40 faithful in the Pentecost Sunday massacre in the Catholic  Diocese of Ondo in Nigeria have been laid to rest in a solemn ceremony.

Clarence Peters, an AGNUS-DEI MEDIA correspondent in the Ondo Diocese, reports that the mass was attended by the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, Monsignors, Rev. Fathers, Religious, Traditional Rulers, particularly the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, the families and relatives of the deceased and other victims of the tragedy, as well.

It would be recalled that on June 5, some unknown gunmen launched an attack on the faithful killing scores of persons and injuring many, a situation that has left an indelible mark on the church and the entire country.

The killing left about 40 persons dead and many others injured and who are still undergoing treatment in the various hospitals in the country area.

The episode thrust the Catholic Church in Owo, the Catholic Diocese of Ondo, and the Nigerian state of Ondo into the international spotlight, but for all the wrong reasons. Since then, the entire world has condemned the atrocity against mankind and God committed in this country.

Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Bishop of the Catholic diocese of Oyo in his homily  exhorted the faithful to keep their faith and christ noting that “despite this, the People of God would never be defeated by this coward act of the evil perpetrators.”

He stressed that although it was a worrying situation for the church, it should be however be regarded as “a corporal work or of mercy and an assurance that nothing separates us from the Christ and to show that alive or dead we belong to God.”

He said the church had seen tragedies in the country, but the recent slaughter would leave lifelong scars in the hearts of the Catholic people in the country.

“We have seen tragedies in Nigeria and we have seen brutal murders but few can really compare with the brutality and gruesomeness of the event on that Pentecost Sunday. On a visit to the Church with innocent blood still spattered on the floor and walls of the sanctuary I could almost hear the victims as they were attacked right inside the Church, cry out like Jesus Christ,  “Eloi Eloi lama sabachtani: My God, My God why have you forsaken me”?  May that desecration of the sanctuary, the desecration of the body of Christ and that crime  against humanity expressed in their lament not go unpunished. “Eloi, Eloi lama Sabachtani,” he bemoaned.

He went on to say that none of the dead or injured had done anything wrong but come to worship God at the foot of the cross and altar on that particular day, but that they had met an untimely death.

“Sudden death was inflicted upon them and deep sorrow upon their dear ones left behind. These dear ones died  right at the foot of the cross.”

The Bishop urged the faithful to be committed to Christ and serve conscientiously, hoping for a reposeful reward.

“Trials of every sort come to us but we are not discouraged. We are perplexed but do not despair, persecuted but not abandoned, knocked down but not crushed” We carry everywhere in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body,” he stressed.

He added ” difficult though it is, let us choose more to give thanks to God that he gave our departed brethren the life, the faith and the privilege of belonging to him and of returning to him even in this incomprehensible manner.  Let the words of the first reading give you some  comfort. “


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By Edith Mensah

Edith Mensah is a trained journalist who believes in delivering up to the mark contents and has utmost regard for ethical standards. Kindly get in touch via email- [email protected] +233202152290