Pope charges Nigeria on religious tolerance

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The Catholic pontiff, Pope Francis has urged Nigerians to love one another and be religious tolerance irrespective of tribe and religious affiliation.

The Pope who was represented by the Apostolic Nunciature to Nigeria, Antonio Guido Fillipazzi said this in Nsukka on Thursday during a church service to dedicate the newly built St. Theresa’s Catholic cathedral Nsukka, in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.

According to him, “religious tolerance is one of the factors that enhance peace, economic growth and development in a developing country like Nigeria.

“Nigeria should not allow religious differences to bring crisis and disunity among the people as development can only happen in a place where there is unity among all religions group
and ethnicity,” he said.

Daily Sun gathered that the St. Theresa’s Catholic cathedral overseas Catholic parishes and deaneries in Nsukka Social Cultural zone comprising of seven local governments; Nsukka, Igbo-Eze North, Igbo-Eze South, Udenu, Uzo-Uwani, Isi-Uzo and Igbo-Etiti local governments.

It started in 1932 as Nsukka Catholic Parish, became diocese in 1990, currently with197 Parishes and 13 Deanarie.

Francis Okobo the bishop emeritus of the Diocese who was consecrated the First Bishop of the Nsukka Catholic Diocese on 6 January 1991 at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome and installed on 2 February 1991 started, he started the cathedral building immediately.

Okobo reigned until 13 April 2013 when Pope Francis appointed Godfrey Igwebuike Onah as the second bishop of Nsukka Diocese, how took over the the cathedral and finishes the building.

Bishop Onah in a homily during the dedication church service said that 19th November every year will be the anniversary of the cathedral.

He thanked his predecessor and Bishop emeritus of the diocese Francis Okobo who he nicknamed “Oluebube” which means miracle, adding that God preserved him to enable him to see the completion and dedication of the cathedral building.

He thanked those who contributed in the building of the cathedral he said that, “God will reward you all for your financial and moral support for the building of the cathedral.”

“This cathedral is not build by Catholics and Christians alone even Muslims contributed, some of them are here present today.

“my prayer is that God should bless all and sundry who contributed in cash or kind towards making this cathedral project a reality,” he said.

Onah however, reminded Christians in Nsukka diocese that building a cathedral for God was good but the most important was housing Jesus Christ in their heart by doing God’s will all the days of their love life.

In a remark the president of Bishops conference of Nigeria, Bishops

He reflected on the restiveness in the country, covid-19 pandemic and the yellow fever currently ravaging some areas in Enugu and other states, noting that “the dedication of the cathedral will usher in new hope, blessings and healing to the people.”

Some of the dignitaries who attended the occasion includes; Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, Hon. Edward Ubosi, speak Enugu state House of Assembly, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, former governor of Enugu State, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial District in the National Assembly among others.

The highpoint of the occasion was the handing over of the cathedral keys by Mr Innocent Diyoko who is the chairman of the cathedral building committee to Bishop Onah, who in turn handed it over to the cathedral administrator Monsignor Eugene Odoh and the signing of the certificate of the dedication of the cathedral.

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One thought on “Pope charges Nigeria on religious tolerance

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