The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev Alfred Adewale Martins, has advised Nigerians not to lose hope in the face of insecurity that has bedeviled the country.
He also urged priests to sensitize people letting them know that though there are good and bad times, but bad times does not last for ever
He stated this at this year’s Chrism mass which took place at Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos. “This time is very depressing in many ways. Insecurity is very much with us with the sense of almost in despondency that is coming, when you see soldiers been attacked in what supposed to be their own safe area. When you see railways, roads and airports been under siege. Then naturally, it is a very depressing time. And this is a time that priests are called, first of all to help people to know that there are bad times and good times, but bad times will not be forever. Therefore, we must not lose hope, rather we must storm the heavens with prayers”.
He further asked priests to also encourage the people to rise up to their needs to ensure that government does what they needs to do for their welfare. “They need to sensitive people to express whatever their challenges are, not in a violent way, but in a way to make government to pay attention to them”.
The Arch Bishop stated that the joy of a priest include sensitising people to that level of awareness and of making the required call for the change that is needed, and of course lead them in prayers because there is much more that prayer can do that we can never imagine”.
Reacting to the call made by some individuals encouraging people to take up arms based on the insecurity in the country, the Arch Bishop said, “It is not the job of the church to ask people to take up arms, but it is the job of the church to let people recognize that their life is precious, and if their life is precious, it is necessary for them to protect their lives and property. In other words, citizens should not in any way be aggressors towards other citizens. Citizens must not take up arms or violence against other citizens, but as it does happen these days, we hear of bandits going to villages, killing people. We hear of kidnappers. Every life is valuable- the life of the aggressor and those being attacked. So everyone needs to protect his life to the best of his ability”.
He advised leaders not to put on hold governance as a result of electioneering activities, and urged politicians that even though they are supposed to go about their different activities, they should also ensure that governance does not suffer.
He addded that in pursuing their electioneering campaign activities, let them be able to tell people the truth about situation of things. “There is no need to paper over things. Rather, tell them know they intend to make the difference the people are looking for, because I believe that the days should be gone when politicians should make blanket promises. From the very moment they are making it, you know that they do not even have an idea of what they intend to do. So our people need to interrogate politicians on how they intend to take care of the needs of our people so that no one will be taken for a ride anymore”..
In his homily, Rev Father Macjoe Akpan of St Flavius Catholic Church, Oworonshoki, Lagos, stated that Chrism Mass also referred to as Maundy Thursday, commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “It calls to mind Jesus parting gift to His disciples where he blessed the wine and asked the them to drink and celebrate Him”.
He added that the manifestation of the priests’ communion with their bishop or archbishop, the renewal of priestly commitments and the blessing and consecration of sacred oils, are the hallmark of this celebration.