Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Holy Father, Pope Francis, has decorated the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, with a new Pallium, eight months after he took over the leadership of the Archdiocese from Cardinal John Onaiyekan.
Pallium is a long and three fingers broad (narrow) white band adornment, woven from the wool of lambs, and worn over the shoulders by Metropolitan Archbishops or Primates as the case may be, as a sign of their communion with the Pope and a symbol of their conferred jurisdictional authorities.
Archbishop Kaigama received his first Pallium in year 2000 when he was appointed Archbishop and Metropolitan of Jos. He received the second Pallium as Archbishop of Abuja and Metropolitan of the Province of Abuja.
His Excellency, Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Fillipazzi, who performed the ceremony at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral Garki, Abuja, prayed for more wisdom and divine Grace upon the Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese.
Archbishop Kaigama, in his remarks, expressed gratitude to God for the opportunity to witness the imposition of the second Palium on him as the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese and the Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Abuja.
The Ecclesiastical Province of Abuja are Catholic Diocese of Gboko, Idah, Lokoja, Makurdi, Otukpo, Katsina-Ala and Lafia.
He said: “It’s providential that the conferral, instead of being done in Rome as usual, took place in among my people of the Archdiocese of Abuja, brother Bishops in the Province, senior government officials, other dignitaries and revered brothers and sisters, in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols.”
He appreciated the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who he said, personally blessed the Pallium in Rome on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, and presented it to him through the Apostolic Nuncio as a symbol of service to communion, unity and peace.
He prayed for the Grace of God to continue his pastoral work in Abuja Archdiocese alongside the clergy, religious and generous laity, thus consolidating on the legacies of His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who built his on the excellent foundations of his predecessor, His Eminence, Dominic Ignatius Cardinal Ekandem.
Meanwhile, Kaigama announced that, “as part of effort to sustain pastoral growth, and after due consultations, I here by declare and decree with effect from today, the creation of 30 new pastoral areas in the Archdiocese of Abuja.
“Presently, some of these areas have no Church land, priest house nor Church buildings, but we hope that they will be groomed to become full Parishes as soon as possible.”
He, therefore, requested generous individuals to kindly adopt any of the 30 new pastoral areas or join with others to adopt one area and nourish it to a full Parish.