Gambia: Christian People’s Association in U.S. Observe Sang Marie

Gambia: Christian People’s Association in U.S. Observe Sang Marie

The Gambian Christian People’s Association in United States of America last weekend in Atlanta Georgia celebrated the annual feast of the Assumption of Mary traditionally known in the Gambia as Sang Marie.

This year’s celebration has been remarkably colorful as it was the twentieth anniversary of the first Sang Marie celebrated by the Gambians in United States. The special guests of honor to the occasion were Bishop Robert Patrick Ellison of the Diocese of Banjul and Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The event was flagged off with a high mass at Immaculate Conception Parish Atlanta presided over by Archbishop Gregory. Bishop Ellison gave the homily.

In his homily, Bishop Ellison rejoiced with the Gambian Catholics in the United States on the 20th anniversary of their first sang Marie celebration in the United States. The Assumption of Our Lady, he said is a major universal feast for the church and the patron feast of their local church of the diocese of Banjul. He said that the anniversary providentially coincided with some other remarkable events in the history of the church this year like the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the election of Pope Francis I, and the celebration of the year of faith. Bishop Ellison talked about the honesty and courage of Pope Benedict XVI and the simplicity and humility of his successor Pope Francis I as virtues worthy of emulation by Christians of their time. He also asked the faithful to live their faith in a profound way and share it as they are challenged to do in this year of faith. The Bishop of the Diocese of Banjul pointed out many instances in the life of Mary that showed her as a model of faith for Christians of all times and places.

He further said that the Catholics of the Gambia who have the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Assumption as a patroness and intercessor are not only privileged but are also bound by a special obligation to live out their faith even within the context of their lives in the United States of America. The Gambian Christian People’s choir of Atlanta animated the liturgy with Wolof common of the mass among other songs. There were more than six hundred Gambians alongside with their friends from other nationalities in attendance. The Pastor of the host parish, Rev Msgr. James Schillinger was the MC at the mass. Other priests in attendance were Rev Fr Henry Atem, a Cameroonian priest who is the pastor of St George Parish Neunan Georgia, Fr Guyma from Haiti who is also a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Fr Jean Noel of St Therese Parish Kanifing, Fr Yenes Manneh of the Diocese of Banjul and Fr Anthony Mbanefo who was the parish priest of Resurrection Church Brikama but now the pastor of Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish McRae Georgia. After the Mass there was an all night celebration at the Global Mall Atlanta. On the evening of Sunday August 18, the group had a picnic at Fusion Even Hall Atlanta. Bishop Ellison graced all the events.

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