At Death Anniversary, South Sudanese Catholic Bishop Remembered as “beacon of love, faith”

Fr. Thomas Bagbiowia, Vicar -General of the Catholic Diocese of Tombura Yambio speaking to pilgrims and government dignitaries on 13 September 2023 at St. Mary Mother of God Parish in Yambio. Credit: CDTY

At the annual death anniversary of Bishop Joseph Abangite Gasi, the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop who died on 12 September 2014 after having served as Local Ordinary of South Sudan’s Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio (CDTY) for over three decades has been remembered as a “beacon of love and faith”.

Speaking at the launch of the three-day memorial that has been dubbed “Bishop Gasi Day” on Wednesday, September 13, the Vicar General of CDTY said that the late Bishop, who passed on at the age of 86 was a man whose faith and affection for his flock were worth emulating.

“He was a beacon of love and faith,” Fr. Thomas Bagbiowia said during the anniversary celebration at St. Mary Mother of God Parish of CDTY, and added, “Bishop Gasi’s legacy was one of selflessness, inclusivity, and patriotism; his love for his nation and its people was unwavering as he served as a guiding light for all.”

The life of the late South Sudanese Catholic Bishop, Fr. Bagbiowia said, “was a testament to faith, morality, and leadership.”

Bishop Gasi’s “unwavering commitment to prayer was a testament to his faith and he embodied God’s love in every aspect of his life,” the South Sudanese Vicar General said, adding, “What set Bishop Gasi apart was his authenticity; he did not just preach about his faith but he lived it.”


Fr. Bagbiowia emphasized Bishop Gasi’s life of prayer, saying, “He engaged in heartfelt conversations with God, speaking to Him, talking about Him, and talking with Him.”

“His existence was a sacramental journey of holiness,” the Catholic Priest added during the launch of the three-day memorial that is to conclude on September 15 with Holy Mass to be presided over by Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of CDTY.

Reflecting on Bishop Gasi’s leadership style, the South Sudanese Catholic Priest said, “He was a shepherd to his flock, and his love for his community knew no bounds; he held a special place in his heart for the Priests, Religious men, and women under his pastoral care.”

“His leadership as a shepherd was marked by a deep connection with his people. He cared for them with love and guided them spiritually and morally,” he further recalled the South Sudanese Catholic Bishop, who had served as Local Ordinary of CDTY for 33 years, since his Episcopal Ordination in April 1975 till his retirement in April 2008.

Fr. Bagbiowia continued, “His pastoral visits to all the parishes and institutions were a testament to his accessibility and concern for every member, big or small; he was a loving father to his community, the embodiment of their faith.”

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The Vicar-General CDTY further said, “Bishop Gasi had a great skill in diplomacy as he approached matters with a measured and thoughtful perspective without rushing into making decisions.”

“His interpersonal relationships were exceptional, and his reputation was one of trustworthiness and reliability. He was esteemed and valued not only within his church but also by civil and religious leaders alike,” he added.

Fr. Bagbiowia recalled other qualities of the late Bishop, saying, “he was a patient and tolerant leader, capable of bringing people together; his fatherhood extended beyond his church. He was a true peacemaker and reconciler.”

Kerbino Kuel Deng is a South Sudanese journalist who is passionate about Church communication. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.