Pope Francis repeated his frequent prayers and plea for peace in Nigeria on April 29, 2018. His comments came after praying the Regina Coeli with crowds of the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.
“Last week the Christian community of Nigeria was stricken again with the killing of a group of faithful, among whom were two priests,” the Holy Father said. “We entrust these brothers to the God of mercy, that he may help those very tried communities to rediscover concord and peace.”
Two Catholic priests were among the victims of an April 24, 2018, attack on parishioners at St. Ignatius Parish in Ayar-Mbalom, a community in the Gwer East local government area of Benue State.
A local source told ZENIT the murdered priests were are Fr. Joseph Gor and Fr. Felix Tyolaha. The source said as many as 20 may have died in the attack during Mass at the church. The attackers are believed to be Fulani herdsmen and be part of an ongoing reign of terror by Muslim extremists against Christians.
Nigeria’s Catholic bishops met with Pope Francis on April 26, 2018, in their periodic “ad Limina” visit.
“The government apparatus is completely, as it seems to us, helpless, dysfunctional or deliberately helpless and deliberately dysfunctional,” said Bishop William Avenya on behalf of the other Bishops present, as quoted in Vatican News.
“The world is not hearing us. It started like this in Rwanda; the world did not hear. It started like this many years back in Germany. The world was deaf. This is what is happening to us, and the world needs to know that we are in trouble!”
The Holy Father has repeatedly appealed for an end to violence in Nigeria, which has both large Catholic and Muslim populations. ZENIT recently published a young teenager’s account of the violence facing the nation.