“Many of the children of our devout and faithful Catholics, whom we often depend upon to make major contributions towards these projects, have in many cases left the Catholic Church or have abandoned religious practice altogether,” he lamented during the September 23 event held at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral of Abuja Archdiocese.
Fr. Ehusani said that those abandoning religious practices back to the fold might be a challenge “if we keep chasing away the brightest, the most educated, and the most enlightened of our young people away from the Churches, with our embarrassingly crude and shoddy methods of fundraising.”
The Executive Director and Lead Faculty of the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation that deals with leadership training emphasized the need to pay attention to the faith commitment of the people of God amid funds drive for church projects.
He regretted the fact that the interest in realizing physical structures in Nigeria is being undertaken at the expense of “Catholic faith and Catholic pastoral ministry, especially among the young population.”
The growing interest in expensive physical structures, Fr. Ehusani said, “places enormous burden on the worshippers, and a lot of pressure on the Priests and Parish councils, at a time of worsening economic fortunes of the Nigerian people.”
The Abuja-based member of the Clergy of Nigeria’s Lokoja Diocese went on to reflect on weekday Holy Masses, Sunday evening benedictions, and participation in the Sacrament of Confession, and decried, “Many of the children have abandoned the religious practice altogether.”
There is no need for the expansion of church structures if the young people who are the “future Church” are abandoning religious practices due to the shift in priority from faith building to financial contributions, the award-winning Catholic expert in Nigeria said.
He explained, “From what we see of our global youth culture, reflected in the social media in our country today, the dire indications are that many of these Church structures could be empty in just 20 or 30 years, if we do not take urgent steps with the grace of God, to turn the tide around.”
“Churches are usually built for future generations, not really for the present generation. That is why they are built to last for hundreds of years,” the Nigerian Priest behind the PSI that equips beneficiaries with the necessary tools to provide psychotherapy to victims of violence in Nigeria and in other African countries experiencing violent conflicts said.
As a way forward, Fr. Ehusani suggested, “I humbly request the Archbishop, the Auxiliary Bishop, the Parish Priests and all the delegates at this General Assembly, to work towards declaring a state of emergency regarding the fundraising protocols in our Churches.”