Nigerian Archbishop leads CAFOD Mass for Africa

Archbishop Kaigama greets congregation

Archbishop Kaigama greets congregation

The Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Camberwell,  south east London  echoed to the sound of African music last Saturday, during CAFOD's annual Mass for Africa.

The Chief Celebrant was Nigerian Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama,  Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Plateau State,  with Bishop Pat Lynch, Auxiliary Bishop in Southwark, Archbishop  Boniface Lele,of Mombasa, Kenya, Abune Tesfaselassie of Adigrat, Ethiopia, Bishop Daniel Adwok of Khartoum, Sudan and Father David Gibbons, Parish Priest at  Sacred Heart Church.

As the Congregation gathered, they were greeted with the South African song: 'Mayenzewe  ntando yakho,' (May Your Will Be Done), and a Yoruba Song from Nigeria, 'Wa wa wa Emimimo', (O Holy Spirit, Come). 'I Rejoiced', by Bernadette Farrell, was sung at  the Entrance Procession. The Gospel Acclamation was sung in a Zimbabwe language. 

During his homily, Bishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa, Kenya, reflected on  the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Jesus Christ had shown the world that God was a compassionate father, he said.  Slavery, colonialism and Apartheid were evils which men perpetrated against humanity but God wanted a relationship between people and himself such as the relationship of brother-to-brother or sister-to-sister.

He emphasised the fact that Jesus had wanted humanity to know that they were brothers and sisters, adding that when human beings stood before God, the colour of their skin did not matter as Christ had urged them to look for Bread that would last forever and urged them also to rejoice and be glad.

He recalled the assistance given to him in his two Dioceses in Kenya by CAFOD with regards to Aids/HIV and water problems. CAFOD’s aim is to work to end poverty and make a just world.  In over 60 countries, it works along the poor regardless of race or
In 2008, there was a riot in Jos, Plateau State of Nigeria where around 200 people were estimated to have been killed. CAFOD, in its Faith in Future Programme, had sent emergency funds to the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos, to help those affected by the riots.

Before this, the Archdiocese had been helped by the Relief Agency, in its Rural and Urban Development Programme in KWAI, Plateau State, where there was a Water Filtration Programme; storing Rain Water in Catchment Tanks CAFOD had also sent personnel to Ankpakpa and Ankpa where women had been given medical check-ups during pregnancy.

Thomas Anane, leader of the Ghanaian music group, beat African drums and sang in various African dialects as those selected to take the Mass Offerings to the Altar, swayed to the left and right, to the scintillating rhythms of African music as they danced their way down the aisle, to the altar.

In his final blessing, Archbishop Kaigama thanked CAFOD for its assistance to African countries and for making it possible for himself and other African prelates to attend and co-celebrate at the 2009 CAFOD Mass for Africa. He returned to Nigeria that evening.

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