Aid to the Church in Need Canada (ACN) will welcome to Canada Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos in Nigeria, from June 8 to14. The city of Jos, capital of the Plateau State, frequently suffers from the effects of violence.
"I am anxious to hear Msgr. Kaigama, a long time partner of ours, speak to us about the complex and difficult situation lived by the people in this region, the Christians in particular." This region - called the 'Middle Belt' because it is situated directly in the middle of the country -divides Nigeria in half: the southern half holding a Christian majority, and to the north, a Muslim majority.
"Some recent reports lead us to believe that there may be an attempt at Islamization of the majority Christian regions situated in this belt. The coups, the massacres, the displacements and the theft of land leave thousands of people, many of who are Christians, without any resources."
The city of Jos where Msgr. Kaigama has had a seat since 2000 was the theatre of similar affronts in 2004. Since, this man who currently presides over the country's Catholic Bishops Conference has become an ardent defender of dialogue between Christians and Muslims. If religious fundamentalism is one of the main reasons for violence, the Archbishop has no trouble speaking out regularly against a lack of means to fight efficiently against a mounting extremism. There is no educational system worthy of claiming an effective defence of minorities. Moreover, the unemployment is endemic at over 14%.
A first visit to Canada
Msgr. Kaigama has expressed that he is "very happy about this first visit to Canada." And despite some very serious problems in his country, the archbishop also has a great desire to convey "a note of hope" to all the people who will be coming out to hear him speak. "A Christian must always live in hope, while continuing all the while to live and struggle so that the world becomes a just and human place."
The following day, June 12, he will be visiting Saint Clare's parish at 11:00 am, will preside over the Mass, and will be available to meet with people directly afterwards. On June 11 and 12, he will be in the country's capital and will celebrate Mass at Ottawa's Notre-Dame Cathedral. Once again, the following day, the public is invited to meet him at the Diocesan Centre in Gatineau.
Finally, on June 13 and 14, he will end his visit in Montreal where he will celebrate Mass at Saint Patrick's Basilica on June 13 at 5:15 pm. The following day, he is inviting the public to come and meet him at the Atwater Library for a conference beginning at 7:30 pm.