“Educator, Diplomat, and Peacemaker”: Vicar General Recalls Bishop Gasi’s Life

By Sr. Henriette Anne, FSSA

At the launching of the celebration of Bishop Gasi day, Fr. Bagbiowia Thomas the Vicar General of CDTY underscored that the late Bishop Gasi was a profound spiritual man, affectionately known as “Baasaangbaa mbori,” which meant a man of God, he was a beacon of love and faith that radiated from his very being.

During the launching at St. Mary Mother of God Parish, Yambio, Fr. Thomas stressed that Bishop Gasi’s legacy was one of selflessness, inclusivity, and patriotism. His love for his nation and its people was unwavering, and he served as a guiding light for all. His life, a testament to faith, morality, leadership, and diplomacy, continues to inspire generations, urging them to embrace his qualities and values in their own lives and communities.

In his presentation, Fr. Thomas said that Bishop Gasi was the cornerstone of his existence. He embodied God’s love in every aspect of his life. His unwavering commitment to prayer was a testament to his faith, and he was known for his steadfastness in this regard. His life was marked by the virtues of celibacy, chastity, and purity of heart, qualities that he held dear and exemplified for all to see.

He added that what set Bishop Gasi apart was his authenticity. He didn’t just preach about his faith; he lived it. He engaged in heartfelt conversations with God, speaking to Him, talking about Him, and talking with Him as if God were a constant presence in his life. His existence was a sacramental journey of holiness, and he sought regular penance and confession, with Fr. Andrea Mbuniwia being his trusted confidant.

He further explained that as remarkable as his spiritual life was, Bishop Gasi’s moral character was equally exceptional. He had a remarkable command over his passions and emotions, and there was never a whisper of irregularity in his moral life. His chastity was an unwavering commitment that left no room for doubt.

Reflecting on his leadership styles, the Vicar acknowledged that his influence extended far beyond his personal virtues. 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 care. With a passion for education, he established schools that became pillars of knowledge and enlightenment in the region.

He added, his leadership as a shepherd was marked by a deep connection with his people. He cared for them with a love that was contagious and guided them spiritually and morally. 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.

Bishop Gasi’s intellectual prowess was another facet of his remarkable character. “A teacher by profession, he was an eloquent speaker, proficient in several languages, including English, Latin, Italian, French, and his mother tongue, not to mention his grasp of Arabic’, he explained.  He was a man of his times, well-informed and updated, making him a source of wisdom for those around him.

In his speech during the launching, the Vicar stated that diplomacy was yet another skill in Bishop Gasi’s arsenal. He approached matters with a measured and thoughtful perspective, never rushing into 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 also said that values like integrity, transparency, love, holiness, humility, and visionary leadership were ingrained in Bishop Gasi’s character. 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, playing a pivotal role in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between late John Garage and Doctor Riek Machar.

Bishop Gasi, the man of God, had left an indelible mark on the hearts and souls of those fortunate enough to know him.

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