In a grand Episcopal Ordination and Installation ceremony, the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos has finally ushered in a new Bishop for Shendam, Monsignor Philip Davou Dung, to fill the long vacuum. Bishop Dung will be the second Bishop to occupy the seat in Shendam, in Shendam local government council of Plateau State.
While speaking at the Episcopal occasion, Wednesday, the Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna, Most Revd Dr Matthew Man’oso Ndagoso, addressed the new Bishop, thus: “Righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, gentleness, love, endurance and patience are virtues that are expected from the noble and the great Prophet and messenger of God.”
He said the new Bishop of Shendam has those virtues and qualities, which are the basic requirements for this kind of ministry for which he is being called for, today; and reminded him that the dignity of the apostolic ministry to which he is called, does not depend on the initiative of those called but on the mission of the One who calls and commissions.
“You did not choose me. No, I chose you and commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last, which means you are not a Bishop by chance.”
Archbishop Ndagoso said that, “The Lord has anointed you to bring Good News to the poor, and has sent you to mend the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to release those in prison, comfort all who mourn – give them ashes as garland for mourning-dress, the oil of gladness and for despondency of festal attires.”
The Archbishop further stated that, “With the incessant crisis, the people are itching to hear the Good News proclaimed to them;” adding that, “the broken hearted are waiting to be mended, the captives are waiting to be set free, mourners are waiting to be consoled, and the despondent are waiting to be given hope. Feed my lambs and look after my sheep.”
He reminded the new Bishop that, the sheep and lambs he is to feed and look after are not only Catholics but all Christians, and to be sure every human being living within the confines of Shendam Diocese is his sheep and lamb.
He further stated that “There are so many people all over the place and, in some cases, wreaking havoc, but unfortunately, many of our people, who are genuinely seeking the face of God, are being led to believe that there are truly men of God, only to be fed with a concocted brand of religion, which they claim to be Christianity.”
According to him, “This is where the work of a Bishop comes in – to give firm and clear directives and guidance, especially in the midst of a confused religious atmosphere, such as which we have in our country today.”
He commended the people for accepting him, regardless of where he comes from, saying that, “all of us from the north – we are all your children, because the Catholic Church started in Shendam.”
Archbishop Ndagoso said, “No army ever wins a war without infantry, which you must learn a lesson, and avoid the temptation of being secure, because when you think you are putting in your best, the people will misinterpret you.
“So, you should be careful because the people, who are close to you, will be the ones to betray you,” and urged him not to be scared. “When this happens, take consolation, because you will not be the first or the last.”
He further urged Bishop Dung to always handover his troubles to God, adding that, “if you are constant with Him, He will see you through.”
The representative of the Pope, Apostolice Nunciature Fernanbeze, has observed that, “No violence can stand for peace,” and called on the Church to pray for Nigeria, Catholics, Bishops, Priests and the entire people in the country.
Earlier, he read a letter of Pope Francis on the decree of appointment of Msgr Philip Davou Dung, which stated that after the death of the first Bishop of Shendam, Venerable Brother, Late Bishop James Naanman Damian, OSA, 2 years ago, “We wish to give a new Pastor and diligent preacher of the Gospel.”
He said, “Msgr Philip Davou Dung’s appointment was given in Rome, at St Pater’s on the 5 of November, 2016, in the Year of the Lord, which was the Jubilee of Mercy and the fourth year of our Pontificate.”
According to the Pope, “Through the intercession of our Blessed Virgin Mary, will lead your ecclesial community diligently in the path of the Gospel.”
In his speech, the new Bishop of Shendam, Msgr Bishop Philip Davou Dung, called on the people for cooperation and collaboration to continue to sustain peace and unity in the diocese, so that they can move forward; and also admonish the people not to be afraid, but be open minded to one another, so that the diocese can grow.
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos officiated at the Mass and the Ordination alongside the Bishops of Maduguri and Benin. 31 Bishops were also in attendance from different parts of the country, including Catholic Rev Fathers and Rev Sisters from all over the federation.
The second Bishop of Shendam is 59 years old and the first Berom Bishop among the Berom Priests in the country.
Conscience Triumph gathered that, the first Bishop of Shendam died two years ago, at the age of 59; and since then, the diocese had no bishop but rather an Administrator, known as Very Rev Fr Raymond Gofut, who was at the occasion presented with a gift of a Rosary by the Pope’s Representative.