Father Gabriel Wankar installed as pastor of St. Anselm Catholic Church

On Sunday, March 3, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone joined St. Anselm’s parish for Fr. Gabriel Wankar’s pastor installation ceremony. The joyful celebration honored Fr. Wankar’s Nigerian heritage. Concelebrating the Mass were Father Raymond Tyohemba, Father Sebastian Bula, Father Celestine Tyowua, and Father Cameron Faller.

The Mass included a special rite of installation, which includes a reading of the appointment letter from Archbishop Cordileone and a presentation of the new pastor to the leadership of the parish, including the parish council and staff. The new pastor also makes an oath of fidelity to the teachings of the Church and leads his new parish in the Creed. He also makes an oath to his parishioners and to the Archbishop.

In his homily, Archbishop Cordileone expressed his gratitude to Father Wankar for accepting the assignment as pastor.

“I remember when he first came many years ago as a student,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “I saw his qualities, and I was hoping back then he would eventually somehow stay. I’m so grateful that he’s incardinated as a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco.”

The Archbishop shared his experience of traveling to central Nigeria where Father Wankar grew up. Archbishop Cordileone had been asked to preside over ordinations in the diocese, and they held the Mass at the top of a hill where they were building a shrine. Eight- to-ten-thousand people were in attendance. The Mass took place just feet away from where 14 members of their community were buried after being killed for their faith—four priests and 14 lay people.

“I am grateful for our priests here in the Archdiocese from Nigeria and priests from other parts of the world as well, so many parts of the world where Catholics are suffering this kind of persecution,” said Archbishop Cordileone. “When we think we have it hard to remain in living our Catholic faith, we have the powerful example in our midst with our wonderful Nigerian priests. Thank you for your example. Your cultural and faith heritage enriches the life of our local Church.”

Members of the school community were also present. St. Anselm school principal Kimberly Orendorff offered congratulatory remarks and students participated in the Mass.

The Mass was followed by a reception in the hall with St. Anselm parishioners.