Nigerian Catholic Diocese Directs Offering “Mass of Thanksgiving” after Priest’s Release

Fr. Emmanuel Silas, freed in Nigeria's Kafanchan Diocese after 24 hours in captivity. Credit: Kafanchan Diocese

Catholic Priests ministering in Kafanchan Diocese in Nigeria have been directed to celebrate Holy Mass in “Thanksgiving to God” following the safe release of Fr. Emmanuel Silas from captivity “barely 24 hours after his abduction”.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Tuesday, July 5, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese, Fr. Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, says, “With hearts filled with joy, we raise our voices in a symphony of praises as we announce the return of our brother, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Silas.”

Fr. Emmanuel Silas who had been kidnapped in the early hours of July 4 was set free by his captors at “around 9.00pm” of the same day, Fr. Okolo says.

In his statement dated Monday, July 4, the Chancellor of Kafanchan Diocese says, All our Priests are directed to kindly celebrate Mass of Thanksgiving to God tomorrow, 5th July, 2022 for the quick release of Fr. Emmanuel Silas.”

Fr. Silas had reportedly been seized by armed persons from the Fathers’ residence at St. Charles Zambina Catholic Church in Kauru Local Government Area, Kaduna State.


The Chancellor of Kafanchan Diocese had, “with great pain”, announced Fr. Silas’ abduction in a July 4 statement in which he called for “intense prayer” for the “quick and safe release” of the kidnapped Priest.

In his statement announcing the release of Fr. Silas, the Chancellor of Kafanchan Diocese expresses gratitude to “all those who have offered prayers and entreaties for the quick release of our Priest and others who are still in the dens of their kidnappers.”

“We pray to God to hasten the release of those who are still in the hands of their captors,” Fr. Okolo says, and implores, “May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for us and all those that are still in captivity!”

Nigeria has been struggling with violence from gangs who kidnap for ransom and sometimes kill their abductees.

The West African country has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when the Boko Haram insurgency emerged with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state. 

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The insecurity situation has been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia, who have been clashing frequently with Christian farmers.

The abduction of Fr. Silas is one of the most recent in a series of other kidnappings of members of the Clergy and Christians in Africa’s most populous country.  

On July 2, two Priests ministering in Nigeria's Uromi Catholic Diocese were kidnapped after gunmen attacked their car along the Benin-Ekpoma Express Way.

Days before, two Priests were murdered in separate attacks in their respective Nigerian Dioceses, one in Kaduna Archdiocese on June 25, and the other in Auchi Diocese on June 26.

On Pentecost Sunday, June 5, gunmen attacked St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese leaving 39 Catholics killed and more than 80 injured.


Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.