The Catholic Bishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, has directed all Priests in the Archdiocese to celebrate at least one Mass daily “for the return of peace to our land, for the repose of the souls of the young ones who have died during these protests and the consolation of their families.”
This should be done for the next nine days beginning from Friday, October 23, to Saturday, October 31, he said.
In a circular issued on Thursday, the Archbishop lamented that the country was at a crossroads and slowly descending into anarchy.
He again lamented the killing of young Nigerians who were demanding a change in how things were done in country and expressed the hope that the Federal Government would need the call of the United Nations and investigate “how the command could be given and who gave the command that live bullets should be used on unarmed and peaceful protesters. This is necessary so that people would show more responsibility in carrying out their duties.”
The Bishop had earlier condemned the killing of the #EndSARS protesters by soldiers on Tuesday, October 20.
In the circular addressed to all Priests, Religious working in the Archdiocese as well as lay faithful, Martins urged each faithful to say the Prayer for Nigeria in Distress after the Angelus.
“Families and individuals should pray the Rosary after which they should say the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel seeking his protection from all evil in these difficult days,” the Bishop further directed.
Read the full text of the circular below.
*To all Priests, Religious working in the Archdiocese of Lagos and the Lay faithful.*
Dear Msgri. /Frs., Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
*IT SHALL BE WELL WITH OUR COUNTRY*
The last few weeks have been filled with mixed emotions. There was general outrage at the way young people were being treated by the SARS in particular but also other security agencies. We expressed our outrage at these happenings in several fora and even through Press Releases. At a time, with the protests well-organized and coordinated by the youths, we dared to hope that the much-desired change in the way we do things in Nigeria would happen. We had hoped that we would see a change from the police to the politicians, to civil servants, government officials, the contractors and indeed, all sectors of the life of the country.
All that hope was put on hold when government decided to unleash the army on the unarmed and peaceful protesters who were calling for a legitimate change that would guarantee their future as well as give us a country that we can be proud of. We had warned in a Press Release before then that Dialogue and not force, is the way out of the morass. Now, many young people have been killed and many more injured. We hope that government would heed the call of the UN and investigate how the command could be given and who gave the command that live bullets should be used on unarmed and peaceful protesters. This is necessary so that people would show more responsibility in carrying out their duties. We did lend our voice to condemning the dastardly act of shooting at the young people in our tweets @lag_archdiocese that morning.
As it is, we are at a crossroad and it would seem that we are gradually descending into a state of anarchy, the kind that we had been praying against. We have people who are taking advantage of the situation to burn government properties and vandalize peoples’ homes and properties. We take this opportunity to appeal to those among the youths who are going about wreaking this havoc that as much as their anger and frustration is understandable, acts of violence, vandalism and destruction would only turn an otherwise noble objective into a problem for everyone. If Nigeria would be better for all, there must be a focus on the objectives of the #EndSars movement and never allowing any action that would undermine its purpose.
I urge all the faithful, brothers and sisters, to go down on our knees in prayers for our country. These are really difficult but defining moments for us and so we need to pray the Rosary more fervently than before, say the Prayer for Nigeria in Distress and the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. These are some of the Treasures of the Church by which we seek the intervention of heaven in our moments of difficulty.
We therefore direct as follows:
1. For the next nine days (23rd October, 2020 – 31st October, 2020), each priest is to celebrate at least one Mass a day for the return of peace to our land, for the repose of the souls of the young ones who have died during these protests and the consolation of their families.
2. After the Angelus, each faithful should say the Prayer for Nigeria in Distress.
3. Families and individuals should pray the Rosary after which they should say the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel seeking his protection from all evil in these difficult days.
We encourage Priests in their Parishes, the Religious in their Convents and institutions and all the faithful in their homes to be security conscious and do what they can to keep safe in these challenging times.
We are assured of the presence of God with us and we know that all things shall work together unto good for all us who love God. Our country has always been blessed, we believe that the grace and glory of the Lord shall not depart from our country. God bless you all.
+Alfred Adewale Martins Archbishop of Lagos
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