By Josef Ishu
The newly installed Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese, Most Rev. David Ajang has on Thursday, June 24, pledged his unending fidelity to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the successor of St. Peter and promised to entrust the Pope daily to the Lord in prayer as he shepherds the Church.
Bishop Ajang made the pledge in a 6-page speech on the occasion of his Episcopal Ordination as the second Bishop of Lafia Diocese held at St. William’s Cathedral, Lafia, Nasarawa State capital. “I am thankful to our Holy Father, Pope Francis for his confidence and trust in me by calling me to serve as Bishop of Lafia. I pledge my unending fidelity to him as the successor of Peter and entrust him daily to the Lord in prayer as he shepherds the Church.”
The new Bishop also paid tribute to the late Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Gabriel Gonsum Ganaka, whom he said did not only took the risk of ordaining him priest below the recommended canonical age of ordination, but also posted him to Nasarawa Eggon at the age of 25, nine months after his priestly ordination.
According to Bishop Ajang, it did not make sense to him at that time but with the help of hindsight, now like a puzzle, the pieces began to fit together. “I know that from the highest heavens he must be smiling down at us and enjoining me to strive as a bishop to be ‘a saint, a scholar and a gentleman’. To the servant of God, I say, I shall try my best to keep your legacies alive”, Bishop Ajang promised.
Bishop Ajang’s speech, which was more of gratitude to those present at the event, expressed gratitude to God for his many blessings shown to him. He equally thanked the Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan for his presence, the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Antonio Guido Filipazzi for his generous service as Papal Nuncio to Nigeria. “Thank you for the honour of ordaining me today as Bishop. I will never forget in a hurry the gentle, loving and professional manner you handled me and the process, leading to your revelation of the Holy Father’s decision to appoint me Bishop of Lafia.”
He thanked his brother bishops led by Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the bishops and spiritual leaders from other Churches and denominations. “Your presence is a proof that the prayer of Jesus ‘that they all become one’ (Jn 17:21) has begun to yield dividend and that sooner than later, the unity Jesus prayed for, would be fully realized. It is also a reflection of your love of the Lord, Jesus.”
Bishop Ajang ended his note of gratitude in these words: “I come not wearing the red cap but with a spirit of the Christian volunteer like our Lord Jesus and his Mother Mary. Please pray daily for me and my ministry to follow God’s will and to rest in his protective embrace and that we may all grow in holiness.”
(CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA)