By Paul Ejime
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama has charged the citizens to draw from Africa’s rich traditional values and the spirit of unity, communal living, and care for one another.
In his Homily during Mass on Sunday at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria (OLQN) Pro-Cathedral, Abuja, the prelate described Africans as very hospitable people and their brother’s/sister’s keepers.
He said Nigeria as the most populous Black nation should lead by example by shunning ethnicity, political intolerance and “religious myopia,” noting that a situation whereby one religion claims superiority over others in the name of fighting for God “is as if God is incapable of defending His own or fighting His battle.”
The cleric also admonished the country’s leaders to “reduce the high cost of governance, break the network of corruption” and pull the country out of “consumerism” to cultivate the “culture of production.
“Our leaders travel abroad to witness systems and institutions that work. Why can’t they replicate at home, the beautiful infrastructure, social amenities, functional hospitals and all the good things,” which they enjoy in foreign countries?” the archbishop asked.
He also harped on the need for national security, so that citizens can move freely and go about their businesses without fear of being kidnapped or killed by bandits.
Archbishop Kaigama further called for the spirit of patriotism, nation-building, and the actualization of Nigeria’s Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace, and Progress, lamenting that this only appears to be on paper.
“We must live out the true meaning and importance of our national Motto,” he admonished.
Turning to the Feast of Trinity Sunday or Holy Trinity, celebrated across Christendom, the Prelate reminded the congregation that the Three Persons in one God “is one of the mysteries that cannot be rationalized or subjected to scientific analysis.”
He noted that from the reverence of His name in various indigenous dialects, Africans knew God even before the arrival of European and Arab Missionaries or colonialism.
Acknowledging that there is no mention of the Holy Trinity in the Bible, the Archbishop, however, explained that Scripture references abound on the significance of the Three Persons in one God, “from signs and symbols (including the Signs of the Cross), and the injunctions of Jesus Christ to His disciples.
He told them: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).
Like the Holy Trinity, another mystery of the Church is marriage, an institution in which two partners (man and woman), in some cases from different backgrounds, cultures and other differences, commit to spending their lives as one flesh until death.
According to many theologians, “The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity,” since “Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names, for there is only one God, the Almighty Father, His only Son and the Holy Spirit.”
In John 14:26, Jesus Christ told his disciples: “When the Helper, the Holy Spirit (the advocate, paraclete or intercessor) whom the Father will send in my name comes, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
Also, John 14:13 says: “When He the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you for He will not speak in His own authority; but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will tell you things to come.”
Archbishop Kaigama prayed for the Holy Trinity to unleash peace, unity, tolerance, harmony, and progress in Nigeria.
He also paid tribute to High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, founder of Nigeria’s first private Radio Station RayPower 100.5 FM, and pioneer Chief Executive of DAAR Communications Plc., owners of the African Independent Television (AIT), who died recently.
Chief Dokpesi was praised for his sustained support of the Church, especially AIT’s daily morning and Sunday broadcasts of the Mass, and for pledging that the gesture would continue as long as AIT remained in existence.
Archbishop Kaigama commiserated with Chief Dokpesi’s family, friends, and professional colleagues, and prayed for the peaceful repose of his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed.