Catholic Bishops Task FG on Peace, Security
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has urged the Federal Government to further strengthen the peace and security of the nation.
Most. Rev. Augustine Akubeze, CBCN President, said this during the opening ceremony of the second plenary of CBCN in Abeokuta on Sunday at the Sacred Heart College Hall.
Earlier in the day, the bishops were joined by Catholic lay faithful, priests and leaders of other Christian denominations at the opening mass for the plenary meeting held at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Cathedral, Itesi Abeokuta .
The conference which converged the presence of all Catholic bishops in Nigeria in Abeokuta addressed the state of the nation among other pertinent issues affecting the Catholic Church and the country at large.
Akubeze said that it remained the duty of the government to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens and also ensure peace and effective security.
He said that adequate security of lives and properties would bring about peace and would eventually lead to sustainable development.
Akubuze also the Catholic Archbishop of Benin Archdiocese condemned the recent killings of some Catholic priests in some parts of the country.
“Only recently we heard of the burning of Rev. Fr. David Tanko of Jalingo Diocese to death and only recently we heard of the killing of a priest in Enugu Diocese.
“We Catholic priests and faithfu must preach daily the message of peace and justice. It is part of the message of Christ. It is part of the mission of the church.
“As missionaries, we must be harbingers of justice and peace in our land.
“We are just interested in living our lives peacefully without any fear of being kidnapped for ransom or being driven from our home land.
“Every government that fails to protect the constitutional rights of her citizens has failed. The leaders of a country should ensure peace and security of his people,” he said.
Also, the Chairperson of the conference, Prof. Catherine Eromosele, decried the continued keeping hostage of Leah Sharibu.
Eromosele said that she had spent no less than 1,980 days in the custody of Boko Haram, and urged the Bishops to keep her matter and others abducted alive.
Eromosele appealed to the Catholic clerics to urge the Federal Government to do all that is possible to ensure their release without further delay.
In his remarks, Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun lauded the Catholic Church for contributing to the development of the state and the country at large.
He called on the church to continue to pray for the peace and unity of the country.
He added that the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari would not disappoint Nigerians by fulfilling his electioneering.
Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and his Plateau counterpart, Simon Lalong and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi attended the events.
Also, Prof. Pat Utomi, Mr Jimi Agbaje, the Alake of Egba Land, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo were among the dignitaries at both the mass and the opening ceremony. (NAN)
Lent: Priest Preaches Forgiveness for Improved Christian Life
The Catholic Priest in charge of Holy Spirit Church, Onireke, Lagos, Rev. Fr. Anthony Okereke, has urged Christians to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness for spiritual growth.
Okereke, a Soul Revival and Healing Gospel Preacher, made the call while celebrating an early morning Lent Mass on Saturday.
He said the essence of the mass was to reposition Christian faithful to partake in the blessings of the Lent season.
The priest said the Lent seasons should be used by Christians to atone for their sins and be better positioned to communion with God.
Okereke said that the season was an important period in the life of every Christian, adding, ”it’s a time to make peace with God and humans”.
”The fasting and prayers that we undertake during Lent will be meaningless if we still harbour acrimonies against our neigbhours.
”If we expect God to forgive us of our misdeeds, we must first forgive those who have wronged us.
”We must remember that God created man in His own image and likeness, so we must begin to make peace with your fellow humans,” he said.
The catholic clergy further urged Christians not to relent in praying for national unity, peace and development.
”If there is a man to pray, there is God to answer. Let us use the Lent season to seek the face of God,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lent is a 40-day period of fasting and prayer which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar.
The 2023 Lent season which began on Feb. 22, would end on April 6.(NAN)
CAN has not Endorsed any Governorship Candidate in Plateau – Chairman
The Plateau chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it has not endorsed governorship candidate of any political party.
Its chairman, Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on Sunday that Plateau electorate should turn out en-masse on March 11 to vote for the leader of their choice.
“Concerning the governorship and the state assembly elections, be enthusiastic to come and vote en-masse the candidate of your choice in the interest of Plateau.
“Vote candidates who are God-fearing; have integrity and are accountable; vote men and women of good character and who have track records and are passionate about Plateau,’’ he charged.
Lubo thanked Plateau people for participating in the presidential election, saying that those whose candidates did not win should not be discouraged from participating in the governorship election.
He added that it was important for Plateau to pray for the will of God to prevail at the elections.
The CAN leader in Plateau also admonished the people not to take the laws into their hands no matter the outcome of the elections. (NAN)
290 Christian Pilgrims Depart for Israel
The Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), said it transported the eighth batch of no fewer than 290 Christian pilgrims from Adamawa and Lagos States to Jordan and Israel for pilgrimage.
The pilgrims departed on Tuesday through the Yola International Airport.
Addressing the pilgrims, NCPC’s Executive Secretary, Rev.Yakubu Pam, said that 120 pilgrims were from Adamawa and 170 from Lagos State, including those who sponsored themselves.
He urged them to be good ambassadors of Nigeria and abide by rules and regulations for a hitch-free exercise.
Pam tasked pilgrims to be prayerful for continued peace as well as stability of the nation and peaceful elections to be accepted as the will of God.
“This is the eighth batch; the first batch left on December 16th, through Enugu International Airport. All of the batches became prayer warriors for the general elections.
“And today, you can see how the election is going; if not because of prayers by now Nigeria could have been something else. So your prayers have to be higher for governorship elections to be successful,” he said.
He also warned pilgrims against absconding and engaging in religious aspects of life while in the Holy land.
Pam commended President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ahmadu Fintiri for their support and cooperation with the commission and the pilgrims.
In his remarks, Chairman of Adamawa Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rev. Peter Birth, urged the pilgrims to pray for peaceful elections and a peaceful transition of government.
He also commended the Adamawa Government for all the support rendered to ensure that the pilgrimage was successful.
NCPC’S Chaplin and Director, Special Duties, Pastor Raphael Oyinloye, charged the pilgrims to take the journey as a spiritual act of worship and not for tourism.
He urged them to also be obedient to authorities and the officials for a hitch-free exercise (NAN)
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