Saturday, February 27, 2021

Sunday Holy Mass Online : Sun. February 28, 2021 - 2nd Sunday in Lent - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church - B



 Second Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 26
Reading I
Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
God put Abraham to the test.
He called to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he replied.
Then God said:
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love, 
and go to the land of Moriah.
There you shall offer him up as a holocaust 
on a height that I will point out to you.”
When they came to the place of which God had told him, 
 
 Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it.
Then he reached out and took the knife to slaughter his son.
But the LORD’s messenger called to him from heaven, 
“Abraham, Abraham!”
“Here I am!” he answered.
“Do not lay your hand on the boy,” said the messenger.
“Do not do the least thing to him.
I know now how devoted you are to God, 
since you did not withhold from me your own beloved son.”
As Abraham looked about, 
he spied a ram caught by its horns in the thicket.
So he went and took the ram 
and offered it up as a holocaust in place of his son.
Again the LORD’s messenger called to Abraham from heaven and said: 
“I swear by myself, declares the LORD, 
that because you acted as you did 
in not withholding from me your beloved son, 
I will bless you abundantly 
and make your descendants as countless 
as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore; 
your descendants shall take possession 
of the gates of their enemies, 
and in your descendants all the nations of the earth
shall find blessing—
all this because you obeyed my command.”
Responsorial Psalm
116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
R. (116:9) I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
I believed, even when I said,
    “I am greatly afflicted.”
Precious in the eyes of the LORD
    is the death of his faithful ones.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
O LORD, I am your servant;
    I am your servant, the son of your handmaid;
    you have loosed my bonds.
To you will I offer sacrifice of thanksgiving,
    and I will call upon the name of the LORD.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
My vows to the LORD I will pay
    in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD,
    in your midst, O Jerusalem.
R. I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living.
Reading II
Rom 8:31b-34
Brothers and sisters:
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son 
but handed him over for us all, 
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us, who will condemn?
Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised— 
who also is at the right hand of God, 
who indeed intercedes for us.
Verse Before the Gospel
Cf. Mt 17:5
From the shining cloud the Father’s voice is heard:
This is my beloved Son, listen to him.
Gospel
Mk 9:2-10
Jesus took Peter, James, and John 
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them, 
and his clothes became dazzling white, 
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, 
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, 
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents: 
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; 
from the cloud came a voice, 
“This is my beloved Son.  Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves, 
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint February 28 : St. Hilary : a Pope who Hid in the Crypt of St. John the Apostle after the 2nd Council of Ephesus

