Nigerian Catholic Priest Proposes Beatification of 2022 Pentecost Sunday Massacre Victims

Altar of St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese. Credit: ACN

A Catholic Priest in Nigeria has proposed the beatification of those who lost their lives in last year’s Pentecost Sunday massacre. 

In a statement to the Catholic Pontifical and charity foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, Fr. Emmanuel Faweh says the beatification of the more than 50 Catholic worshippers, including children, who died at St. Francis Xavier Owo Parish of Ondo Diocese will strengthen people’s faith.

“For me, as a Priest in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, it would not be a bad idea if the Church decides to open a cause for the beatification of those who lost their lives in that attack, because they died professing their faith.” Fr. Faweh says in the statement that ACI Africa obtained on Friday, June 2. 

The Rector of St. Albert Institute in the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan adds, “They died while worshiping God in his own house, so if the Church were to open a process for their beatification, that would go a long way to strengthen the faith of those who are practicing their faith in war-torn areas, or in areas like northern Nigeria, where most of those who go by the name of Christians are persecuted.”

Fr. Faweh says the attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish "was another episode in a long list of attacks on Christian lives and property in Nigeria, carried out by a mix of Islamist terror groups, armed bandits and ethnic Fulani tribesmen."


“The purpose is seen largely as an attempt to drive Christians off fertile lands in central Nigeria and to impose Islamic rule in the Muslim-majority northern states,” the Nigerian Catholic Priest says.

He adds that the fact that Ondo, western Nigeria, was attacked “is all the more cause for concern, because it indicates that the terrorists may be widening their scope of action.”

The attack on the Catholic Parish has not weakened the people’s faith, Fr. Faweh says, and adds, “If the terrorists who attacked on Pentecost Sunday wanted to frighten Christians or weaken their faith, they failed.”

He goes on to say that some of the victims of the Pentecost Sunday attack “still carry their scars and they call them their mark of honor, a reminder that their faith will supersede any kind of attack by those who want to stop the spread of the faith in Nigeria.”

“We remember this terror attack with mixed feelings. There is a feeling of gratitude that despite everything that happens, people still profess their faith,” he says.

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The Catholic Priest further says that it is regrettable that “there is also pain, pain that the government, whose sole responsibility is the protection of life and property, has failed to prosecute the criminals who unleashed this attack on very innocent people one year ago.”

The Rector of St. Albert’s Institute expresses hope that the new government "will be able to consolidate the fight against terrorism that was started by previous governments."

"May this government have the will to name those who sponsor these terrorists, and prosecute them, to discourage those who make money out of these crises and the terrorist attacks that have been going on in this country," he says. 

Fr. Faweh continues, “We will remain hopeful, focused, and nothing is going to deter us from worshiping our God in truth and in Spirit.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.