EXCERPTS FROM THE HOMILY BY ARCHBISHOP KAIGAMA DURING THE SILVER JUBILEE MASS OF THE RELIGIOUS PROFESSION OF SR. CHRISTIANA THOMAS HALIRU, FMDM, AND SR. ROGITA BONAVENTURE, FMDM, AT ST. MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH, YOLA, 19th OCTOBER, 2018.
I believe that some of what contemporary Nigeria and indeed the contemporary world needs urgently are, thanks to God, being promoted by the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM).
Our world today is prone to crises, conflicts and is afflicted by poverty and hunger; it is suffering decaying moral values and even outright Godlessness. The attributes of humility, piety and peace of St. Francis of Assisi if practised by us can remedy the situation. No doubt, Francis too was influenced by Mary, the Mother of Jesus who is a great model and inspiration for the Franciscans. She was self-giving, kind, peaceful, and very sensitive to human needs. People with the qualities of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis are the ones we need in our world today more than ever. I urge us to go and be both Mary and Francis.
Why? Our people and communities are ravished by inter and intra ethnic, religious and political conflicts. Fanatics and bigots of religion, ethnicity and politics are prepared to be so inhuman to other human beings as they pursue their narrow selfish interests.
Yola has been a refuge for many internally displaced people. The Bishop of Yola and his people have shown remarkable care for those displaced because of insurgency. Well done Bishop Mamza!
The situation of violence is the same in Borno and Yobe States and Maiduguri has become the headquarters for the struggle against the social delinquents who abduct innocent persons, kill people in their sleep or bomb public places. The abduction of the Chibok girls, the Dapchi girls (Leah Sharibu and others still in captivity) and recently, the killing of two Red Cross female workers, etc are all part of their very ungodly acts. In Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau States, militant herders have caused the deaths of so many. The story is the same in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Zamfara, etc. This new type of violence needs to be urgently and effectively halted by our political and security authorities.
There is urgent need for peace, the type advocated by St. Francis. He prayed God to make him an instrument of peace and at great risk to his life in the midst of the Crusades, he undertook the journey to meet the Sultan of Egypt to plead for peace. Saint Francis and Sultan Malek al-Kamil engaged and shared peacefully and respectfully in 1219, showing that we can also have a genuine encounter of peace between Christians and Muslims today…. But there must be good will and sincerity of purpose.