Celebration of Fr. Jean-Benoît GNAMBODE’s Golden Anniversary of Priestly Ordination, November 4, 2023
Father Jean-Benoît GNAMBODE is a member of the French Province from Benin. He was also a participant in the first ever mois sulpicien in 1981. He recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, which happened on August 11, 2023 in Benin. A celebration marking the event took place at the Notre-Dame des Lagunes sanctuary in Maria-Tokpa, Diocese of Porto-Novo. The Eucharist was celebrated by the jubilarian and concelebrated by some thirty priests, in the presence of Msgr Aristide GONSALLO, Bishop of the Diocese, and a large crowd of faithful.
Almost three months later, on November 4, a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated in the parish of Saint Hubert de Missérété, where the jubilarian was born and where he had celebrated his first Mass. The date chosen for this thanksgiving coincided with the patronal feast of the parish of which he is a native and the first priest. The Mass was presided over by the local ordinary and concelebrated by Bishop Bernard de Clairvaux TOHA of DJOUGOU, Fr. Shayne Craig, the Superior General of Saint Sulpice, and Fr. Maurice PIVOT of the French Province, who were all visiting Benin. Around a hundred priests also concelebrated, and many religious and lay faithful also took part in the Mass. All gathered to give thanks to God for his multiple blessings on behalf of this remarkable man—a friend, relative, former parish priest, Sulpician, former seminary teacher, and former apostolic administrator of the Diocese.
In his homily, Bishop Gansallo paid tribute to Father Gnambodé: “We converged on Missérété not only to contemplate the beauty of Christians, but also and above all the beauty of the priesthood. Better still, the beauty of being a priest of Jesus Christ. Let's just say that Msgr Gnambodé has had a full priestly life. Fifty beautiful years in the service of God and man.” After the post-communion prayer, the jubilarian proceeded to renew his priestly promises. He thanked the priests, religious, lay faithful, and guests before dedicating himself once more to the Virgin Mary.
The presence of Fr. Shayne Craig and Fr. Maurice Pivot gave witness to the Sulpician priests in Benin, and they saluted the jubilarian's compelling commitment to the cause of Saint Sulpice. Their presence was a mark that honors a long and rich spiritual and pedagogical tradition of the initial and ongoing formation of priests. This tradition is fully embodied by Father Gnambodé, the second Sulpician from Benin, after Father Gaspard DAGNON, who was the first.
Léon ATEMON, PSS
Translated by Ronald D. WITHERUP, PSS