The Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have called for special prayers to stop inhuman attacks subsequent to the Church massacre in Owo, Ondo State, where 40 Catholics were gunned down during Mass on Sunday, June 5, 2022. In their statement signed by Most Rev. (Dr.) Gabriel Abegurin, Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, they charged all Nigerians, especially Catholic Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful to a prayer commemoration of the tragic incident and of the departed souls. The statement read in part, “We direct that special prayer and fasting be observed exactly a month after the occurrence on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. We stipulate that the programme of the day should include the following:
• Bible Reading and Reflection (Romans 8:31-39);
• Rosary prayer, where possible in procession;
• The Prayer against Bribery and Corruption in Nigeria ;
• The Prayer for Nigeria in Distress;
• Conclusion with the Holy Mass or Adoration and Benediction. According to the statement, same programme excluding fasting should be replicated to conclude the Special Prayer exercise on the following Sunday, July 10, 2022 coupled with the Bible reading for Sunday reflection (2 Cor. 4:7-11). The Bishops urged all Nigerians to do all they can to bring the country back to the path of justice, peace and the fear of God, stressing the role of prayer. The Statement further read, “This cannot happen without an unflinching commitment for prayer. For “If Yahweh does not build a house, in vain do its builders toil” (Ps. 127:1). We earnestly urge all the faithful in our Ecclesiastical Province therefore to join this prayer crusade for the mercy of God and for the strength for the Church and all the faithful.” The Bishops also encouraged all and sundry to “also participate, prayerfully and actually in the forthcoming National Eucharistic Congress with the theme: “Becoming the Eucharist we celebrate- A call to live as one and to serve the ‘weak’”. It is scheduled to hold in the Archdiocese of Benin from November 11 to 13, 2022. It will be preceded by a National Pastoral Congress at the same venue from November 7 to 11.