patriotic Nigerian, is no more.”

Twenty-two years later, the name G.G. Ganaka still brings back nostalgic memories to his students, friends, and acquaintances. He was a man loved by many as seen by the large turnout of pilgrims and devout Catholics at Our Lady of Fatima Cathedral, Jos for the 22nd Memorial Mass. The event was graced by many Bishops including the Bishops of Pankshin, Most Rev. Michael Gokum, Shendam, Most Rev. Philip Dung, Bauchi, Most Rev. Hilary Dachelem and many Priests. Religious and lay faithful from within and outside the Archdiocese as well as Government functionaries and Muslim faithful were not left out.


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