“The good Lord has always been on our side. He has seen us through thick and thin. Our faith has been purified through persecution,” says Father Gideon Obasogie of the Diocese of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria, where his faithful are undergoing unrelenting and unspeakable horrors at the hands of the terrorist group Boko Haram.
More than 5,000 Catholic men, women and children in northeast Nigeria have been killed. At least 100,000 have been displaced. The Church is struggling to help 7,000 widows and 10,000 orphans.
In Father Gideon’s diocese alone, 350 churches have been badly attacked. Most dioceses and half of the parish centers are under Boko Haram control. Pope Francis tells us, “Around us there is the presence of evil….But I would like to say in a loud voice: God is stronger!”
This Easter, will you help Father Gideon and other religious respond to the needs of families who are fleeing Boko Haram? Will you reach out, and as the Holy Father has said, show them that God is, indeed, stronger?
Bishop Doeme of Maiduguri, too, is concerned about his people. “A life lived with much fear is terrible…The threat we face presents a very bleak future for the Church. Many of our members are scattered and others have been killed. In some areas there are no Christians anymore.” “The extremists point a gun or a knife at the faithful saying that if you do not convert you will be killed.”
The situation is a desperate one. Thanks to our donors, we are supplying emergency aid to people from Maiduguri seeking sanctuary outside the diocese, supporting displaced persons with food, shelter and medicine, and providing Mass stipends to Maiduguri priests seeking refuge in nearby dioceses.
We need you in order to continue this vital aid. This Easter, a time of joy in His Resurrection, please help us to show that despite the presence of evil, God is stronger.
Please keep our suffering faithful in your prayers, as well as Bishop Doeme and Father Gideon, two courageous men who are standing strong for their Church and their people.
May you enjoy a blessed Easter with your loved ones.