"Use your youthful energy" to Serve God: Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria to Youth

Archbishop Alfred Martins Adewale of Nigeria's Lagos Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Young people in Nigerian have been urged to use their “youthful energy” to render their services to serve God, the people of God, and the country.

In his homily during the Eucharistic Celebration to mark the opening of the National Youth Day (NYD) in Nigeria on Thursday, August 11 in Ibadan, Archbishop Alfred Martins Adewale reflected on the theme of the youth event, “Mary Arose and went with haste”.

“Mary’s message for you today is, use your youthful energy in the service of God,” Archbishop Adewale told participants in the NYD, and added, “Bring new energy to support and serve your Church and your country.”

The Local Ordinary of Lagos Archdiocese reflected on the biblical book of Ecclesiastes and called upon the youth to include God in their affairs. He cautioned them against the notion that youthful age is for pleasure, middle age for business, and old age for God and religion.

He also emphasized the need for young people to shun online forums with “obscene material that grab your attention; programs with dirty language and activities that are evil to the public eye", which he said are destructive to one’s relationship with God.


The fact that you are here today from all over the country, the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop told participants in NYD in Ibadan, “Is an indication that you recognize the role of God and faith in your life.”

He added, “Continue to remind yourselves from day to day that it is in your youth that God expects you to serve Him even more vigorously because that is when the temptation to ignore God, faith and the practice of religion can grow stronger.”

“This is the time that peer pressure can grow strong, the hormones are very active, pornography, drugs and alcohol are easily taken,” Archbishop Adewale further said. 

The 63-year-old Archbishop who has been at the helm of the Lagos Archdiocese since August 2012 reflected further on the youthful age of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the zeal with which she served God and encouraged the youth in the West African nation to look at her for inspiration.

“Our blessed mother Mary remembered her God and served Him from her youthful days” he said, and added, “She is the inspiration that we need in our time; she is the inspiration that young people need especially in the current times that we have found ourselves in the country.”

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“Mary visited her cousin at the time of need,” the Nigerian Archbishop told participants in the NYD event, and added, “This should encourage you through all the challenges of our country now and in your personal lives. Even though your faith may be under severe test now, never forget that God is with us and He has not abandoned us.”

Lack of hope in addressing the challenges the people of God grapple with in Nigeria is what frustrates both the young and the not so young, Archbishop Adewale said.

“Our country is in a bad shape; we are all witnesses to the rots sneaking in various parts of our nation. I do not need to make a litany of them, because they are self-evident. Insecurity has spiked in recent times," he said.

The Nigerian Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in Nigeria’s Abeokuta Diocese in January 1998 called upon the people of God in Africa’s most populous nation to be part of the agents for change, saying, “Let's also remember that the heaven helps those who help themselves".

Turning his attention to Nigeria’s general elections scheduled for 2023, Archbishop Adewale urged the youth use their voting power to give a chance to leaders who can change the situation of the country for the better.


“The only power that we have by which we can help ourselves is the power of the votes that we shall cast,” he said, and added, “Let us all allow God to help us by using the only power that we have to make our country better; that power is the power of our votes.”

He advised the electorate in Nigeria to pay attention to the value system of the politicians as they make public their political agenda. 

“Let us listen attentively to whatever politicians have to say, the quality of values that they put ahead and the quality of virtues that they themselves practice to help us in determining what we shall do with the power of votes that we have in our hands,” Archbishop Adewale said in his homily during Holy Mass to open NYD in Ibadan on August 11.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.