Bishop Carroll SMA receives ANLAT Award

Bishop Carroll honoured for promoting indigenous languages in Nigeria

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Bishop Tim Carroll SMA was honoured by the Association of Nigerian Language Teachers (ANLAT) for his great work in promoting indigenous languages in Nigeria. Our picture shows the bishop receiving the Award and Citation from V Rev Dan McCauley SMA, Apostolic Administrator of Kontagora.

Since his arrival in Nigeria in 1966 Tim has studies many Nigerian languages: Yoruba, Nupe, Hausa, Kamberi, Gunganci and Cilela. Assisted by a Translation Committee he oversaw the translation of the New Testament into Kamberi.

For the first time ever the four Gospels are printed in that language. Tim has also produced several Adult literacy books in the language and a book on Bible Stories. Kamberi is spoken in parts of north western Nigeria and north east Benin Republic. There is no doubt that this work of Bishop Tim has led to the amazing growth of the Catholic Church among the Kamberi people. Instead of hearing the Scriptures spoken to them in a foreign language (be it English or the local trade language, Hausa) the work of Bishop Tim means that the people hear the Word of God in Kamberi. Nelson Mandela once said “if you speak to a man in a language he understands you get through to his head; but if you speak to him in his own language you get through to his heart”. We missionaries have understood this for many decades and so one of the first things an SMA does when sent on mission is to learn the local language in order to converse with the people.

Nelson Mandela once said “if you speak to a man in a language he understands you get through to his head; but if you speak to him in his own language you get through to his heart”. We missionaries have understood this for many decades and so one of the first things an SMA does when sent on mission is to learn the local language in order to converse with the people.

bishop-carroll-70thOn the occasion of his 70th birthday, earlier this year, the St Michael’s Church Council, Kontagora had a celebration to mark this important milestone.

In Europe we are used to one or two languages in any particular country. In Nigeria alone there are more than 200 separate languages. It is a little known fact that one in every five people on the African continent is Nigerian and they account for 20% of the African languages.

Due to ill health, Bishop Tim submitted his resignation to the Pope and, on 30 April 2010, this was accepted. As a result, the actual award was received on his behalf by Fr Emmanuel Isa Saliu, himself the 2nd Kamberi priest, during ANLAT’s Annual meeting in the Federal College of Education, Kontagora on 11 May 2010. The first Kamberi priest is Fr Bulus Yohanna, also a priest in the Kontagora Vicariate..

Born in Millstreet, Co Cork, Tim Carroll was ordained a priest in the Society of African Missions in 1965. The following year he began his priestly ministry in the diocese of Ilorin, Nigeria. In 1995 it was decided to create the Prefecture of Kontagora with Fr Tim Carroll as the Prefect Apostolic. Just seven years later the Prefecture was raised to the status of a Vicariate and Monsginor Tim was appointed as its first bishop. Until a new Bishop is appointed the Vicariate is under the care of an Apostolic Administrator, Fr Dan McCauley SMA (Strabane, Co Tyrone).

When Fr McCauley was home on holidays in July he presented the award to Bishop Tim along with the Citation prepared by Fr Isa Saliu for the occasion.