The brutal and senseless attack at St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria yesterday is another in a growing number of attacks on Christians in Nigeria. Yesterday’s attack was especially horrific, as at least 50 worshippers were slaughtered merely for gathering to celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost, traditionally recognized as the “birthday of the Church.”
We pray for the repose of the souls of those who lost their lives in this attack, and for the comfort of all who mourn for them; our prayers are all the more fervent as we recall that the Bishop of the Diocese of Ondo, Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade, served as a beloved pastor here in the Archdiocese of New York before returning to his native Nigeria to serve as Bishop.
At the same time, we call on the world community, including the United States, to take notice of this rising tide of anti-Catholic and anti-Christian attacks taking place in Nigeria, and work to restore protection for the fundamental right of religious liberty wherever and whenever it is threatened.
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