Liberia: Archbishop Zeigler Remembered “as a Servant Leader, Man of Peace and Reconciliation”

The late Archbishop Lewis Jerome Zeigler

The Catholic Bishop of Cape Palmas Harper, Maryland County, Bishop Andrew J. Karnley says the church will remember the late Archbishop Lewis Jerome Zeigler as a servant leader and who served less in his pastor service and was generous in his charity.

“We are here today to celebrate not the death but the birth of Archbishop Lewis Jerome Zeigler into the glory of eternal life because his death on the 12 of August marks the end of mission on this earth and his entrance into glory,” Karnley said.

Bishop Karnley, in his homily delivered during the funeral mass of the late Archbishop Zeigler, held at the Sacred Heart Cathedral Broad Street held on Friday, August 26, 2022, said Archbishop Zeigler was a man of peace and reconciliation, friendly actable and approachable person and good listener as well as a counselor.

“Archbishop Zeigler served well and made a meaningful difference in the lives of people by uplifting them spiritually and also through educational and material support,” Karnley said.  

The late Archbishop Zeigler’s funeral mass was witnessed by Speaker Bhofal Chambers of the House of Representatives, Chief Justice of Liberia Francis S. Korkpor, government officials, Diplomatic Corps, representatives of organizations and entities in Africa and the United States of America, religious leaders, family members, and friends.

The late Archbishop Zeigler who died on August 12, 2022 served the church throughout his life and many have characterized Zeigler as a man of quietude and humility. Karnley said the Archbishop served the church with humility and steadfast commitment as a priest and a bishop.

He said many admired Archbishop Zeigler's humility and simplicity as a priest and Archbishop in the church, stating “he was unassuming and unpretentious and had the least ambition for high office in the church.”

“His family and friends will miss him for the spiritual father he was to them, and Liberia will miss another fine and truly patriotic son in the person of Archbishop Zeigler,” Karnley said   

Karnley said Archbishop Zeigler told them that “I have fought a good fight to the end and I have run the race to the finish and I have kept the faith and finally there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteousness judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing,” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

He said Archbishop Zeigler's pastoral ministry was inspired by the image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who came to serve and to give the fullest of life to all who believe in him.

During the mass, representatives of the government, Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, Episcopal Conferences, SMA Fathers of the United States of America, Liberia Council of Churches, Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, and The Catholic Church of Liberia paid tributes to the fallen Archbishop Zeigler.

“Today marks a time of regret, sadness, and grief in the hearts and minds of many as we mourned the homegoing of the late Very Rev. Lewis Jerome Zeigler, Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Monrovia and past Executive Committee Member of the Liberia Council of Churches, Rev. Christopher W. Toe, General Secretary of the Liberia Council of Churches said. 

Rev. Toe said Archbishop Zeigler was a faithful church leader, a servant, a great pastor, a clerical administrator, and a friend to church leaders across the globe who was called by the Almighty Father to rest in peace and enjoy the labour of his work. 

“His presence, association, relationship, administration and service to God is a memorial for family, the church, the State and friends,” Toe said.

Toe said reviewing the years past, and the time we have known the Archbishop he showcased the characteristics of a person of integrity and strong personality. Toe said Archbishop Zeigler was a humble pastor whose message from the Lord was one of wisdom.

“The church community was ever encouraged and challenged by how he prostrated himself to the Lord in humility and exhibited a vertical relationship with the Lord and a horizontal relationship with his fellowmen,” Toe said. 

According to Toe, Archbishop Zeigler's personality had a tremendous influence on many lives including family, the church, state, and friends. 

“He was not only a clerical administrator but a statesman that people looked up to for counsel.

Faithfulness and Longevity — Archbishop Zeigler was a scholar and served in leadership with modesty and honor, associated with community despite class and economic wealth, his service was very remarkable,” Toe said. 

Toe said the Archbishop inspired church leaders to initiate an effort of mediation to engage government and international organizations as well as raise the need for the Church to and the campaign against corruption. 

He said Archbishop Zeigler's brevity relied on the Almighty Creator who was the source of wisdom, security, and courage, stating “his obedience to the words of God, accolade him with blessings of longevity.”

“History will mark his calendar of service to the Christian community through the Catholic Church of Liberia and the Liberia Council of Churches when Liberia experienced the transition from war to peace and praying for the nation's peace,” Toe said.

He said Archbishop Zeigler was a man of personality, integrity, and respect for humanity and his life as a pastor was a blessing to churches and congregations.