Evangelizing, Not Proselytizing

A response to: The Only Bishop in Gambia

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I am highly edified by Bishop Robert Ellison’s brief account of his long evangelizing mission in the Gambia. The only word that can adequately describe the sacrifices and contributions made by European missionaries like Bishop Ellison in the overall development of Africa and its peoples is “heroic.” It is noteworthy that many young Africans are today following in their footsteps and giving their lives to carry on the missionary tradition and pass on the torch of the Gospel that they received from these missionaries. I am privileged to be one of them.

What the experience of the Spiritan missionary presence in Gambia has to teach the rest of Africa, especially my country Nigeria, and the world in general is not only how people of various religions can live side by side in peace but also, and maybe more importantly, how Catholics can maintain a humble missionary presence among other cultures without being perceived as threats to the people’s core values and ways of life, how we can be, in the words of Bishop Ellison, “evangelizing all the time but not proselytizing.”

Thank you, Bishop Ellison, for being a beacon pointing out the way to the solution of one of the greatest challenges our world is facing today.

Ernest Munachi Ezeogu
Spiritan International School of Theology
Enugu, Nigeria

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