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Messages of hope, religious tolerance on Palm Sunday


A cross section of Catholic faithful marking Palm Sunday in Lagos …yesterday. PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

• Archbishop urges clerics to impact on their society positively
Christians in the country yesterday, joined the rest of the world to mark Palm Sunday. In commemoration of the day, clerics have appealed to Christians to emulate Christ and live in peace with their neighbours.

Palm Sunday is the last Sunday before Easter, the most important and oldest festival of the Christian Church to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

Parish Priest of the Catholic Church of the Archangels, Gadumo Lokoja, Kogi State, Reverend Father Cyril Obanure, said Palm Sunday is a celebration of hope. “It is a celebration of hope. It is a feast that highlights our hope as Christians that death is not the end but life and resurrection. So, there is hope notwithstanding whatever we may be passing through now as individuals and as a nation.”

Also, Reverend Father Philip Jamang, Parish Priest, Church of Assumption Chong’o Pyeng, Jos, has urged those in leadership positions to emulate the sacrificial nature of Jesus Christ.

Jamang spoke in his sermon to mark the Palm Sunday in Jos.

According to him, “if Nigerian leaders could copy a little of Christ’s sacrificial nature, the country would regain its lost glory. God sent his only begotten son into the world to accomplish a mission, and part of this mission is to make the greatest sacrifice of dying for the entire mankind.

“While on earth, his leadership style was purely anchored on sacrifice; he lived for others. If our political and church leaders in Nigerian can make half of the sacrifice Jesus made while on earth, our country will be better place. If they can put aside selfishness, mediocrity, ethnic jingoism, and embrace love and care for others, Nigeria will be the envy of the world,” he said.

Pastor John Ojo of Christ Apostolic Church, Iloro Zonal Headquarters, Ile-Ife, yesterday urged Christians to emulate Christ’s love and sacrificial nature in the service of humanity. He said Christ humbled himself on the cross of Calvary and released himself for sacrifice for the salvation of the world.

He admonished Christians to use the Holy Week for prayers, penance, reflection as well as spiritual works, saying they must also shun all acts of immorality. He also urged them to show love and affection to their neighbours facing difficulties.

Meanwhile, the Primate of Vineyard Christian INC Ministries, Archbishop John Alagbala Adebayo Osa-Oni, has called on clerics to positively impact on their society to help alleviate the hardship occasioned by the recession in the country.

The call was made at the church’s 29th anniversary and consecration of its newly elected bishops, among whom were Bishop Patrice Ragu, Bishop Tunde Akintola, Bishop Bola Babaleye and Bishop Sunday Ajayi.

Osa-Oni, who said the bishops were ordained to drive the mission of the church forward, said they were elected according to the will of God, to impact on their generation and lead people to Christ.

He stressed that the state of the economy was having a negative effect on citizens but as bishops and God’s servants, “it is our responsibility to keep hope alive and inspire self-belief and confidence in God to make a way where there is no way.”

Also clerics at the Saviour’s African Church in Lagos also called on Nigerians to embrace peace and imbibe the exemplary life of Jesus Christ.

Speaking at the occasion, which also marked 100 years anniversary of the church,, Venerable Abiodun Afolabi tasked leaders in the country to remain humble and accountable in all their actions.

Afolabi said: “Our leaders should learn from the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our role model. If you are in any position, you must try as much as possible to be humble.”

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