Citizens’ Alliance joins the Catholic Diocese of Banjul in mourning the passing of Bishop Emeritus Michael Joseph Cleary.
Bishop Cleary was the second Bishop of the Diocese. He came to Gambia as a young priest on October 29th, 1953, one year and four months after his ordination on June 29th, 1952 at the age of 26. He was immediately posted as a teacher at Saint Augustine’s High School, then in Hagan street in Banjul where he went on to spend 25 years, 17 of those years as Principal of the school.
Father Cleary was consecrated Bishop on Sunday, March 24th, 1980 at the age of 55. He served as Bishop of Banjul until he resigned on February 15th, 2006 at the age of 80. He went on to stay in the Gambia for 9 years after his retirement before finally leaving the soils of the Gambia on March 14th, 2015 after 62 years of unprecedented work in the Catholic Diocese of Banjul both as a Priest and Bishop.
At the thanksgiving Mass before leaving, he left the congregation with this message.
"Sixty-two years ago, I came to the Gambia, and it is here I spent all my priestly life. Later as Bishop, I travelled throughout the country and got to know well and love its people. Otherwise, I would not have stayed. I made many friends here, both Muslims and Christians. Now, in my 90th year, I feel I should live nearer hospital and nursing care and not be a burden here. So, I wish to sincerely thank you for the best years of my life. I now ask the Almighty to guide and protect you and your friends and families. You will always be in my thought and prayers. God love and bless you all."
Bishop Cleary died on Wednesday September 3rd, 2020; 95 years old. May his soul rest in peace.