STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF BISHOP JOSEPH GASI ABANGITE
A MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE TO TAMBURA – YAMBIO DIOCESE
Dear brethren in the Lord,
Sept 16, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — We in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition (SPLM/IO) have learnt with deep sorrow the passing on of Bishop Emeritus the Rt. Rev. Joseph Gasi Abangite of Tambura – Yambio Diocese who died on Saturday September 10th 2014 at Yambio Civil Hospital in Yambio, South Sudan aged 94.
On behalf of our Chairman Dr. Riek Machar Teny and my colleagues in the movement, I send you our deepest condolence, especially to Barani Dr. Eduardo Hiiboro, Bishop of Tambura – Yambio Diocese, congregation of the Diocese and the entire community of Western Equatoria State (WES).
We in the movement acknowledge with admiration the contribution of Bishop Emeritus Joseph Gasi during the liberation struggle to bring dignity, honor and peace to our people and country. We remember him for his altruism and courage to live amongst his people during the liberation struggle in the 1990’s. We remember him as an instrumental figure in the formation of the New Sudan Council of Churches (NSCC), where he was a key pillar. NSCC under the stewardship of courageous Church leaders like Bishop Emeritus Joseph Gasi worked tirelessly to reconcile the SPLM/SPLA at a time when it was on the brink of disintegration.
Personally the demise of the Bishop is touching; he was my uncle, a man who loved his extended family members the same way he loved the Church, his priests and congregation. When I last visited him on his sick bed at Sambya Catholic Hospital in Kampala Uganda, he talked of his desire to see a peaceful South Sudan with all tribes living as “brothers’ keepers” in harmony with each other. Instead of praying for him, he prayed for me and for Peace in South Sudan.
We remember the 33 years reign of Bishop Emeritus with pride; he helped many young people to obtain scholarship to study at some of the best schools in the region and abroad. Instead of clinging to the leadership of the Diocese as is the trend among many leaders in our country, Bishop Emeritus Joseph Gasi retired in 2008 and passed the mantle of the Diocese on to Barani Dr. Eduardo Hiiboro, a man he groomed. In doing so, Bishop Emeritus Joseph Gasi led by example that leaders should learn how to prepare a new generation of leaders to carry on with service delivery to our people and country.
As the body of Bishop Emeritus Joseph Gasi lay-in-state at St. Mary’s Parish in Yambio ahead of his burial on Tuesday Sept 16th 2014, I want to assure Tambura – Yambio Diocese and Barani Dr. Eduardo Hiiboro of our prayers. Although we knew the inevitable was to happen, we didn’t expect it so soon. May God give you brethren the courage you need during this mourning period and may God rest the soul of the Bishop Gasi among the martyrs of South Sudan.
Women and Youth Empowerment, SPLM in Opposition