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The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah has called on Christians to remain steadfast in the face of persecution saying: “it is all about how we witness to our faith in the midst of adversity, persecution and challenges given the fact that our Lord gave his followers the injunction to stay awake at all times”.
Bishop Kukah gave the admonition in his homily at the celebration of the opening Mass for the First Provincial Music Carnival of the Archdiocese of Kaduna, organized recently by the Provincial Catholic Liturgical Music Council (PROCALIMCO). The celebration took place at St Peter Claver Cathedral Church, Kafanchan, Kaduna State; and was attended by participants from: Kano, Sokoto, Zaria and the host diocese, Kafanchan. The theme of the celebration was: Celebrating Our Faith in the Midst of Challenges.
Expressing concern that the celebration is taking place at a time the people of southern Kaduna are in pains, the bishop urged that there is need for strategy for response in the midst of challenge. He asked: “Should we stay and be lamenting our plight or we tell our attackers that they can do nothing to shut our faith?
Noting that Christians are a people of the resurrection which makes Christianity to be unique and different from other religions, the bishop stated that for every church destroyed by enemies of the Christian faith, a bigger church comes out; “indicating how love of neighbour can be a powerful tool for witnessing to our faith in the midst of challenges”.
Bishop Kukah went on to say there is a lot of appreciation and admiration of the Christian faith going on quietly among the Muslim folks and some secretly converted to Christianity all because they were never rejected by the Christians. He cautioned against seeing the crises bedeviling Southern Kaduna as a religious issue citing Zamfara as a state that has suffered death casualty more than any other state in the country but because their environment is not media friendly, no one seems to know their plight.
He described the challenges facing Southern Kaduna as providing “a period of creativity and initiative which we as priests must leave ourselves open to the Holy Spirit. As priest, as catechists, as ordinary people coming to the Church, we must leave ourselves open to the Holy Spirit because through us, something can happen.”
Stressing the need for constant prayer and closeness to Jesus Christ for strength, the bishop also called on the youth to approach the issues with clear reasoning and in depth circumvention of the problem. He lamented that nowadays, youths gladly take to arms and abandon Christianity in the name of defending their faith saying they will later come back to Christianity.
Present at the Carnival was Bishop Martin Uzuokwu of Minna Diocese, Rev. Fr. Paul Yahaya Chaplain of Minna Diocesan Choir, Rev. Fr. Francis Lemark Chaplain of Sokoto Diocesan Choir, Rev. Fr. James Akema Chaplain of Zaria Diocesan Choir, and the Host Chaplain Rev. Fr. Mallam. The Cathedral Administrator was ably represented by his Assistant Rev. Fr. Douglas Gaiya. Fr. Alex Ojoh graced the occasion too.


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