, 01 April, 2020 / 7:24 AM
The installation of Archbishop Mattew Ishaya Audu as the Local Ordinary of Jos in Nigeria that took place Tuesday, March 31 was witnessed by 50 people in line with the government’s directive to limit public gatherings in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Africa’s most populous nation.
The West African country has recorded 135 cases of COVID-19. Two people have died and eight have recovered from the deadly virus that has claimed the lives of at least 42,114 globally.
“We welcome you the few present here, representing the many others who would have loved to come but the Church had to comply with the good restriction measure adopted by the Government as a proactive way to vigorously fight the coronavirus,” the Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said in his welcoming speech at the beginning of the ceremony.
Archbishop Kaigama who was at the helm of Jos Archdiocese for 19 years since the year 2000 till last November explained that many people had expressed the desire to participate in the ceremony including clergy, religious men and women and the lay faithful.
The directives by the government in view of containing the spread of COVID-19 “has restricted the number of participants to fifty,” the Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese clarified
He added, “Even with this small congregation of fifty, we will go ahead to do the canonical installation of the Archbishop, by the grace of God.”
“Jos Archdiocese has promised that a more elaborate and festive celebration will take place after the unfortunate coronavirus malady must have become a thing of the past,” Archbishop Kaigama said.
He implored, “May God have mercy on us and bring to a very quick end this global scourge. For the sake of the sorrowful passion, Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
Pope Francis appointed the 60-year-old Archbishop Matthew Ishaya Audu to the Archdiocese of Jos on January 6, transferring him from Lafia Diocese in the Ecclesiastical Province of Abuja where he served as the Local Ordinary since his 2001 episcopal ordination.
Archbishop Audu will be the fifth Ordinary of Jos which is part of the Ecclesiastical Province of Jos.
“I thank God for using the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to give Jos Archdiocese the gift of a new Archbishop in the person of Most Rev. Matthew Ishaya Audu. Welcome Archbishop Audu and “bon travail”,” Archbishop Kaigama welcomed his successor.
Further Archbishop Kaigama asked the faithful and clergy of Jos to be pardoned for the wrongs he may have committed in his tenure as the Archdiocese’s Prelate.
“May I crave your indulgence to ask that for my failings as a human being during my tenure as chief shepherd of Jos Archdiocese, may the Lord forgive me and those who felt offended by my words and actions to also forgive me,” he said.
“All I did for Jos Archdiocese as Archbishop and lately as Apostolic Administrator, was in the best interest of progress, harmony and growth in the spiritual, pastoral and social spheres,” Archbishop Kaigama said and continued, “For those who were happy with my decisions and pastoral initiatives, please continue to be happy and for some who were offended or hurt by my pastoral decisions, may God bring you healing and relief.”
“May this new phase under the leadership of Archbishop Matthew Ishaya Audu be characterized by greater development, peace, understanding and unity in the Archdiocese and indeed in the entire Ecclesiastical Province of Jos.”
“May God bless all of you in the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos and indeed Plateau State very richly and bring to completion the work He has started in you (cf. Phil. 1:6). Let us keep each other in fervent prayer. Peace be with you all,” said Archbishop Kaigama.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa