Christians across denominations have been called upon to stand up and speak with one voice in order to halt the ongoing bloodletting of Nigerians, especially Christians in the country.
At the Catholic Church of the Ascension, Asaba, Delta State, where faithful were adorned in black attires to mourn, the priest, Rev. Fr. Donatus Chukwuedo, lamented the gradual miscegenation of Christians across the country by terrorists without checks.
The occasion was the commencement of the Lenten period on Wednesday morning at Catholic Churches all over the world.
Rev. Fr. Chukwuedo said Christians were mourning the unabated killings of innocent Nigerians by members of Boko Haram.
He called on Catholics to be prayerful and accommodate other Christians, noting that with a united church, the issue of persecution would be bygone
“We begin the Lenten season with fasting, prayers, and almsgiving and above having pains in our hearts for our sins, we must repent. This is the best time to repent.
“The ashes should be a reminder of our nothingness before God, acknowledging our frailty, looking up to God for His intervention.
“We are crying, we are mourning, we are tired and sick of the killings going on in our country and putting on black clothes on a significant day as this is our own way of calling on God to save us and we are mourning with the families of those who lost dear ones.
“These are killers, deriving joy in spilling human blood; whenever they kill, they cheer themselves; Christianity is under threat; Christians should be united to fight the common enemy, we should stop fighting ourselves.
“As Catholics, we should practice Catholicism by our actions, showing love to all.
“Catholic is the mother church and every other Christian is free to attend the activities of the Catholic Church; Pentecostals are free to attend the stations of the cross because, if Christians should stand up and speak with one voice, these killings will stop.
“The love for money is affecting the truth of the gospel and many are founding churches without considering the need to be united as children of God.
“No religion should be preaching and celebrating violence, killing and promising rewards for those who kill the innocents.
“If members of Boko Haram do not repent, God will send them to the pit of hell, they should repent and those who say that they are our leaders should make practical efforts to stop the killing, terrorism; no one should derive joy in the suffering of others.
“How can you shut down where food is coming from and open the borders to those who are coming to kill and maim? Who are the bandits?
“Who are the faceless people that are attacking us? Where are they coming from? What is their mission?
“We ask God to heal us, we ask God to save us through Christ our Lord. Amen,” he prayed.
The priest expressed as sad the unabated killings and shedding of innocent blood as well as the seeming compromise and lethargy of those in authority, praying God to intervene in the affairs of the country.
This year’s Ash Wednesday across the state was very solemn, the hymns rendered amid tears were those for funerals during the mass which featured the symbolic rubbing of ash on the foreheads of the Catholics.