Pray for the Nigerian people!
Several gunmen opened fire on Sun., June 5, 2022 during the Pentecost Sunday Mass at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in the southwestern Nigerian town of Owo in Ondo State, Nigeria.
The suspects also set off explosions and wounded several survivors.
As of this writing, the attackers killed more than 50 people, including women and children. Several reports allege that Islamic terrorists carried out the attack.
In a telegram sent on Pope Francis’ behalf, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Pope Francis condemns the “unspeakable violence” and assured the country of his prayers.
“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific attack at St. Francis Church in Owo, and he assures you and all those affected by this act of unspeakable violence of his spiritual closeness.”
Religious freedom expert and human rights lawyer Nina Shea told Catholic News Agency that attacks on northern Nigeria became common in recent years, while the southwestern area remained peaceful.
“This massacre in a church while filled with Sunday worshippers is an atrocity that we’ve repeatedly seen in northern Nigeria over the years. Those were the work of Islamist extremists,” Shea said.
Here’s a news report about the attack: (warning – some graphic images)
The Catholic Diocese of Ondo released a response to the attack.
Diocesan Director of Social Communications Rev. Fr. Augustine IKWU said “security agencies have been deployed to the community to relatively handle the situation,” adding that the bishop requests that they remain calm, abide by the laws, and pray for peace.
“We need God’s ultimate intervention to restore peace and tranquillity,” the statement says. “We turn to God to console the families of those whose lives were lost in this distressing incident, and we pray for the departed souls to rest in peace.”
Here’s the full press release below:
In a statement on Twitter, Ondo State Governor Arakunrin Akeredolu also said the “vile and satanic attack” “deeply saddened” him.
Here’s the governor’s statement below:
“I am deeply saddened by the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent people of Owo, worshiping at the St. Francis Catholic Church,” he said. “The vile [and] satanic attack is a calculated assault on the peace-loving people of Owo Kingdom who have enjoyed relative peace over the years.”
Here’s some more photos and videos: (warning- graphic content)
VIDEO: Aftermath of gunmen attack on St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo state.
— Voiceofnaija.ng (@voiceofnaijang) June 6, 2022
St. Patrick, please pray for the people of Nigeria!
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