Gambian Bishop Encourages Unconditional Thanksgiving to God in New Year Message

Bishop Gabriel Mendy of Banjul Diocese in Gambia. Credit: Gambia Pastoral Institute

The Bishop of Banjul Diocese in Gambia, West Africa, has encouraged the people of God in the country to always remember to thank God in the new year, regardless of the difficulties they face in life.

In his new year message shared with ACI Africa on Thursday, January 4, Bishop Gabriel Mendy reflected on the principle of unconditional thanksgiving from the letters of St. Paul and said, “This principle is equally important for us in this new year.”

“We should express our gratitude to God in all circumstances for our vocation, our life, and for the prospects we have in life,” Bishop Mendy said, and added, “Our gratitude to God should therefore not be limited to what is useful and beneficial to us.”

Without focusing on a particular occasion or being conditioned by status in life, the Gambian Bishop said, “We should be grateful to God even if we do not gain or experience in the new year what we expected or deserved in our lives.”

According to the member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, St. Paul's teachings on thanksgiving do not align with the concept of expressing gratitude to God solely in response to receiving blessings, protection, or answered prayers.


“We should always, as St. Paul says, give thanks to God in all circumstances both in good and bad times, in times of joy and sorrow,” said the Bishop who has been at the helm of Banjul Diocese since his Episcopal ordination in February 2018.

He added, “We should not expect God to grant our prayers, needs, and plans in the new year before we offer our thanksgiving to Him, nor should we wait until we are successful, rich, or comfortable in the new year before we express our gratitude to God.”

Bishop Mendy urged the people of God in the Muslim-dominated country to spontaneously thank God for their lives, health, gifts, and status in life during the new year of 2024, saying that all the provisions originated from God Himself.

He said, “Our lives and health are not our provision but God’s precious gifts to us, we should therefore give thanks to God at all times and in all circumstances for our existence no matter our experiences and misfortunes in life.”

“God is also the source of our faith, as well as our spiritual and human gifts and vocation, for that reason, we are obliged to always thank Him for these sacred gifts we received during baptism, confirmation, consecration, and ordination,” the Bishop said.

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In his message, the 56-year-old Catholic Bishop discouraged the people of God against perceiving failures and sufferings in life as worthless. He said that failures and suffering should instead promote a thanksgiving heart.

Bishop Mendy went on to highlight the Eucharistic celebration, daily prayers, offerings, acts of charity, and selfless service to God and humanity as appropriate forms of thanksgiving that the people of God should embrace.

“We should not underestimate the gifts and offerings we present to God if we dedicate ourselves at the service of God and humanity without counting the cost,” he said, adding, “Our work and life of witness can also be our gratitude to God for His wonderous blessings.”

The Bishop also spoke on the benefits of unconditional thanksgiving, saying, “If we thank God at all times, and in all circumstances, we will experience His peace, goodness, and rewards.”

He continued, “We will gain more from God if we offer and express our thanksgiving to Him in the Eucharist, in our prayers, and in our service to Him and humanity.”


“We will also experience God’s peace, blessings, and assurances in our lives if we give thanks to God at all times and in all circumstances during this new year,” the member of the Holy Ghost fathers said in his New Year message.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.