, 07 September, 2020 / 9:23 PM
The leadership of Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja has, in a pastoral letter issued at the end of the two-day Archdiocesan General Assembly, underscored the need for pastoral agents to foster “a sense of co-responsibility” in their apostolate.
“Abuja is a home for all, hence, there ought to be a sense of co-responsibility. We must be a luminary beacon, exemplary in the evangelization mandate and collectively reach out to the very extreme that are within the circumscription of our Archdiocese,” says Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama in his Saturday, September 5 pastoral letter, which he issued at the end of the maiden General Assembly of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja.
In the letter, Archbishop Kaigama invites Clerics and pastoral workers in the Archdiocese “to commit themselves more zealously to the teaching of catechism and the spiritual and moral formation of children and youth in our parishes, schools, and other pastoral institutions.”
He encourages Priests to “devote adequate time to the preparation of their homilies and to show great diligence and respect for the Church’s laws in the administration of the Sacraments.”
“There is need for a renewed missionary impulse. We cannot rest on our laurels, knowing that there is still so much work to be done for God,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja says, calling for “more volunteers to be trained as Catechists.”
The pastoral letter follows the 4-5 September General Assembly during which members of the Archdiocese deliberated on the theme, “Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja: Together in Evangelization.”
In the letter, the Nigerian Archbishop also urges Catholic media professionals to volunteer their services towards the enriching of the Archdiocese’s Television and Radio.
The 62-year-old Prelate also highlights challenges the West African nation is facing in the pastoral letter.
The ravaging COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the deplorable state of the country’s education and healthcare sectors, Archbishop Kaigama says.
As a way forward, he invites the government to “partner with religious institutions and faith-based institutions which have shown great commitment in providing quality education and affordable healthcare to a vast majority of citizens.”
Reflecting on the prevailing state of insecurity in Africa’s most populous nation, the Prelate condemns “in unequivocal terms the attacks and gruesome killings of innocent Nigerians in different parts of the nation by criminal elements of various stripes and shades.”
He calls on the government to resolve the security challenges in the country.
“Where there is no peace, development cannot thrive,” the Archbishop further says, adding, “In these dire times, we call on all politicians and public office-holders to put on the spirit of patriotism in serving the nation.”
He goes on to urge the people of God in the Archdiocese of Abuja to intensify their prayers for the nation especially the 40-day Prayer after angelus to end the incessant killings in Nigeria as directed by members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), the prayer for Nigeria in Distress, Prayer against Bribery and Corruption in the country.
On August 8, CBCN members issued a collective statement requesting Catholics in the country to “join in praying, one Our Father, three Hail Marys, and one Glory Be to the Father every day after the Angelus for forty days, starting from 22 August 2020 and ending 30 September 2020, the eve of Nigeria's Independence Day.”
“On Independence Day, let us join in praying the five decades of the sorrowful mysteries starting from 12 noon,” the Bishops in Nigeria added in their August 8 statement obtained by ACI Africa.
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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