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Pope Francis‎ discuss extensively on same-sex marriage with President Jonathan As Nigeria, Vatican partner in education, health



President Goodluck Jonathan and‎ Pope Francis ‎yesterday held extensive discussion on Nigeria’s position on same-sex marriage law recently passed in the country.

The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission, Kennedy Opara, disclosed this to newsmen yesterday at the Holy Sea after President Jonathan’s audience with the Pope as well as his tour of the Vatican City.

Opara said the President used the opportunity to state Nigeria’s position on same sex-marriage while the Pope commended Jonathan’s effort in tackling the various challenges facing the country.

Picture-3180The Pilgrims from Anambra, Kaduna and the Federal Capital Territory, were part of President  Jonathan’s delegation to Vatican City in Rome, Italy but remained at the courtyard while the audience with Pope Francis and Monsignor Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State.

Also Nigerian residents in Italy were also in the Vatican City to join President Jonathan in the Papal audience.

President Jonathan’s visit to the Holy See was also an attempt to re-establish contact with the Holy See authorities because they have an important part to play in Nigeria’s affairs, according to the ‎Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Dr. Francis Okeke.

He also conclude his pilgrimage which he started in Israel, October last year.‎

The Ambassador ‎recalled that the Christian religion brought education to Nigeria over 100 years ago, and the Holy See played an important part with other Christian religions in supporting education in Nigeria.

Speaking to newsmen after the Papal audience, the Governor of Akwa Ibom, Godswill Akpabio, said Nigeria will benefit alot from President Jonathan’s visit to the Holy Sea.

According to him, Jonathan was the first sitting President to pay a visit to the Pope at the Vatican.

Akpabio said,  “I think this is very good because I believe what Nigeria needs is spiritual rebirth and that is what the President is doing. He is not just doing physical transformation but wants to ensure we also have spiritual transformation, this is so that our children will turn away from vices that try to bring disrepute to Nigeria. I believe strongly that it is at a period like this that God made him a President of this country, to chart a new course for the future of Nigeria, so this visit will be of great benefits.

“Also the Vatican as you know is run as a country and so we have also entered into cooperative arrangements in terms of education and health care in Nigeria.

“At the end of the day you are going to have a lot of people coming from the Holy Sea to chart a new course in the education and health care sectors and by implication enhance the living standards of Nigerians. So I’m excited that we are bringing the Holy Sea to Nigeria and by implication bringing the catholic community which is also the largest in Nigeria closer to the federal government”. ‎

Benue State, Gabriel Suswam on his part said the benefits of the visits are two folds, “first the divine benefits that the President as the representative of the country has gone from the Pope himself and also the fact that there are other bilateral issues that the President also discussed with the Vatican. You know that the Vatican in the area of health and education are doing very well. So I believe that we have benefited both spiritually and also in the area of health and education.

“For some of us that are here, we have taken ‎a lot of blessings and gifts from the Pope that I believe will in turn impact positively on the country”, he said.

Suswam also said he in particular prayed against the incessant attacks from the Fulani herdsmen. “We are actually going through a phase in the country and we need a lot of prayers. Part of the prayers from Pope Francis was against the violence we are experiencing in Nigeria and I believe we will begin to see a lot of difference when we get back”.

Some of the notable personalities in the President’s delegation were his wife, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, Benue State Governor’s wife, Yemisi Suswam, former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi, the wife of the Senate President Helen Mark, the Minister of State Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Publicity, Secretary, Olise Metuh, and the former Chief of Staff to the President Mike Oghiadomhe.


Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes



Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship



Nuncio tasks clergy, laity on good stewardship

The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, has urged the clergy, religious and lay faithful to be trustworthy, transparent, selfless and generous stewards in the discharge of their duties in the Church, following the way of Jesus.

Archbishop Filipazzi made the call during the opening ceremony of the maiden General Assembly of the Abuja Archdiocese, which was held on at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Friday September 4.

The General Assembly, with the theme “Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja: Together in Evangelization,” saw Bishops, priests, religious men and women, and the laity gathered together to discuss means of strengthening the faith of God’s people amid the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis.

Addressing participants, Archbishop Filipazzi said that “an administrator is neither a master nor a slave who cannot decide anything, but one who is given a responsibility by the Master.” In this light, the faithful are called to be “true administrators of divine mystery” entrusted to them by Our Lord, according to their varying roles in the Church.

The Apostolic Nuncio also said “differences must not lead to division,” as everyone, though different, must strive for unity since there is no room for divisions in the body of Christ.

Archbishop Filipazzi, speaking on the upsurge in violence in northern Nigeria in a Vatican News interview on 29 August, had also called for shunning divisions along religious and ethnic lines.

Rather, he appealed for “general respect of the law and general intervention of the government” in the violent attacks which have claimed many lives and caused massive material damage.

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Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St Joseph’s Hall of Faith”



Assumpta CMO raises fund to roof “St. Joseph's Hall of Faith”

The Catholic Men Organization, CMO, Maria Assumpta Cathedral Parish Owerri, joined their counterparts in the Archdiocese to celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday, August 30.

The celebration earlier scheduled for May 10 this year was differed because of Covid-19 pandemic.

The occasion began with a Pontifical Mass presided over by His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri cum Parish Priest of the Cathedral Parish.

In his homily, Archbishop Obinna called on Christians to live a life of witnessing to Christ at all times. He said that the zeal to preach the word of God is like a fire that burns inside the heart of a Christian and will not abate until one bears witness to Christ. This, he said, must be done in the course of our daily lives, in our places of work, in our families, among our friends, through living life that is Christ-like.

He congratulated the Christian fathers on the occasion and appealed for support to enable them complete their building project in no distant time. His Grace also appreciated the performance of the CMO choir during the Mass.

The theme for the parish celebration is: “Catholic Men As Spiritual Heads of the Domestic Church: Implications in the Family.”

The parish CMO used the celebration to raise fund for the roofing of their building project named: “St. Joseph’s Hall of Faith.”

In his brief remark at the occasion, the Parish CMO President, Arc. Anthony Emeka Ozoude said, “We have been able to complete the block work,” adding that, “the task before us now is to put a roof on the building.”

He therefore made a passionate appeal for generous donations from members and well wishers, assuring donors that every kobo donated will be prudently applied for the purpose.

Arc. Ozoude recalled that early this year, the parish CMO executive identified a three-prong programme of focus, namely: Membership revalidation, Debt recovery and Fund raising for the roofing.

He advised members not to sit on the fence anymore as there is so much to gain spiritually, morally and even intellectually from participating in the CMO activities both at the parish, stations and prayer groups levels.

“The committed members who attend our programmes regularly have discovered this and have remained resolute in their participation,” he said.

Activities marking this year’s celebration included Retreat, visit to ailing members in their homes, thanksgiving Mass blessing of the mini altars for the 5 prayer groups of CMO etc.

Arc. Ozoude thanked in a special way, Archbishop Obinna, the Cathedral Administrator and priests working in the Cathedral for their support. He also commended the various stations and prayer groups for their cooperation.

The CMO president acknowledged the good work and sacrifice of the Planning Committee, headed by Dr. Uche Ukozor and thanked them for a job well done.

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