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Nigeria’s Abuja Maiden General Assembly to Explore Local Church Progress, Archbishop Says

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama during the launch of the maiden General Assembly of the Archdiocese of Abuja.

The maiden General Assembly of Nigeria’s Archdiocese of Abuja is expected to “explore” ways to contribute to the progress of the local Church in the West African nation, the Local Ordinary, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said.

In his homily during the official launch of the Assembly Friday, September 4, Archbishop Kaigama expressed the hope that the gathering “would help the Church to take a look at the humble beginnings of what had metamorphosed into an outstanding Archdiocese.”

“Hopefully, we can explore during the assembly proceedings how to continue to contribute to the overall development, welfare and progress of our Church, and the nation,” the Nigerian Prelate said during the Eucharistic celebration at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Catholic Pro-Cathedral in Abuja.

He added, “We hope that the pastoral areas with the cooperation of all will grow to quasi parishes and then to full parishes.”

Participants in the Assembly are expected to discuss how to strengthen the faith of the people of God and how they can remain committed to God amid COVID-19 challenges.

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In his homily, the Archbishop highlighted the channels of communication at the disposal of the people of God in the Archdiocese, and encouraged engaging the available media amid COVID-19 restrictions. 

“In our Archdiocese, we have the Catholic Television and Good Shepherd newspapers which are essential to supporting and sustaining our faith and spirituality,” the 62-year-old Prelate said.

He added, “We need to use these more effectively at these challenging times, especially with our newly-created 30 pastoral areas and expanded 11 Archdiocesan commissions.”

The Archbishop also encouraged the leadership of learning institutions, and parishioners to continue to educate children in faith.

“The Holy Childhood Association should be formed in schools and parishes where children are taught early how to share with others and sacrifice for the sake of the Gospel,” the Archbishop directed.

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He continued, “Annual children’s day should be celebrated in parishes and schools. Likewise, the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), activities have to be taken more seriously.”

Reflecting on the recent increase in fuel prices in Africa's most populous nation, the Archbishop urged the Nigerian government to give priority to poverty alleviation and improving the livelihoods of citizens, adding that the increase in petrol pump price will “make life intolerable at this very difficult time.”

"I can only beg on behalf of the poor and the needy that government should have mercy on us. We are at the grassroots and I meet people who are really poor and in need and with all these increases it makes life more intolerable," the Nigerian Prelate lamented.

He continued, "As a priest I can only pray that God will do something for the poor and needy but God doesn't operate in a vacuum, he uses our leaders; the President, the governors, local government chairman. I know they can do something."

"Let them just look at the poor and the needy with the eyes of mercy and strategize, there is a way out, they can be help. As a witness people are in agony and are suffering, government is their father, government is their leader let them do something," Archbishop Kaigama said.

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He encouraged Nigerians to cultivate the habit of bearing each other’s burdens by sharing with the needy.