Cardinal Tagle Appreciates Nigerian Prelate’s “pastoral skills” on His Episcopal Jubilee

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja, who celebrates the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination on April 23.

A Nigerian Archbishop’s “missionary spirit and pastoral skills” have been acknowledged with appreciation by the head of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle as the Prelate marks 25 years since he was ordained a Bishop.

“It is with great pleasure that I take this opportunity of joining with the Archdiocese of Abuja and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria in congratulating you as you celebrate the Silver Jubilee of your Episcopal Ordination on 23 April,” the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle has stated in his message to Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja.

In the one-page-letter sent through the Apostolic Nunciature in Nigeria, Cardinal Tagle acknowledged Archbishop Kaigama’s service to the Church as an ordained Minister who developed the “missionary spirit and pastoral skills” necessary for the “different responsibilities” that the Church entrusted to him by appointing him as the first Bishop of Jalingo, Metropolitan Archbishop of Jos and later the Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja.

“As a young priest, you already gave yourself wholeheartedly in the different missions entrusted to you,” the Filipino Cardinal stated in his letter to Archbishop Kaigama dated March 19, expressing Propaganda Fide’s “profound appreciation and deep gratitude” for the 61-year-old Nigerian Prelate.

“I, therefore, send you my best wishes and prayers that this celebration be a source of joy and countless blessings for you personally, for the Metropolitan See of Abuja and for the whole country,” Cardinal Tagle who has been at the helm of the Vatican-based Congregation responsible for missionary work since February wrote.


“May the intercessions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, St. Joseph, the Protector of the Church, and St. John Paul II continue to guide and protect you,” the 62-year-old Cardinal concluded.

Ordained a Bishop on April 23, 1995, Archbishop Kaigama has been on the frontline advocating for interreligious coexistence among followers of various religions in the West African nation of Nigeria, which has an almost equal population of Christians and Muslims.

While serving as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Jos, central Nigeria, Archbishop Kaigama founded the Dialogue, Reconciliation and Peace Centre (DREP), a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in 2011 to foster peaceful coexistence among people of various religions and ethnicities in the conflict-ridden Jos area and beyond.

The NGO brings together the youth, women, leaders and other grassroots members of various religious, political and ethnic groups to experience and learn together the art of dialogue, reconciliation and peace building. 

DREP Centre provides the participants with an opportunity to share experiences and to promote trust and reconciliation, which will in turn equip them for peace building in their own communities.

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Members of the NGO are expected to proactively respond to the incessant destruction of lives and property, the polarization of Christian and Muslim settlement in Jos and its environs, the “revenge” mentality among the youth, and the gap created by prejudice and ignorance of religion.

In June 2019, the Archbishop received the African Food Security Hero Award from Food Bank Africa for his contributions towards the “development of the food value chain and concern for humanity especially in the area of peaceful coexistence.”

Upon his transfer from Jos to Abuja in 2019, the Nigerian Prelate promised to continue bringing together Christians and Muslims as well as community leaders in response to conflict and other ordinary situations.

“I have just come to Abuja,” Archbishop Kaigama was quoted as saying, adding, “I am trying to study my environment to see what is there, what is happening. After I see what is going on, I judge, discern and say, ‘where do we go?’ And once I know the orientation, we act. I am sure we will come up with something together with Christian and Muslim religious leaders in Abuja and beyond.”

On Facebook, various users posted their goodwill messages for the Nigerian Archbishop.


Klaus Piepel posted, “Dear Archbishop Kaigama, I want to send you my warm congratulations to the silver jubilee of your ordination as Bishop as well. May God Bless your work for peace and reconciliation in Nigeria. I will include you in my prayers.”

“On behalf of Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON) Archdiocese of Abuja, we wish to Congratulate you Your Grace, wishing you many fruitful years ahead in your priestly and episcopal journey,” Ihuoma Celestine A. Chucks wrote.

Your Grace, Peter Emmanuel Onoja wrote, “On behalf of my family and the Catholic Men Organization of Abuja Archdiocese, we congratulate you and wish you God's grace, wisdom and blessings in your Episcopal duties. Congratulations your Excellency.”

On behalf of the members of Block Rosary Crusade of St. Kevin’s Parish Jikwoyi, Daniel Ejim Nicholas wrote, “We felicitate you on your silver jubilee as a servant of the Most High God, we pray that the good Lord will continue to strengthen you, bless you and grant you many fruitful years ahead Amen.”