Catholic Bishops in Nigeria Direct “special prayers” for Pentecost Sunday Massacre Victims

Members of Nigeria’s Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province (IEP) during a solidarity visit to Ondo Diocese following the Pentecost Sunday massacre at St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish. Credit: Ondo Diocese

Catholic Bishops of Nigeria’s Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province (IEP) have directed that “special prayers” be offered on July 5 in commemoration of those affected by the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese that left 39 Catholic worshippers killed and more than 80 injured.

In a Monday, June 27 statement shared with ACI Africa, the Catholic Bishops invite “all and sundry, especially Catholic Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful to a prayer commemoration of the tragic event and of the departed souls.”

“We direct that special prayers and fasting be observed exactly a month after the occurrence on Tuesday July 5, 2022,” Catholic Bishops shepherding the people of God in the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan and the Dioceses of Ekiti, Ilorin, Ondo, Osogbo, and Oyo say.

They further highlight the program of the prayer initiative, directing that the prayer initiative be held in all Dioceses, beginning with “Bible Reading and Reflection (Romans 8:31-39), Rosary prayer, where possible in procession, the Prayer against Bribery and Corruption in Nigeria, the Prayer for Nigeria in Distress and conclusion with the Holy Mass or Adoration and Benediction.”

In their collective statement shared with ACI Africa, the Catholic Bishops in IEP direct, “The same programme, except for the fasting, is prescribed, to conclude the exercise on the following Sunday, July 10, 2022.The Bible reading for Sunday reflection: (2 Cor. 4: 7-11).”


“We must do all in our power to bring our country back to the path of justice, peace and the fear of God,” they say in the statement signed by the President of the IEP, Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin.

The Catholic Bishops add, “This cannot happen without an unflinching commitment to prayer.”

“We earnestly urge all the faithful in our Ecclesiastical Province to join this prayer crusade for the mercy of God and for strength for the Church and all the faithful,” they say.

In their collective statement, the Catholic Bishops in the Nigerian Ecclesiastical Province encourage the people of God “to also participate, prayerfully and actively in the forthcoming National Eucharistic Congress with the theme: ‘Becoming the Eucharist we celebrate - A call to live as one and to serve the weak'". 

The Eucharistic Congress is expected to take place in the Archdiocese of Benin from November 11 to 13, the Church leaders further say, adding that the spiritual initiative “will be preceded by a National Pastoral Congress at the same venue from November 7 to 11.”

More in Africa

“These are enriching spiritual programmes that touch the very heart and mission of the Church and are targeted at the spiritual growth of the Church and her members,” Catholic Bishops in IEP say, and implore, “May God hear our prayers and shed the light of his face upon us. Amen.”

Since the June 5 attach on Catholic worshippers, several prayer initiatives have been organized in honor of the victims.

On June 9, the Bishop of Ondo Diocese declared a period of six weeks, where all weekday Holy Mass in his Episcopal See would be offered for the repose of the souls of those who died following the Pentecost Sunday attack.

“As further steps in our common pastoral commitment, I am hereby declaring that all the weekday Masses said in all the parishes in the Diocese beginning from Monday June 13th till July 25th, 2022 shall be applied for the repose of the souls of the dead,” Bishop  Jude Ayodeji Arogundade directed.

He added, “I permit hereby that other intentions, if necessary, could be applied for pastoral reasons. However, no more than two intentions could be applied to such Masses.”


On June 17, Ondo Diocese organized a Funeral Mass for the victims of the attack. In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo urged those affected by the June 5 tragedy to stand firm in their faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.