Your help for Christians in Nigeria
Liturgical music performed by the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy
Novices from Our Lady of Fatima Convent, Jos, Nigeria
A church in Bauchi State in desperate need of repair after an attack by extremists
Seminarians from St Augustine’s Major Seminary in Jos in Nigeria's Middle Belt region
Sisters caring for orphans at Hope House in Keduru, southern Nigeria
Youngsters in northern Nigeria taking a break from their Bible study programme
The people of Nigeria have suffered greatly in an upsurge of extremist violence. But your generosity continues to help in strengthening their faith. Here are some of the projects that you have enabled us to support.
Helping the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy
Working in schools, hospitals and orphanages, the Sisters have developed their apostolate across Kwara State in west Nigeria, bringing help and hope to the poor, the elderly, the infirm, and young orphans.
Now the Sisters are celebrating the order’s 50th birthday and, thanks to your generosity, they will be provided with a “pastoral van”. The van will help the Sisters reach out to the most disadvantaged people in some of the remotest regions.
Reverend Mother Mary Casimir Nwadiukwu, the Superior General, writes: “Our mission is to bear witness to the mercy of God in love and fidelity through care of the poor, the aged, the needy. The region is very vast… the roads are very bad. We shall be very grateful if our request is granted.”
Repairing churches damaged in extremist attacks
On Christmas morning 2011 a bomb exploded during mass at St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla. The explosion killed 44 people and 81 others were injured.
In addition to the tragic loss of life and terrible injuries sustained by the faithful, the bishop of Minna said that St Theresa’s was so badly damaged that structural engineers had warned of its imminent collapse.
However, thanks to your kindness, significant funding has already been provided to help rebuilding work. Plans have been drafted to restore the church, as well as the presbytery, school rooms, parish hall and office, which were also badly damaged.
Key to the restoration initiative the creation of a centre for trauma counselling and dialogue; encouraging inter-faith cooperation and joint action on community projects.
And, following urgent pleas from parish communities, your generosity is also helping to repair two other damaged churches in Tafawa Balewa parish, Bauchi state, in northern Nigeria. They are among 12 churches that were targeted in 2011, five of which were repaired and re-roofed by the faithful themselves.
Promoting inter-religious dialogue
Breaking down walls of hatred and suspicion between people of different faiths is a top priority for the Church in Nigeria. In parts of the country, meaningful dialogue is fraught with difficulties but elsewhere greater cooperation can be fostered.
Thanks to you, initiatives promoting inter-faith tolerance, such as workshops encouraging lay faithful to develop mutual respect with other religious groups, are now underway.
Backing the scheme, Bishop Gabriel Abegunrin of Osogbo, explained: “In our region, multi-religious groups live relatively peacefully with one another. We wish to sustain this union, so that course participants learn the skills needed for interreligious dialogue and can understand the Church’s teaching on this issue.”
A Bible study programme for young Christians
In Oyo diocese, Nigeria, more than 400 young Christians – 15 from each parish – have spent their weekends focusing on the Bible with lectures, discussions, film and drama. The course director Fr Michael Oyedare said it has helped the teenagers “live a life of witness”.
Bishop Emmanuel Ade of Oyo added: “Our faithful have to explain their beliefs in the face of fundamentalist and relativist interpretations of the Bible. We have a real pastoral need. Your generous support is greatly appreciated.”
Training Nigeria’s priests of the future
Nigeria has more than 5,000 seminarians – more than any other country in Africa. Many of them know they will work in the most dangerous parts of the country, where Christians are a target for extremists.
Your generosity is supporting more than 50 seminarians in Jos, Central Belt, where there has been an upsurge of attacks. They wrote to us, saying: “Our personal goal is that we will be solid, happy and joyful priests. This becomes the work of a lifetime.”
Others receiving your help include 98 seminarians of the Missionary Society of St Paul (MSPs) in the capital, Abuja. Key assistance, in the form of books, cassocks, retreats, medical care and transport also goes to those on pastoral placement.