By Abiemwense Moru
Bishop Ignatius Kaigama of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese has advised Nigerians to keep voting on election days and never be tired or discouraged from doing do.
“Nigerians must remain upbeat; we must keep hope alive. Those developing apathy in view of political developments and insecurity must remain upbeat.
“Millions of unemployed youth and students languishing at home due to ASUU strike must keep hope alive. Nigerians should not get tired of registering to vote again and again. Things will work better someday,” he said in a Homily at the Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Mugadishu Cantonment, Abuja.
He said that the current challenges would be over as God only wanted to teach Nigerians to keep trying and never give up, “even when we experience frustration and tiredness”.
He also spoke on the Workers’ Day and emphasised the dignity of labour.
“I pray to the Lord to bless the work of our hands; we urge the government to be more committed to creating job opportunities for the youths who do not have to know influential persons to get jobs,” he said.
He said it was embarrassing that those employed have to always resort to strikes to push home their demands.
“Government should always sit in meaningful dialogue with Labour Unions, because repeated strikes such as by ASUU and other labour groups do a lot of damage to our educational system and economy.”
He expressed regrets that some cynical social media commentators had declared that they were tired of praying with no results.
“I insist that since we are not tired of eating, breathing, washing ourselves, etc., we should not be tired of praying for our safety, welfare and progress.
“Prayer is what we have to offer for those right now in the hands of terrorists in the bush, and we pray also that God will inspire the concerned authorities to provide all that is required for our security men to fight those crimes that bring so much pain and agony to families and individuals.
“While acknowledging that God is our security, we must all be security conscious. We invoke the Holy Spirit to help us to continue to be resilient and to bear witness to the risen Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever,” he said.
He expressed happiness that he had been invited to administer the sacrament of confirmation to 330 candidates and to witness the marriage of nine couples.
“When your chaplain, Fr. Martin Dogo, enthusiastically invited me, I believe he wanted me to come and bless his people, to seek God’s protection, especially for members of your families in the military service, sometimes on dangerous assignments or in very dangerous areas.
“We shall also be seeking God’s mercy on those who had to pay the supreme sacrifice in the service of our nation.
“In these challenging times, it is only appropriate that we ask almighty God to take first place in our lives; we must trust and obey Him and allow Him lead the way instead of us thinking we should lead Him and dictate to Him.
“The confirmation taking place here makes the 374 members of this chaplaincy soldiers of Christ. You no doubt understand well what a soldier’s duty is, and the discipline, integrity, professionalism required of a soldier.
“Those to be confirmed are called ‘soldiers’ because they are expected to be rooted in faith, vibrant in practice of the faith and to meticulously ensure the preservation of the doctrines and traditions of the Catholic Church.
“They must be seen to be observing the commandments of God, promoting social order, fraternal harmony and the welfare of neighbours.
“Their weapons are not the guns and bombs the conventional soldiers use, but the weapon of prayer, the armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10–17, where St. Paul urged the Ephesians to clothe themselves with the breastplate of justice, take up the shield of faith, take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God).
“By their confirmation, they are, so to speak, moving from the status of non-commissioned officers to commissioned officers. In the faith, they are no longer neophytes or new born Christians.
“They are now mature enough to promote the good of the Church; protect the interests and welfare of the Church; defend the values of the Church; obey God and the Church as soldiers obey military directives with unquestioning obedience.
“They must attend Mass on Sundays and feasts of obligation; go to confession regularly; receive Communion often; observe faithfully the 10 Commandments, and participate in the sacraments with utmost attention and frequency.” (NAN)