St. Hilary
POPE 
 Feast Day:
February 28 or November 17
Born:
at Sardinia
Died:28 February 468 at Rome, Italy
 Information: Elected 461; the date of his death is given as 28 Feb., 468. After the death of Leo I, an archdeacon named Hilarus, a native of Sardinia, according to the "Liber Pontificalis", was chosen to succeed him, and in all probability received consecration on 19 November, 461. Together with Julius, Bishop of Puteoli, Hilarus acted as legate of Leo I at the "Robber Synod" of Ephesus in 449. There he fought vigorously for the rights of the Roman See and opposed the condemnation of Flavian of Constantinople (see FLAVIAN, SAINT). He was therefore exposed to the violence of Dioscurus of Alexandria, and saved himself by flight. In one of his letters to the Empress Pulcheria, found in a collection of letters of Leo I ("Leonis I Epistolae", num. xlvi., in P.L., LIV, 837 sq.), Hilarus apologizes for not delivering to her the pope's letter after the synod; but owing to Dioscurus, who tried to hinder his going either to Rome or to Constantinople, he had great difficulty in making his escape in order to bring to the pontiff the news of the result of the council. His pontificate was marked by the same vigorous policy as that of his great predecessor. Church affairs in Gaul and Spain claimed his special attention. Owing to political disorganization in both countries, it was important to safeguard the hierarchy by strengthening church government. Hermes, a former archdeacon of Narbonne, had illegally acquired the bishopric of that town. Two Gallican prelates were dispatched to Rome to lay before the pope this and other matters concerning the Church in Gaul. A Roman synod held on 19 November, 462, passed judgment upon these matters, and Hilarus made known the following decisions in an Encyclical sent to the provincial bishops of Vienne, Lyons, Narbonne, and the Alps: Hermes was to remain Titular Bishop of Narbonne, but his episcopal faculties were withheld. A synod was to be convened yearly by the Bishop of Arles, for those of the provincial bishops who were able to attend; but all important matters were to be submitted to the Apostolic See. No bishop could leave his diocese without a written permission from the metropolitan; in case such permission be withheld he could appeal to the Bishop of Arles. Respecting the parishes (paroeciae) claimed by Leontius of Arles as belonging to his jurisdiction, the Gallican bishops could decide, after an investigation. Church property could not be alienated until a synod had examined into the cause of sale. Shortly after this the pope found himself involved in another diocesan quarrel. In 463 Mamertus of Vienne had consecrated a Bishop of Die, although this Church, by a decree of Leo I, belonged to the metropolitan Diocese of Arles. When Hilarus heard of it he deputed Leontius of Arles to summon a great synod of the bishops of several provinces to investigate the matter. The synod took place and, on the strength of the report given him by Bishop Antonius, he issued an edict dated 25 February, 464, in which Bishop Veranus was commissioned to warn Mamertus that, if in the future he did not refrain from irregular ordinations, his faculties would be withdrawn. Consequently the consecration of the Bishop of Die must be sanctioned by Leontius of Arles. Thus the primatial privileges of the See of Arles were upheld as Leo I had defined them. At the same time the bishops were admonished not to overstep their boundaries, and to assemble in a yearly synod presided over by the Bishop of Arles. The metropolitan rights of the See of Embrun also over the dioceses of the Maritime Alps were protected against the encroachments of a certain Bishop Auxanius, particularly in connection with the two Churches of Nice and Cimiez. In Spain, Silvanus, Bishop of Calahorra, had, by his episcopal ordinations, violated the church laws. Both the Metropolitan Ascanius and the bishops of the Province of Tarragona made complaint of this to the pope and asked for his decision. Before an answer came to their petition, the same bishops had recourse to the Holy See for an entirely different matter. Before his death Nundinarius, Bishop of Barcelona, expressed a wish that Irenaeus might be chosen his successor, although he had himself made Irenaeus bishop of another see. The request was granted, a Synod of Tarragona confirming the nomination of Irenaeus, after which the bishops sought the pope's approval. The Roman synod of 19 Nov., 465, took the matters up and settled them. This is the oldest Roman synod whose original records have been handed down to us. It was held in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. After an address of the pope, and the reading of the Spanish letters, the synod decided that the church laws must not be tampered with. In addition to this Hilarus sent a letter to the bishops of Tarragona, declaring that no consecration was valid without the sanction of the Metropolitan Ascanius; and no bishop was permitted to be transferred from one diocese to another, so that some one else must be chosen for Barcelona in place of Irenaeus. The bishops consecrated by Silvanus would be recognized if they had been appointed to vacant sees, and otherwise met the requirements of the Church. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions an Encyclical that Hilarus sent to the East, to confirm the Oecumenical Councils of Nicaea, Ephesus, and Chalcedon, and the dogmatic letter of Leo I to Flavian, but the sources at our disposal furnish us no further information. In Rome Hilarus worked zealously for the integrity of the Faith. The Emperor Anthemius had a favourite named Philotheus, who was a believer in the Macedonian heresy and attended meetings in Rome for the promulgation of this doctrine, 476. On one of the emperor's visits to St. Peter's, the pope openly called him to account for his favourite's conduct, exhorting him by the grave of St. Peter to promise that he would do all in his power to check the evil. Hilarus erected several churches and other buildings in Rome. Two oratories in the baptistery of the Lateran, one in honour of St. John the Baptist, the other of St. John the Apostle, are due to him. 
After his flight from the "Robber Synod" or the repudiated 2nd council of Ephesus, Hilarus had hidden himself in the crypt of St. John the Apostle, and he attributed his deliverance to the intercession of the Apostle. Over the ancient doors of the oratory this inscription is still to be seen: "To St. John the Evangelist, the liberator of Bishop Hilarus, a Servant of Christ". He also erected a chapel of the Holy Cross in the baptistery, a convent, two public baths, and libraries near the Church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. He built another convent within the city walls. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions many votive offerings made by Hilarus in the different churches. He died after a pontificate of six years, three months, and ten days. He was buried in the church of St. Laurence Outside the Walls. His feast day is celebrated on 17 November. (Taken from Catholic Encyclopedia)

Pope Francis sends Letter Marking 100th Anniversary of the Canonization of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows



