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Nigeria in Need of Fearless Preachers of Gospel: Bishop at Late Seminarian’s Memorial

Late Michael Nnadi

At the celebration of Holy Eucharist marking the first anniversary since Seminarian Michael Nnadi was murdered, the Auxiliary Bishop of Nigeria’s Minna Diocese has underscored the need for fearless preachers of the Gospel in the example of the late Seminarian.

Michael who was a seminarian at the Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Nigeria’s Kaduna Archdiocese was killed in January 2020 because he reportedly would not stop announcing the Gospel of Christ in captivity

We are celebrating Michael as a hero of faith, a fearless preacher of the word. This is the type of messengers and preachers our nation and our world is in need of,” Bishop Luka Sylvester Gopep of said during the February 26 event, the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kaduna organized.  

Bishop Gopep added, “Preachers who will look at a sinner and enemy straight in the face and confront them with love and courageous faith; preachers who for the sake of the gospel and the truth will be willing to take the road to martyrdom instead of shying away in the face of difficulties and challenges.” 

Michael, 18, was among four seminarians abducted from the Good Shepherd Major Seminary in Kaduna on the night of 8 January 2020. While three of the seminarians were released, the native of Sokoto Diocese was found murdered 20 days later. 

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Multiple crises such as kidnappings and murders has bedeviled the West African country in recent years, a situation that has prompted church leaders to express concerns about persistent insecurity in the nation. 

On February 23, members of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) highlighted multiple crises that are affecting Africa’s most populous nation and called for urgent action lest the country collapses.

In his February 26 homily, Bishop Gopep described Nigeria as one whosedaily menu is equipped with tears, pain, disappointment, betrayals, and the obvious reality is that the life span in our country has drastically reduced.”

“Ours is a country where we gather in the morning to celebrate our loved ones only to be called again to go to their funeral because they have been murdered or massacred,” the Nigerian Bishop said, adding, “People are not safe on the road, in their farms, in their worshipping places or their homes.” 

He continued during the Eucharistic celebration that brought together Catholic Bishops in the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kaduna, “We have become so vulnerable to the point that even deception has been canonized. Our politicians are getting on with lies while poverty has become a common cloth in our country. Unfilled dreams are our welcome gains.”

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“This is a clear indication that something is wrong somewhere. Either with the leaders or the led. We have failed to tell ourselves the truth or we have refused to accept the truth,” the 55-year-old Bishop went on to say.  

He called on members of the Clergy to “take responsibility for our safe emancipation and that of our people.”

“Our priesthood should not become like Nigerian politics and politicians. No doubt, our political system and politicians have failed us but we should not fail the people of God in our country,” Bishop Gopep said during the memorial Eucharistic celebration that took place at the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna,

Apart from Priests, the Bishop said, all the baptized in Nigeria need to “rise to the challenge of our time and become passionate in devising the means and proffering the solution to free our people and our country from the hands of enemies of life.”

“Our country needs men and women of action and not of words,” Bishop Gopep underscored.

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On February 12, Michael’s native Diocese of Sokoto held a memorial Eucharistic celebration in honour of the slain Seminarian

During the celebration, the Local Ordinary of the Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said, “It is quite tragic that one year later, we are still closer to nowhere we hope to be. The harvest of death has gotten richer, more and more people are dying.”

Making reference to Michael’s heroism in witnessing Jesus Christ in captivity, Bishop Kukah said the late Seminarians course for sainthood should be advanced because “we have never had that kind of experience. That the people who killed him, actually came and testified that they killed Michael because he was preaching to them and telling them that what they were doing was not right.”