Seek Divine Intervention to Insecurity Challenge During Lent: Nigerian Catholic Archbishop

Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso of Nigeria’s Kaduna Archdiocese. Credit: Kaduna Archdiocese/Facebook

A Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria has urged the people of God in the country to use the Lenten Season to seek divine intervention to the challenge of insecurity in the West African nation.

In a Monday March 7 message, Archbishop Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso of Nigeria’s Kaduna Archdiocese said that insecurity in the West African country has made life unbearable for Nigerians.

“Like the Judeans of old, faced with our numerous plagues of insecurity caused mainly by bandits now turned terrorists, insurgents, we too can effectively use this corporate religious season of prayer, fasting, and charity to seek divine intervention in our challenging situation of insecurity, which has made life unbearable for most Nigerians,” Archbishop Ndagoso said.

The Nigerian Archbishop said that encountering God in solitude and inner silence during the Lenten Season is one way of acquiring the grace to love one another.

He said that Lent is not a time to exclude others but a season that “makes us conscious of being our brothers and sisters’ keepers regardless of creed, ethnic group, socio-economic or political affiliation.”


“When we purge and empty ourselves of selfishness, greed, self-centeredness and such like, we create space for something else to fill the space so created, namely, the grace of God which takes control and leads us in the right direction,” Archbishop Ndagoso said.

He said that Lent seeks to inspire a change of heart to live Christian life and that the attitude should be to embrace Christian dignity through the Sacraments of Christian initiation.

“The attitude during this season therefore should be one of becoming fully aware of the Christian dignity received through the Sacrament of Christian initiation, which conferred on us a new identity of the children of God,” Archbishop Ndagoso said.

The Local Ordinary of Kaduna Archdiocese said that the frequent use of the Sacrament of reconciliation is the center of the Lenten Season, adding that it is a form of transiting from self-centeredness to selflessness due to the joy of being forgiven.

Reflecting on the ongoing preparations for the Synod on Synodality, the Nigerian Archbishop underlined the need for the faithful to walk together as a Synodal church even during the Lenten Season, a process he described as “a corporate affair”.

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“We embark on this year’s Lenten journey within the ongoing Synod on Synodality. And as we may well be aware, a synod by nature is a corporate affair, a spiritual journeying of all the faithful, a corporate pilgrimage of a people who share a common goal and therefore a common means,” he said.

He added that the Lenten Season is a “corporate penitential pilgrimage of the faithful” and that the season is noteworthy “because salvation is a journey that requires not only cooperation but also support of each other.”

The Nigerian Archbishop urged the people of God to embrace unity in diversity and to share their gifts with each other based on how differently gifted they are.

He noted that the people of God spend much time on the internet and advocated that such time and resources can be sacrificed during this Lenten Season and channeled to the service of God.

“The unnecessary time and resources spent browsing and wandering in search of ‘nothing’ in the World Wide Web (WWW) can be gainfully devoted to the service of God through service of others,” Archbishop Ndagoso said.


He added, “The season challenges us to embrace and embody the attitude of Christ who spent much time in prayer, fasting and helping others especially the needy.”

The 62-year-old Archbishop made reference to the biblical story of two disciples on the road to Emmaus and said that their encounter with the risen Lord is related to what Nigerians are facing amid poor leadership.

“The predicament of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus on Easter Sunday morning is akin to that of most Nigerians today vis-à-vis continued bad governance, which has created economic hardship caused by under and unemployment, poverty, insurgency, terrorism, kidnappings for ransom, cattle rustling, banditry, armed robbery, drug peddling, ritual killings,” he said.

Archbishop Ndagoso reflected on the participatory democracy entailing citizen empowerment in political decisions that was adopted in the country in 1999 and said that the hopes of most Nigerians have been affected by the empowerment.

“Successive governments especially since the return to participatory democracy in the fourth republic in 1999 have raised and dashed the hopes of most Nigerians for a better and inclusive nation,” he said, and added, “It is an understatement today to say that there is hopelessness and despondency in the country.”

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He explained that the adoption of participatory democracy has caused many Nigerians to lose not just hope but also confidence in the country to an extent that they no longer have a sense of belonging.

“This state of affairs has no doubt caused many to lose hope and confidence in the country. Many sections of our country have a feeling of exclusion and have a-no-sense of belonging. These feelings have manifested in the agitations for self-determination and in some cases outright calls for secession,” he said.

However, the Catholic Archbishop encouraged Christians to take solace in the resurrection of Christ saying that the Christian faith ought to produce hope, which in turn fosters Christians to move on irrespective of challenges.

He said that fortitude in adversity is the shield of Christians and the only guarantee to defeat dark forces that culminate into hopelessness.

He acknowledged the generous support of the faithful that has enabled an Archdiocesan Commission to reach out to the needy in his Metropolitan See of Kaduna.

“Our Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) continues its engagement with helping the unemployed and underemployed youth and women, especially widows, regardless of religion and ethnic group to acquire various skills that help to equip them with relevant skills to be employable and self-reliant,” Archbishop Ndagoso said.

He added, “JDPC has over the last ten years trained and graduated thousands of young people and women especially widows in various skills in addition to engagement in peace building efforts and provision of relief material in emergency situations such as distribution of relief materials for those affected by the activities of bandits turned terrorists, kidnappers and clashes between farmers and herders.”

He said that the Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna is looking forward to continuing with skills acquisition programs and also civic education ahead of the 2023 elections, adding that the process relies on the continued generous support of the faithful.

“With your continued support we hope to continue with the skills acquisition programs, civic education ahead of the 2023 general elections, advocacy for good governance, acquisition of farmland for large scale farming, provision of legal aid to convict prisoners, charity to needy individuals and families and clean drinking water to needy communities through the sinking of boreholes,” Archbishop Ndagoso said in his March 7 message.