Vatican News reports that Pope Francis sent a letter marking the start of a jubilee year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the canonisation of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
By Vatican News staff writer
On the anniversary of his death on 27 February 1862, Pope Francis sent a letter marking one hundred years since the canonisation of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Canonised by Pope Benedict XV, Saint Gabriel died at the young age of 24, at the island of Gran Sasso in Italy.
In his letter, addressed to Bishop Lorenzo Leuzzi of Teramo-Atri, Pope Francis wrote that "this event showed that his Christian witness was so extraordinary and singular that it can be held up as a model for the whole Church, especially for new generations."
Example of charity, enthusiasm
The Pope went on to express his solidarity by joining spiritually in commemorating the significant anniversary with "this Diocese, the Passionist Fathers, the Christian communities of Abruzzo and Molise, and all those who will take part in the beginning of the Jubilee with the opening of the Holy Door at the Shrine dedicated to the patron saint of youth." 
Pope Francis also described St. Gabriel as "a young man of his time, full of life and enthusiasm, animated by a desire for fullness."
It was this same fullness, continued the Pope, that "impelled him beyond worldly and passing things to take refuge in Christ." St. Gabriel, to this day, he said, "invites young people to recognise within themselves the desire for life and fulfillment."
"May the example of this young Passionist religious, strong in faith, firm in hope and ardent in charity, guide the path of consecrated persons and of the lay faithful in the tension of love towards God and towards their neighbour."
Blessed Jubilee Year
The Pope noted that, especially as we face the ongoing pandemic and the resulting economic and social fragility, "it is necessary that the Lord's disciples become ever more instruments of communion and fraternity, extending to others the charity of Christ and radiating it with concrete attitudes of closeness, tenderness and dedication."
Finally, Pope Francis addressed "all those who will take part in the various initiatives promoted to live this significant Jubilee Year in prayer and charity," expressing his desire for them "to rediscover the Lord, seeing him in the face of every brother and sister to whom I offer consolation and hope."
Source: VaticanNews.va

Powerful Devotion to Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows and Litany Prayers to SHARE with Promises

 

The Devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows remembers, in prayer, 7 times when the mother of Jesus experienced great pains in her heart due to the sufferings of Jesus. Honoring Our Lady due to her sorrows became popular in the 12th Century especially by the Benedictines. A feast to Our Lady of Sorrows was first celebrated in 1482 under the title of Our Lady of Compassion. In 1814 the feast was changed to Our Lady of Sorrows and is celebrated on September 15. (On February 27, is the feast day of St. Gabriel of the Seven Sorrows, who promoted this devotion)

The Seven Graces (promises) of this Devotion
  1. I will grant peace to their families.

  2.They will be enlightened about the Divine mysteries.

  3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
  4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
  5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
  6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
  7. I have obtained this Grace from my Divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.


7 Sorrows Devotional Prayers: 

Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows
Sorrow 1

The Presentation in the Temple

FIRST PRAYER OF THE CHAPLET:
The Seven Dolors of The Blessed Virgin Mary
 

V: O God, come to my assistance;
R: O Lord, make haste to help me
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

1. I grieve for you, O Mary, most sorrowful, in the affliction of your tender heart at the prophecy of the holy and aged Simeon. Dear Mother, by your heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of humility and the gift of the holy fear of God.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Sorrow 2
The Flight into Egypt
 
THE SECOND PRAYER OF THE CHAPLET:
The Seven Dolors of The Blessed Virgin Mary
V: O God, come to my assistance;
R: O Lord, make haste to help me
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
2. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the anguish of your most affectionate heart during the flight into Egypt and your sojourn there.
Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of generosity, especially toward the poor, and the gift of piety.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Sorrow 3
Loss of Jesus For Three Days
THE THIRD PRAYER OF THE CHAPLET:
The Seven Dolors of The Blessed Virgin Mary
V: O God, come to my assistance;
R: O Lord, make haste to help me
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

3. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in those anxieties which tried your troubled heart at the lost of your dear Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart so full of anguish, obtain for me the virtue of chastity and the gift of knowledge.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen. 
Sorrow 4
The Way to Calvary
 
THE FOURTH PRAYER OF THE CHAPLET:
The Seven Dolors of The Blessed Virgin Mary

V: O God, come to my assistance;
R: O Lord, make haste to help me
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
 4. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the consternation of your heart at meeting Jesus as He carried His cross. Dear Mother, by your heart so troubled, obtain for me the virtue of patience and the gift of fortitude.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Sorrow 5
The Crucifixion 
THE FIFTH PRAYER OF THE CHAPLET:
The Seven Dolors of The Blessed Virgin Mary
 

V: O God, come to my assistance;
R: O Lord, make haste to help me
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

5. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the martyrdom which your generous heart endured in standing near Jesus in His agony. Dear Mother, by your afflicted heart, obtain for me the virtue of temperance and the gift of counsel.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Sorrow 6
The Descent from the Cross
THE SIXTH PRAYER OF THE CHAPLET:
The Seven Dolors of The Blessed Virgin Mary
 

V: O God, come to my assistance;
R: O Lord, make haste to help me
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

6. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of your compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance before His Body was removed from the cross. Dear Mother, by your heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of
understanding.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Sorrow 7
The Burial of Jesus
THE SEVENTH PRAYER OF THE CHAPLET:
The Seven Dolors of The Blessed Virgin Mary
 

V: O God, come to my assistance;
R: O Lord, make haste to help me
V: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
R: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

7. I grieve for you, O Mary most sorrowful, for the pangs that wrenched your most loving heart at the burial of Jesus. Dear Mother, by your heart sunk in the bitterness of desolation, obtain for me the virtue of diligence and the gift of wisdom.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
NOVENA PRAYER TO
THE MOTHER OF SORROWS (Say for 9 days - with 1 Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be)

Most holy and afflicted Virgin, Queen of Martyrs, you stood beneath the cross, witnessing the agony of your dying Son. Look with a mother's tenderness and pity on me, who kneel before you. I venerate your sorrows and I place my requests with filial confidence in the sanctuary of your wounded heart. Presenet them, I beseech you, on my behalf to Jesus Christ, through the merits of His own most sacred passion and death, together with your sufferings at the foot of the cross. Through the united efficacy of both, obtain the granting of my petition. To whom shall I have recourse in my wants and miseries if not to you, Mother of Mercy? You have drunk so deeply of the chalice of your Son, you can compassionate our sorrows. Holy Mather, your soul was pierced by a sword of sorrow at the sight of the passion of your divine Son. Intercede for me and obtain for me from our Lord {mention your petition}, it it be for His honor and glory, and for my good. Amen..

 

PRAYER OF ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI
 

O afflicted Virgin, O soul great in virtues, as in sorrows, both the one and the other spring from that great fire burning in thyr heart for God, the only love of thy heart!
Mother, have pity on me, who has not loved God, and who has so greatly offended Him. Thy sorrows, it is true, assure me of pardon, but that is not sufficient. I wish to love God. Who could obtain for me that grace if not thee, who are the Mother of holy love! O Mary, Thou consolest everyone; favor me also, with thy consolations. Amen. 

APPROVED BY POPE PIUS VII  IN 1815 

Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows

by Pope Pius VII
V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.
Mother of the Crucified, [etc.]
Sorrowful Mother
Mournful Mother
Sighing Mother
Afflicted Mother
Foresaken Mother
Desolate Mother
Mother most sad
Mother set around with anguish
Mother overwhelmed by grief
Mother transfixed by a sword
Mother crucified in thy heart
Mother bereaved of thy Son
Sighing Dove
Mother of Dolors
Fount of tears
Sea of bitterness
Field of tribulation
Mass of suffering
Mirror of patience
Rock of constancy
Remedy in perplexity
Joy of the afflicted
Ark of the desolate
Refuge of the abandoned
Shiled of the oppressed
Conqueror of the incredulous
Solace of the wretched
Medicine of the sick
Help of the faint
Strength of the weak
Protectress of those who fight
Haven of the shipwrecked
Calmer of tempests
Companion of the sorrowful
Retreat of those who groan
Terror of the treacherous
Standard-bearer of the Martyrs
Treasure of the Faithful
Light of Confessors
Pearl of Virgins
Comfort of Widows
Joy of all Saints
Queen of thy Servants
Holy Mary, who alone art unexampled
V. Pray for us, most Sorrowful Virgin,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of grief pierced through the most sweet soul of Thy glorious Blessed Virgin Mother Mary: grant that we, who celebrate the memory of her Seven Sorrows, may obtain the happy effect of Thy Passion, Who lives and reigns world without end. Amen.
The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady
1. The Prophecy of Simeon
2. The Flight into Egypt
3. The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
4. Mary meets Jesus Carrying the Cross
5. The Crucifixion
6. Mary Receives the Dead Body of Her Son
7. The Burial of Her Son and Closing of the Tomb.


Litany by Pope Pius VII

Catholic Bishops' of Nigeria say "We Must Pull Back from the Brink of Collapse" in Message to People - FULL TEXT



