OWERRI, Nigeria, Nov. 9, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, is currently making a pastoral visit to Nigeria for the centenary of the Evangelization of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri, in south-eastern Africa.
Owerri is the capital of Imo State and in this region, in 1912, the Portuguese missionaries brought the Catholic faith. The Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri includes, in addition to the Archdiocese of Owerri, the suffragan dioceses of Aba, Ahiara, Okigwe, Orlu and Omuahia.
On Wednesday he celebrated a mass of thanksgiving with children and young people. In his
homily he referred to the Gospel (Mt. 11, 25-30), in which Jesus addresses to His Father.
“In this prayer Jesus shows us that we should be thankful to God for the gifts He has given
us and to thank Him because we are meant to be gifts to others,” said Cardinal Filoni.
The Italian prelate urged those present to be close to Jesus and to listen to him as he prays to the Father.
Cardinal Filoni referred to the words of Jesus: “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and
earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and the learned and have revealed
them to little ones.”
“The Lord Jesus is not praising those who do not want to learn anything, those who do
not want to understand what is being taught! He is saying that the deep love of the Father
cannot be known by those who believe that they are wise enough that they do not need
God,” he explained.
“Every time in our lives that we recognize that we need God and that our life is empty without his presence, then we are the little ones for whom Jesus rejoices! Let us with simplicity accept Jesus as our companion in the journey of our life; at school, at home, on the road, letting ourselves participate in this mystery of being ‘little,” he urged.
Cardinal Filoni concluded his homily by giving thanks for the gift of faith proclaimed by missionaries a century ago.