Bauchi mourns the death of its Bishop

The diocese of Bauchi is mourning the unexpected death of their pastor, Bishop Malachy John Goltok. The bishop had fallen ill and was transferred to hospital in Jos [Plateau State] where he died just three days later, on 21 March 2015. May he rest in peace.

Bishop Malachy John was born in Bauchi on 12 July 1965. After completing his primary schooling in Bauchi [1972-1978] he transferred to St John Vianney Minor seminary at Barkin Ladi for his secondary education [1978-1983]. He then entered St Augustine’s Major seminary in Jos to study for the priesthood. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Jos on 4 November 1990.

He served in different parishes and positions in the huge Archdiocese: Associate Priest  in Jagindi; Parish Priest St. James’ Gombe, 1991-1996; Holy Spirit Formation Centre, Kuru near Jos; Parish Priest of St. Finbarr’s, Rayfield and Jos Archdiocesan Financial Administrator.

Bauchi was originally part of Jos Archdiocese but, in the 1960’s, was not developing very much due to lack of priests and resources. Bishop Reddington SMA of Jos met Archbishop Grey of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh at the Second Vatican Council. This meeting eventually led to some priests from the Archdiocese moving from southern Nigeria to take care of Bauchi Province, in 1964. Three years later, after the tragic death of Fr John Gibbons SMA [Parish Priest of Bauchi] following a car accident, Fr Danny Simpson was asked to move from Calabar [he originally came to Nigeria in 1957] to join the Edinburgh team in Bauchi. Without doubt his work of Primary Evangelization, and of the other priests, sisters and catechists, led to the eventual creation of Bauchi as a separate ecclesiastical jurisdiction. He opened so many rural churches. Fr Simpson’s Cook was the father of the future Bishop.

In 1990, the direct involvement of Edinburgh priests with Bauchi came to an end and, six years later, it was made an Apostolic Vicariate.

Pope John Paul II raised it to the status of a diocese in 2003, with Fr John Moore SMA as Vicar Apostolic and later Bishop of Bauchi. Bishop Moore died after a short illness on 20 January 2010. Following Bishop Moore’s death, the Holy Father appointed Fr Malachy John to succeed him [18 March 2011] and he was ordained as the 2nd bishop of Bauchi on 19 May 2011, aged 45 years. Born and brought up in Bauchi, he spent the past 4 years continuing the work of his predecessor.

Today, the Diocese has 23 Parishes, three Clinics and five secondary schools. There are 50 priests including the Bishop, with some Fidei Donum from the Archdiocese of Jos, diocese of Kafanchan, SMA Fathers and the St. Patrick’s Missionary Society and one Army Chaplain.

There are several Women Religious Congregations working in the Diocese which has a Catholic Population of about 100,000.

Bishop Malachy John will return to his diocese in the coming days. Christian Wake-keeping will be on Wednesday evening with his funeral Mass on Thursday, 26 March 2015.

Bishop Malachy’s mother and siblings survive him. May the Lord reward his faithful servant with the gift of eternal life. Amen!

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