A Seminarian's Journey: Building Bridges of Peace in Nigeria

Nigeria is tragically back in international headlines following the massacre on Christmas Day, which claimed over 200 lives and saw 37 villages razed. This horrific event highlights a decade-long conflict that continues to tear the country apart.

Now more than ever, Nigeria needs to embark on a dialogue process to forge new pathways toward peace. This need is echoed by Pope Francis, who addressed the severity of the situation in his Angelus on the 31st of December.

Pope Francis decried that "unfortunately, the celebration of Christmas in Nigeria was marked by serious violence and many victims."

Assuring his prayers for the affected and their families: "May God free Nigeria from these atrocities!"

Following the Angelus, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, Nigeria, expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for highlighting the ongoing insecurity crisis and called for a concrete response.

"We thank the Holy Father for bringing it to the attention of the international community," said Cardinal Onaiyekan.

The current situation is complex and is the result of years of tensions between different ethnic groups, encompassing issues linked to food insecurity and poverty, contributing to the general instability.

Committed to the ongoing support of the Nigerian people and the development of future Church leaders, Catholic Mission is dedicated to assisting seminarians on their path to priesthood. These future priests are envisioned to be pillars within their communities, embodying and spreading the "Gospel values of justice, peace, and love," which Cardinal Onaiyekan emphasises as crucial for peacebuilding in Nigeria.

“Now, especially, [the] church has to work enormously to make sure there is peace between many ethnic groups,” says Isaac, a Nigerian seminarian supported by the work of Catholic Mission who knows all too well the consequences of conflict.

Having lost his three brothers over a land dispute, he hopes that as a future priest, that he will be able to create a dialogue between communities and bring peace to his country.

Support seminarians and help bring peace

Social tensions arise from overpopulation, land grabs, poverty, and resource scarcity leading to conflict. Seminarians, like Isaac, are dedicated to building peace in their community.

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