Absence of Sense of Mission a Great Challenge to Church in Nigeria, Archbishop Says
Catholic News Service of Nigeria (CNSN) || 13 January 2017
The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev Mathew Man’Oso Ndagoso has identified lack of proper sense of mission, lack of serious missionary commitment and missionary creativity among priests and religious as the greatest challenge facing the Nigerian church today
The Archbishop made this observation in his homily at the Centenary Ground of Shendam Diocese during the celebration of the Episcopal ordination and installation Mass of Most Reverend Philip Davou Dung as the Second Catholic Bishop of the diocese of Shendam.
“In my considered opinion shaped by over 30 years of experience in a priestly ministry in this part of the world, one of the serious deficiencies I have observed among us priests and religious is a lack of proper sense of mission, a lack of serious missionary commitment and a lack of missionary creativity. And this lack is often exhibited by the absence of proper pastoral planning and non-implementation of such plans where they exist;” he said.
According to him, the virus that has infected many religious workers today is that of complacency, lethargy and non-challant attitude.
He continued: “Many in our generation seem to have been infected with the deadly virus of complacency, lethargy and nonchalance. We like to bask in the euphoria of our being the first and well established Roman Catholic Church founded on Peter the Rock with no sense of urgency to proclaim the gospel. Before our very own eyes we see wolves in sheep’s clothing poaching and devouring our sheep without any serious concern except that of assuring and reassuring ourselves that when some leave, others will come in on their own because we are, one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”
Archbishop Ndagoso reminded all that “the age of the church waiting for people to come, if ever there was such an age, has come and long gone for good. Ours is the era of the shepherd leaving the ninety-nine sheep and going out in search of the lost one;” He added.
The Archbishop gave a note of warning to the leaders in the church at all levels to avoid the temptation of feeling secure in their well-established church and the feeling of content with the huge attendance at Masses.
He warned: “As one of the established churches in our country we should and must learn some serious lessons from the two earthshaking events of last year, namely, the ‘Brexit’ referendum in the United Kingdom and the Donald Trump victory in the USA general elections.
These two victories have sent, even if dangerous, clear signals of general discontent and displeasure rightly or wrongly, with the establishment to which we all know that we belong as a church.”
The Archbishop added: “We must therefore avoid the temptation of feeling secure in our well established church and rest content with our huge attendance at Masses. You can be sure that the establishments in London and Washington did not see it coming because of the false sense of security …”
Cautioning Catholic faithful to be wary of the activities of people who masquerade themselves ‘as men of God’ but are going about wreaking havoc on many innocent souls in the name of Christianity; the Archbishop declared: “I am sure that there is no one here who needs telling that in our country today, there are too many people masquerading around as ‘men of God’ causing confusion all over the place and in some cases wreaking havoc.”
“Unfortunately, many of our people who are genuinely seeking the face of God are led to believe that these are truly ‘men of God’ only to be fed with ‘concocted’ brand of religion which claim to be Christianity;” he concluded.