“Our religious piety should not only be visible and felt on Sundays”: Nigerian Archbishop

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama during the celebration of Holy Eucharist at the Chaplaincy of Our Lady Queen of Good Health, Federal Medical Centre in Abuja.
Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja/Facebook Page

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has, in his Sunday, September 27 homily, urged the people of God to always strive to fulfill their religious obligations “daily and everywhere” and not make it a preserve of Sundays or Fridays when in their places of worship.

“Our religious piety should not only be visible and felt on Sundays in the Church or on Fridays in the Mosque, but daily and everywhere,” Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama said during the celebration of Holy Eucharist at the Chaplaincy of Our Lady Queen of Good Health, Federal Medical Centre in Abuja.

He added, “We should strive to translate the teachings of our noble religions, especially of Islam and Christianity, into acts of genuine love and generosity.”

The religious teachings, the 62-year-old Nigerian Prelate noted, should be put in practice especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taught people a “very great lesson” of seeing ourselves “with the lens of a common humanity.”

Making reference to the Letter of St. James, Archbishop Kaigama said, “Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well’, but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?” 

“Let us ask God for the grace of love, compassion, caring, forgiveness and an increased support for the vulnerable, the socially deprived, marginalized and forgotten,” he urged.

Another “big lesson” learnt amid COVID-19 “is the imperative for political authorities to improve health care to benefit the poor,” the Nigerian Archbishop September 27.

He called on the country’s government to meet the legitimate professional and material needs of the healthcare workers in the West African country so that they “can serve the sick and the poor with tranquility.”

Addressing himself to the healthcare workers, Archbishop Kaigama said, “Pope Francis is very convinced that through you the patients can feel the presence of Christ; through your personalized approach to the sick, not just of curing but also of caring.” 

“Their (patients’) families also need support and comfort from you,” he added during the Mass attended by the sick and the staff of Our Lady Queen of Good Health, the Federal Medical Centre.

He prayed for the various cadres of healthcare workers that God may imbue them “with both spiritual and physical energy and reward you for the sacrifices you make daily.” 

“I salute and commend you for your courage by clinging to your faith, trusting in Jesus the Savior,” the Archbishop said to the sick at the health facility.

He used Pope Francis’ message for the XXVIII World Day of the Sick to encourage the sick to see the presence of Jesus Christ in their respective lives.

In his message, Pope Francis cited Matthew’s Gospel, “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest” saying, “These words of Christ express the solidarity of the Son of Man with all those who are hurt and afflicted. How many people suffer in both body and soul! Jesus urges everyone to draw near to him – “Come to me!” – and he promises them comfort and repose.”

“My dear sick brothers and sisters, through this Eucharist, Jesus is offering His mercy and His comforting presence to you,” Archbishop Kaigama said and implored, “May God hear our prayer and, in His mercy, help the sick on their beds of pain and bring them back from sickness to health.”

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