It was the first official visit of the Chief Shepherd of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, to the parish community of the Twelve Apostles Catholic Church, Central District Abuja, on Sunday 23 May, 2021.
Being Pentecost Sunday, the parish was agog with festivities as the parishioners rolled out drums to celebrate their feast day with the Holy Mass, cultural displays, dancing and eating, while thanking God for blessing them thus far on the massive Church building project they had embarked upon.
In his homily, the Archbishop commended the Parish Priest, Very Rev. Fr. Vincent Ogunsoro and all the parishioners for their commitment and generosity, in building the Church thus far. He however challenged the faithful to ensure that the faith in the community is as solid as the mighty pillars holding the Church structure presently under construction, by allowing themselves to be filled with the force and power of the Holy Spirit like the Apostles.
The Shepherd taught his flock that Pentecost is the feast of unity because it breaks down all barriers; making all one in Christ. "It is the birthday of the Church and by implication, the birth of the people of God." In this sense, Christians are the temples of the Holy Spirit, since they are born of the Spirit. It thus behooves Christians to look inward and ensure that they promote unity in the nation, rather than war, violence, and corruption.
The Archbishop called on the worshippers to pray the Holy Spirit to cleanse the nation of Nigeria which is soaked with the blood of many innocent citizens. "Jesus did not deceive us that it would be easy and crises-free for Christians" (cf. Mt 5:7). Quoting John 15, he said: "the world will hate you without a cause; those who kill you will think they have done something noble." But "we are consoled by the fact that nothing will separate us from the love of Christ."
On how to solve the perennial problem of corruption in Nigeria, the prelate further said that because the Holy Spirit transforms and edifies, "we must be prepared to open the door of our hearts, let God into our hearts and lives, and eschew hypocrisy.
He added that Nigerians must shun the many negative values which seem to prevail presently in the society, like: abusive language and nasty behaviours on social media, white lies, indiscipline and incessant killings. By the power of the Spirit, all these should give way to honesty, selfless service, and respect for life and the dignity of the human person.
The Archbishop prayed that the Holy Spirit will help Christians and all Nigerians to recover these values and turn to become missionaries of love and compassion.
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