The Inquirer (Monrovia)

24 January 2013

Liberia: Min. Woods Applauds Fr. Garry

Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods has showered praises on Catholic Prelate Rev. Fr. Gareth Jenkins commonly known as, Fr. Garry and described him as an "Invisible Hero". Fr. Garry was formally of the Methodist Church background but now priest of the St. Dominic Catholic Church in Bomi County.

Speaking at a program during the weekend marking the 40 years of missionary work of Very Rev. Gareth Ian Jenkins, SMA, who is also Dean of the Bomi Deanery, Minister Woods said he was delighted to be a part of a ceremony that has to do with a success story of a person he considers as a "role model".

Minister Woods indicated that his interaction with Fr. Garry over the years has placed a lasting impact on his life because of high level professionalism in the priesthood.

He used the occasion on behalf of government as Acting President of the country to commend the catholic prelate for his commitment, dedication and sacrifice to humanity and the church. "I was once a student of St. Mary Catholic School and I felt his impact there as a student. His sensitivity, delegation, and commitment have made me proud to associate with him at this program," Minister Woods asserted.

Minister Woods also recalled some of the contributions made by Fr. Garry especially making education accessible to all and also offering the disadvantaged youths opportunities for better life through skill development.

Fr. Garry was born on July 26, 1943 in England. He was enlisted into the British Army at an early age and served his country overseas especially in Yemen. It was then that he embraced the Catholic faith and received baptism at age 20.Desiring to serve God and humanity as priest; he honorably abandoned military service and joined the Society of African Mission (SMA). He was ordained a priest on May 11, 1972 and was sent as a missionary to Liberia in 1973.

As a missionary, Fr. Garry was sent first, to Sasstown, Grand Kru County, then, Our Lady of Lourdes Church (St. Mary Parish) Duala, in Monrovia and later St. Francis Parish in Tappita, Nimba County. He worked at St. Francis Parish until May 1976 when the late Archbishop Francis Carroll asked him to extend his pastoral activities to Tubmanburg and Mano River.

In 1977, Archbishop Michael Kpakala Francis (now Archbishop emeritus of Monrovia) entrusted the Bomi mission to Fr. Garry, an assignment he carried out with utmost dedication and pastoral tenacity. In that same year, he founded the St. Dominic's School, Tubmanburg, using the mission house sitting-room.

Of the first group of boys with whom Fr. Garry started the school was the present Bishop of the Diocese of Cape Palmas, Most Rev. Andrew Jagay Karnley. By September 1979, he completed the construction of the Elementary School, and later built the high school which graduated its first students in 1986.

The Catholic Prelate is currently helping to rebuild and reorganize the communities within the Bomi Deanery which comprise Bomi, Gbarpolu and Cape Mount Counties respectively. On the occasion of his 40th priestly anniversary, the church has been honored to honor Fr. Garry as an illustrious and effective pastor for his outstanding pastoral dedication.

Fr. Garry has been a promoter of human rights and defender of the poor. He tirelessly weathered the storm and sometimes at the peril of his own life, to restore dignity to the physically challenged, provide alternative options to victims of economic injustice, relief to those ravaged by war and a voice of the voiceless.

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