Bulletin 10th September 2023

Christian Witness in Nigeria

Last weekend Revd Dr Paul Kangkai spoke to us about the situation in the North East of Nigeria. He has sent us this summary of his talk:

Nigeria is a huge country with an estimated population of 223,804,632 people. The north east of Nigeria has a population of over 26 million people. These 26 million people have been the ones most affected by the deadly activities of an Islamic group known to the world today as Boko Haram. They are a new arrival on the religious landscape of the north east of Nigeria. The word Boko Haram in the local Hausa language means “western education is forbidden”. However, they define themselves as “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s (Mohammed) teaching and jihad.” The scale of their terrorist activities is enormous. According to the figures given by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2020), 35,000 people were killed. In 2022, UNDP updated their figures to 350,000 people. 13,000 Churches, 1500 schools were destroyed. 611 teachers lost their lives. Thousands of Mosques were destroyed too since Boko Haram attacked other Muslims who were not members of their sect. Most of the killings and destruction took place within the span of twelve years (2009-2022).

The good news is that despite all these challenges, the faith of our people remains strong. Our churches are full every Sunday and most times when we celebrate masses. The crisis has led to an increase in vocation to the priesthood and Religious life. Our lay people have become more involved in our parishes. Our first reading highlights the challenge of being God’s witness in difficult and violent circumstances with the story of Jeremiah. The Gospel of Matthew describes how being true disciples of Jesus includes carrying our crosses. For us in the north east of Nigeria, violent Islamic terrorism has been our cross. There are many types of crosses for you in Ireland today. However, the call to true witness in love, according to the mind of Christ, is the same. We are asking you to continue to pray for us; for our people, priests, Religious and volunteers from around the world who are still working there. Thank you.

Parish Assembly meets on Monday 11th September, at 8.00 pm.

Recent Death: Rita Kehoe, Hawthorn Villas, South Douglas Road. We pray for her and sympathise with her family. May she rest in peace.