By Matthews Otalike in Sokoto, Nigeria
A Catholic priest has declared that no amount of tyranny and persecution has been able to extinguish Christianity as a religion anywhere in the world because it was not founded by man. Such acts rather serve as the elixir for the spread of the Christian faith.
This was part of the sermon by the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Very Rev. Fr. Cornelius Tagwai at the Mass at Holy Family Catholic Cathedral Sokoto today for the repose of the souls of two priests and seventeen lay faithful who were martyred while celebrating Mass at the Parish Church at Mbalom in Makurdi Diocese.
Fr. Tagwai lamented the miseries which Nigerians go through daily especially at this time that there is in place, a government which had set for itself, the task of fighting corruption without providing the solution to the prevailing hunger and insecurity in the land. Nigerians he added are contending with many challenges which the government seems incapable of confronting.
The Chancellor said countless people collapse even in public places due to hunger and disease and they do not have resources to take care of themselves nor do they have anyone or government to look up to. According to him, “the government claimed that it has recovered huge sums of money from past leaders. Who will benefit from the dividends of such recovery if the ordinary Nigerians continue to die at the hands of herdsmen and hunger”?
He explained that today’s prayer activities in all Catholic Dioceses in Nigeria was in response to the call of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria for all to pray and protest to the government and all Nigerians that there should be an end to the needless killing of innocent and hapless Nigerians. The two-fold directive to Pray and Protest was done in Sokoto with the Holy Mass and Rosary procession.
The Vicar General (Administration) of Sokoto Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Nuhu Iliya, led six other priests, the religious and lay faithful to celebrate the Mass which had all the trappings of funeral Mass in honor of those killed in Benue State.
The Mass was preceded with a Rosary procession during which the Sorrowful Mysteries of the prayer was recited in a long procession of the clergy, the religious and the laity around the expansive Holy Family Catholic Cathedral premises.
Until recently when the duration was increased, it takes a minimum of 10 years to train a Catholic Priest and two of them were murdered in cold blood at the Parish Church in Mbalom, Makurdi Diocese in April.