By Cian Molloy - 26 November, 2019
“Our brothers and sisters in Nigeria have been facing an ongoing onslaught from extremists wanting to eradicate the Christian Faith.”
As part of this year’s Week of Witness in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world, Nigerian priest Fr Pita Johnson will tell a meeting in Enniscorthy on Thursday morning about how Muslim extremists are trying to eradicate Christianity in parts of his home country.
The event at the Riverside Park Hotel is being organised by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). Fr Pita is in the unenviable position as a priest to have lost colleagues to sectarian violence.
ACN’s national director for Ireland, Dr Michael Kinsella, said: “Our brothers and sisters in Nigeria have been facing an ongoing onslaught from extremists wanting to eradicate the Christian Faith and so we are delighted that Fr Johnson will be giving his testimony about the violence facing those who confess Our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.”
According to ACN, 3,731 Christians were killed in Nigeria in 2018. Most of those killed were victims of the extreme Islamist group Boko Haram, who have radicalised members of the Fulani herder community to attack members of the settled Christian community in a dispute about grazing rights that is fuelled by sectarian differences. Over the last decade, according to ACN, more than 500 Christian churches in Nigeria have been destroyed by Muslim extremists.
The talk by Fr Pita will take place after 10 a.m. Mass in St Aidan’s Cathedral, which, like many prominent church buildings, will be bathed in red spotlighting on Wednesday evening to highlight the plight of persecuted Christians.
Tomorrow is being dubbed “Red Wednesday”, and at Armagh Cathedral tomorrow night Archbishop Eamon Martin is due to celebrate a Red Wednesday liturgy calling for God’s intercession for persecuted Christians.
According to Dr Kinsella: “Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. Our Week of Witness calls for Christians across the island of Ireland to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world.”