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May 26, 2018

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has called on Christians in the country to remain steadfast and stand up for their faith, even in the midst of challenges and tribulations. He made the admonition in his homily at the celebration of the Holy Mass for this year’s  Feast of the Pentecost, held at the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria  Pro-Cathedral, Abuja, last Sunday.
Cardinal Onaiyekan also used the occasion to call for attitudinal change on the part of the country’s political leaders and serve the country for the common good of the people, irrespective of their differences. He noted that those who are comfortable or in position of power and comfort, should use their resources to help the poor and the needy.
Speaking against the background of the claim by Christians that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is promoting a covert agenda of Islamizing the country and enthrone a jihadist regime, Cardinal Onaiyekan challenged Christians to stand up for their faith and stop complaining  about the perceived concept of making the country an Islamic state.
His words: “Stand up for your faith and stop complaining about Islamization of Nigeria.” Using Leah Sharibu, the Dapchi school girl still in the hands of the terrorists, for refusing to denounce her faith, the Cardinal added: “We should learn to up to our faith by telling whoever wants us to change  that, whatever you want to do; go ahead and do; but I am not going to change.”
The Metropolitan of Abuja Ecclesiastical Province noted that, most of the time, we may be tempted to compromise our faith in the midst of our normal working experiences; in our offices, businesses, relationships or communities. He added that these are the places where we are expected to up to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and witness to the truth of the gospel in words and deeds.
The cardinal stated: “Half of our population in Nigeria are Christians and the other half are Muslims. We should continue to pray to God to send the Holy Spirit to renew the face of our nation; so that, jointly we can establish the good government God intends for us. He added: “In all, the need for forgiveness is urgent in our nation, The more wicked people have hurt us, the more we should have a spirit of forgiveness. The most natural reaction when we are hurt or hit is to hurt or hit back; but this not what Jesus has taught us.”
Cardinal Onaiyekan gave a historical background of the feast of the Pentecost, dating back to the time of the Jewish people when it was celebrated 50 days after the Feast of the Passover; and eventually became the a celebration by Christians, 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ from the dead and the eventual birth of the Church; at which the apostles were empowered by the Holy Spirit to reach-out with the Good News of the Gospel.

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