|Nigerians benefit from spiritual pilgrimages|
Catholic News Service photo
Archbishop Nemuel Babba, head of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, right, offers spiritual counsel to a pilgrim as 50 Christian government officials and religious leaders visit the Church of St. John the Baptist in Rome Sept. 21. The Nigerian gov ernment, which gives financial aid to Christians visiting the Holy Land and New Testament sites in Greece and Rome, is preparing to send 30,000 Christian pilgrims to Rome.
Catholic News ServiceROME — Prayers for peace and an end to terrorism and corruption in Nigeria filled Rome’s Church of St. John the Baptist, as 50 Christian government officials and religious leaders visited the Eternal City in preparation for sending 30,000 Nigerians on pilgrimage.
The Nigerian government gives financial aid to Christians visiting the Holy Land and New Testament sites in Greece and Rome, just as it pays for Muslims to make the “haj,” or pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Helping pilgrims is part of the government’s responsibility to provide for the welfare of the people. Pilgrimages help Muslims and Christians deepen their faith and renew their commitment to living holy lives, which benefits the whole country.
At an ecumenical prayer service, the Nigerian group prayed softly for family members and loved ones but grew more energetic when praying for the continued unity of Nigeria and an end to corruption. The volume rose dramatically when one of the leaders prayed for the downfall of the “behemoth Boko Haram,” a terrorist group that claims to be promoting an Islamic Nigeria by attacking Christian churches, military barracks and police stations.
The problem in Nigeria isn’t actually Muslims fighting Christians, but a select few who have decided to fight the interests of the people” by trying to bring down the government.