Easter in Nigeria: More than 700 baptized, as Violence Against Christians Increases

More than 700 Christians were baptized on Easter Sunday in Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Katsina, where there is a rise in attacks mainly targeting Christian communities.

Newsroom (09/04/2024 13:50, Gaudium Press)  In an April 3 interview Bishop Gerald Mamman Musa rejoiced at the successful celebration of Easter — the diocese’s first. The Diocese of Katsina was just erected by Pope Francis in October 2023.

“It was a very great celebration as we had priests gathered in the cathedral for that celebration for the first time,” the 53-year-old bishop said.

“Despite the insecurity challenges we face as a diocese, we had over 700 people who were baptized and received holy Communion. That is an incredible number,” Musa said.

“This tells us that in little ways, God is at work. Even in places that are remote, even in places that you think are having a Christian minority, God is at work,” the bishop said. “And we thank God for the harvest that we have. Harvest in terms of the increasing number of members that we have.”

“We believe that with time, we will have a greater number of people who are converting to the faith, a greater number of people who are going to be baptized. We believe that we’ll have a greater number of people who will be more committed to their faith,” Musa told ACI Africa.

He continued: “The challenge we’re having, which affects evangelization, is the challenge of insecurity.”

The bishop noted that in the southern part of the state thousands of people had already been displaced by those he described as “bandits.”

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He said that during the Lenten season, he visited 45 families who were displaced from local governments in Katsina state. “And they are not just the only ones,” Musa said. “There are about 300 communities that have been displaced.”

“This affects the work of evangelization because these people have a church. They had to vacate the church to go somewhere else and live,” he said. “They want to go back to their homeland, but it is difficult because the insecurity challenge is still there.”

Musa is still hopeful that his diocese will continue to sustain new converts who have embraced the faith.

“We want to develop a system whereby those who are converted to the faith, as well as those who are in the faith, will have a good formation. And we want to develop long-term formation,” he said.

“Formation does not end only with catechism that prepares us for holy Communion. Formation does not only end with catechism when we are preparing for baptism. But faith formation should last throughout life so that our people continue to grow in the faith,” he said.

  • Raju Hasmukh with files from CNA

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