Abuja, 20 September, 2022 / 10:20 am (ACI Africa).
The electioneering period in Nigeria is going to be “very challenging”, the Catholic Archbishop of the country’s Abuja Archdiocese has said.
Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama who was preaching during Holy Mass on Sunday, September 18 at Holy Family Life Camp Parish of his Metropolitan See called for prayers ahead of the 2023 general elections in the West African nation.
“We need to intensify our prayers as the signs seem to indicate that the period before, during and after the 2023 elections will be very challenging,” Archbishop Kaigama said.
The need for such prayers, he further said, “is so urgent especially for those in political authority in Nigeria, so that they may eschew corruption, social injustice, greed and oppression of the poor.”
Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel Reading from St. Luke in which the Lord cautions against love of money at the expense of God, Archbishop Kaigama said, “Jesus highlights the fact that money and material things do not last forever, and therefore advises on how to make use of money and political authority without losing sight of eternity.”
The Nigerian Archbishop who led the congregation at Holy Family Life Camp Parish in celebrating the “donation” of a native of Nigeria’s Edo State in a Secular Institute explained his decision to preach about the role of the baptized in “enriching the life of the Church”.
He said, “This special ceremony of the donation of Christiana Erumiseli in the Institute of Caritas Christi, an approved Secular Institute by The Sacred Congregation of Religious and Secular Institutes, has prompted me to focus my homily today on how we, the baptized, can exercise our priestly, prophetic and kingly mission fruitfully, thus, enriching the life of the Church and bringing about the salvation of souls.”
“Christiana is a lay woman, gainfully employed in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Abuja,” the Archbishop said about the holder of a B.Sc in Economics who, he also said, “has served as a part-time catechist for over ten years in Holy Family parish, Abuja”.
Archbishop Kaigama added in reference to Christiana, “She has chosen to remain unmarried, and has offered herself, her talents, time and resources to serve God, to love Him and to make Him loved.” He lauded Christiana for her decision in life and for being “a good example” to emulate. He said, “This is a good example, namely, that we can serve God in different ways: as priests, religious, married people or living a single life with great dedication and devotion to God.”
Caritas Christi admitted Christiana in the Institute to begin her formation in 2012. Archbishop Kaigama said during the September 18 event, adding, “She was officially received in 2014 and made her first commitment in 2017 and has renewed her commitment for four consecutive years before this donation.”
The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese who started his Episcopal Ministry in Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese in April 1995 recalled the “different forms of consecrated life and religious families (that) have come into existence” over generations, and highlighted Eremitic Life, Consecrated Virgins, Religious Life, Societies of Apostolic Life, and Secular Institutes.
He described a secular Institute as “an institute of consecrated life in which a member living in the world strives for the perfection of charity and works for the sanctification of the world especially from within.”
“Jesus needs you and me, young or old, single or married, priest or lay,” the 64-year-old Catholic Archbishop who has been at the helm of the Archdiocese since November 2019 said.
“In Caritas Christi, Women live dedicated consecrated Lives, but in the World,” he said, and added, “The members of Caritas Christi are reminding us today of our obligation to live holy and productive lives even in the midst of our noisy, violent and corrupt world.”
“They teach us that there is dignity in being single or unmarried,” he continued in reference to Caritas Christi, adding that “Marriage is a vocation and not all are called to the vocation of marriage or priesthood or religious life.”
Archbishop Kaigama further said, “We are all called to holiness as we do our daily work and live our family life; to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet; to be prayerful and honest wherever we find ourselves.”
He congratulated Christiana for giving herself to the service of the Church, and added, “I hope we shall get many more like you, ready to donate happily to Jesus their time and resources and indeed, their whole being.”