The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi has called on Christians to be living stones, by being in state of grace which reaffirms the divine life in them. The Archbishop made the declaration in his homily at the dedication of the St. Williams Catholic Cathedral in Lafia Diocese, Nasarawa State, noting that: “the Cathedral must remind us that each of us personally is and must always be a living temple in which the Holy Trinity dwells since our Baptism.” “We can respect this presence of God, but we can, unfortunately, also lose it because of the sins we have committed”, the Papal Nuncio exhorted. The Prelate reminded the faithful that it is not enough to have Churches, but it is also necessary to ensure that they are a community and as individuals, the temple where God dwells, where God can be encountered.
The papal representative went further to teach the faithful the meaning of the terms ‘dedication’, ‘church’ and the ‘cathedral’ noting that: “dedication is the rite through which a building, constructed by human beings, is taken away from profane use in order to be reserved by the Church for the worship of God. This means that many of those actions that are part of our daily life can no longer be performed here and, even more so, any indecorous or sinful behaviour should be avoided, precisely because after its dedication, this place belongs only to God and must be used consistently according to its holy destination”, Archbishop Filipazzi warned.
Furthermore, the Italian-born Archbishop, said the Church, is the place where God makes us contemporaries of the Sacrifice of His Son on the Cross, who becomes our nourishment and remains with us in the temple. “But the word ‘Church’ does not only designate a building, built with material stones. As Pope Francis said, each time we celebrate the dedication of a church, an essential truth is recalled: the physical temple made of brick and mortar is a sign of the living Church serving in history”. In explaining the term “ Cathedral”, the Archbishop said “Cathedral is not a church like the others in the diocese. This temple takes its name from the bishop’s seat, and that seat is called “the Cathedra”, meaning chair, because whoever sits there holds the place of Christ himself. He speaks by mandate and in representation of Him, guides with His sacred authority, blesses and administers the Holy Sacraments as His Vicar,” he explained.