FULL TEXT Letter of the Bishops to the People of Nigeria :
We Must Pull Back From The Brink Of Collapse.
A Message of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria
to all People of Goodwill in Nigeria
23 February 2021
Our dear brothers and sisters,
1. Our country Nigeria has gone through many crises, and so
far, has managed to survive them, by God’s grace. But the ongoing crisis
in the country should be of grave concern to everyone who still
believes in “one united nation under God”. We are really on the brink of
a looming collapse, from which we must do all we can to pull back before
the worst overcomes the nation. This is not merely crying wolf without
cause!
2. The very survival of the nation is at stake. The nation
is falling apart. Serious insecurity, clearly evident in widespread loss of
lives and property, for long unaddressed, has left the sad and dangerous
impression that those who have assumed the duty and authority to
secure the nation are either unable – or worse still, unwilling – to take
up the responsibilities of their office. Time is running out and the
situation needs to improve!
3. The clamour for self-defense is fast gaining ground. Many ethnic
champions are loudly beating the drums of war, calling not only for
greater autonomy but even for outright opting out of a nation in which
they have lost all trust and sense of belonging. The calls for secession
on an ethnic basis from many quarters should not be ignored or taken
lightly. Many have given up on the viability and even on the desirability
of the Nigeria project as one united country. No wonder many non-state
actors are filling the vacuum created by a palpable failure of
government. The Federal Government under President Muhammadu
Buhari can no longer delay rising to its obligation to govern the nation;
not according to ethnic and religious biases but along the lines of
objective and positive principles of fairness, equity and, above all,
justice. It is not too much for Nigerians to demand from Mr President
sincerity both in the public and private domain. There are no more
excuses.
4. We, of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, with members
from all parts of Nigeria, are very highly disturbed about the present
state of instability in the land. This must not be allowed to continue to
fester and degenerate. We are raising this alarm because of our deep
patriotic love for our nation, not for any sectional interests, be they
political, ethnic or even religious.
5. Despite the persistence of crises around us; assassinations, Covid 19,
kidnappings, murders, banditry, armed robberies, we sincerely affirm
our faith in the viability and desirability of the Nigeria Project, as one
prosperous nation under God. But we are also convinced that building
such a nation, especially in our present circumstances, comes at a cost.
We are also convinced that the alternative of tearing
ourselves apart, comes with a cost that is far higher than what it
takes to keep ourselves together. We must be ready to seek a common
purpose with sincerity of mind. As individuals and as groups, we ought
to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices that would enable us to
manage our differences better and turn them into a positive rather than
a negative force. Governments at different levels ought to lead the way.
6. We need to have the courage to admit that there is a lot wrong with
our nation. It is our patriotic duty to point this out, with all objectivity
and sincerity. The rule of law has too often been disregarded, giving way
to widespread impunity, leading to a progressive break down of good
order. There is a wide consensus that even the laws and rules we have
made for ourselves are often the cause of our problems. No wonder there
is an on-going clamour for constitution review,
restructuring, decentralization of the security agencies and calls for
many changes to many things we have been taking for granted.
Examples include issues surrounding national census, constituency
delimitations, states and the nagging issue of Local Government
autonomy, violence and lack of internal democracy in political parties, a
weak and compromised National Assembly, the Amendment of
the Electoral Act etc. In these matters, the nation is not lacking in many
good and brilliant ideas. What has been lacking has been the political will
to embrace the change that is necessary for building a better nation.
7. We note the changes in the Command of the Service Chiefs. They are
insiders and should be familiar with the problems of the insurgency and
banditry. It is our prayer that we will witness a more co-ordinated
strategy with State Governments and other security agencies for winning
this sad war.
8. In conclusion, we wish to remind our countrymen and women that
there are some basic values and principles that we need to uphold if the
Nigeria project is to be successful. These include mutual respect for and
acceptance of our diversities, a deep sense of justice for every person,
equity, solidarity and inclusiveness. In addition, we must be ready for
sincere dialogue, in the true sense of the word, as it was once defined
by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, who is a renowned expert in
dialogue: “You talk, I listen. I talk, you listen.” On the one hand, there
should be a dialogue between the people and the government.
Government has the duty to create room for such dialogue, with groups
and with individuals. It means being open and receptive to criticism. On
the other hand, we the people need to dialogue with one another across
our various lines of diversities and identities. In particular, ethnic and
religious groups need to find a way to put their heads together to deal
with our common challenges.
9. We note with deep sorrow, the events that have occurred in Niger
State. These developments still expose our collective vulnerability. There
is an urgent need for a clear strategy between the federal security
agencies and the state governments to end the tragedy that we face. In
addition, we propose the need for a formal meeting of statesmen and
women across the board for us to think through the challenges that seem
poised to push us into the abyss.
10. We pray, and we call on all to pray and work for the achievement of
one Nigeria under God where the principle of the common good will be
thought out and enshrined. We submit ourselves to the directives of God
the Almighty Father to fill us with the wisdom and courage to pull back
from this brink of collapse. Amen.
President - Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akubeze 
Secretary - Most Rev. Camillus Raymond Umoh
Archbishop of Benin-City Bishop of Ikot Ekpene