In view of the ongoing peace talk between the Tiv and Jukun people of Benue and Taraba states respectively, the Paramount Ruler met this morning 18 January, 2018 with Most Revd Ignatius KAIGAMA, Archbishop of Jos Archdiocese, who is also President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Most Revd Charles Hammawa, Bishop of Jalingo Diocese, Most Revd William AVENYA, Bishop of Gboko Diocese, Most Revd Peter ADOBOH Bishop of Katsina- Ala Diocese and Most Revd Wilfred ANAGBE, CMF Bishop of Makurdi Diocese. The Archbishop of Jos and Bishop of Jalingo are of the Jukun extraction while the Bishops of Gboko, Katsina-Ala and Makurdi are Tiv by tribe.

In his opening address the Archbishop of Jos first of all congratulated his Royal Majesty Tor Tiv V for his ascension to the throne as the Paramount Ruler of the Tiv people. In the same vein, he registered his condolences on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria over the recent gruesome and brutal murder of more than 73 people on the 1/1/2018 by the Fulani armed terrorist group.

The meeting according to the Archbishop was a follow up on the discuss the Catholic Bishops in these parochial jurisdictions hitherto had with the Late HRM Alfred Akawe TORKULA shortly before he died. Now that the new Tor Tiv had been elected it is important that the Bishops come again to brief the new Paramount Ruler and thereafter chart the way forward. The Archbishop reiterated that the first meeting of this magnitude took place in WUKARI at the Palace of the Paramount Ruler of the Jukun HRM AKU-UKA who also pledged his commitment to this project. The Archbishop unveiled the fact that though the Church doesn't have AK 47 riffle, but does have the most important Weapon of prayer, appeal to the moral conscience of our people, spiritual and sustained advocacy and enlightenment initiatives. These shall be used as veritable tools to achieve this objective.

In his reaction, the Tor Tiv applauded this great initiative and affirmed his optimism in this needful project and his willingness to thrown his weight behind it. Peace according to His Royal Majesty is the basis for development. He also went into memory lane recounting our Common history when both tribes migrated from different places but lived peacefully in the Benue Valley with one another until in 1976 when the two tribes were split into provinces. At this point in time distrust,
greed, anxiety, Jealousy consequent on the basis of political-social factors/ opportunities that were available set in.
Now the most important thing is the willingness to begin to talk peace before the pangs of enmity and crisis erupt again among our people.

There were meaningful responses from both the Church and the Traditional representations. From the side of the church, while the Bishops of Gboko made a commitment that the church has made available her resources, structure and talents to the success of the peace project, the Bishop of Jalingo was of the opinion that the sooner we engage fully on this project the better. He continued that only in this way can we not only broker peace but also reinforce our collective energies for our greater good. The Tor Kwande and Tor Jerchira who spoke didn't feign but said there is need for collaboration between the Church and traditional institutions. Those times are perilous and call for synergy among like minded groups for the good of our people. They emphasis that this period of our peace process is not the time to apportion blame but to work for our Common unity and peaceful coexistence.

Resolutions:
1. Commitment on both institutions as key to the success of this peace project.
2. The Catholic Church with other Protestant churches should begin to generate common grounds towards the realization of this project. In this way CAN at the State level should eschew all disaffections and work together.
3. More enhanced spirit of Collaboration between the Tiv Traditional Council and the Jukun Traditional Council via periodic meetings.
4. Regular periodic visits to the respective Paramount Rulers toward improving relationships.
5. Extension of the peace project to the Tiv people of Nassarawa State.
6. Peace project was encouraged to be discussed at public places, for instance, burials, churches, market squares.
7. Need to harness the common cultural values of both tribes to animate the peace project.
8. Engage all people of good will on peace project, politicians, business men and women, youth, etc

Revd Fr. Isaac Dugu
Chancellor, Catholic Diocese of Gboko.

Tiv Catholic Link is online resources, a platform that provides a range of online services for the Catholic Church in Tivland.

  • Pope Francis greets the crowd at his Sunday Angelus address on Jan. 29, 2023. / Vatican Media

    Rome Newsroom, Feb 2, 2023 / 12:23 pm (CNA).

    On the 27th World Day for Consecrated Life, Pope Francis recalled the special role religious brothers and sisters have in the Catholic Church.

    “In the People of God, sent to bring the Gospel to all people, you consecrated men and women have a special role,” the pope said in a written message for Feb. 2.

    This special role, he continued, stems “from the special gift you have received: a gift that gives your witness a special character and value, by the very fact that you are wholly dedicated to God and his kingdom, in poverty, virginity, and obedience.”

    Pope Francis’ message was read at the beginning of a Mass for consecrated men and women in Rome’s St. Mary Major Basilica on Feb. 2.

    Pope Francis usually celebrates a special Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the World Day for Consecrated Life but was unable to do so this year because the day fell in the middle of his Jan. 31–Feb. 5 trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

    The Feb. 2 Mass in St. Mary Major was celebrated by the prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, who read the pope’s message to those present.

    “When you hear this message from me, I will be on mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and I know that I will be accompanied by your prayers,” the pope said. “In turn, I want to assure you of mine for the mission of each of you and your communities.”

    “All of us together are members of the Church,” he continued, “and the Church is in mission from the first day, sent by the Risen Lord, and will be so until the last, by the power of his Spirit.”

    The theme of the 2023 World Day for Consecrated Life is “Brothers and Sisters in Mission.”

    The Catholic Church celebrates the World Day for Consecrated Life every year on Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas or the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    The day of prayer was established by Pope John Paul II in 1997.

    In his message, Pope Francis said the mission of consecrated men and women is enriched by the unique charisms of their communities, in addition to the fundamental gift they have each received.

    “In their stupendous variety, [charisms] are all given for the edification of the Church and for its mission,” he said. “All charisms are for mission, and they are precisely so with the incalculable richness of their variety; so that the Church can witness and proclaim the Gospel to all and in every situation.”

    He prayed that the Virgin Mary would obtain for consecrated men and women the grace to bring the light of Christ’s love to all people. He also entrusted them to Mary “Salus Populi Romani,” the title of a Byzantine Marian icon housed in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

    In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Carballo, who is a religious in the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, said “we want, especially on this day, to say our thanks to the Lord and, using the words of Mary, the consecrated woman par excellence, sing our Magnificat to him who is the Good, the All Good, the Supreme Good.”

    God, he said, “has made us sharers in a beautiful inheritance and a mission no less beautiful: that of representing in us the historical form of the obedient, poor, and chaste Jesus.”

    “Let a song of thanksgiving rise from our lips and from our hearts, today and always, because Jesus has bent over our littleness and has given us the grace to follow him in the various forms of consecrated life, despite our littleness,” he said.

  • Archbishop Georg Gänswein celebrates Mass in the Vatican crypt close to the tomb of Pope Benedict XVI on Jan. 31, 2023, to mark one month since the death of the pope emeritus on Dec. 31, 2022. / Angela Ambrogetti/CNA

    Rome Newsroom, Feb 1, 2023 / 11:25 am (CNA).

    Archbishop Georg Gänswein celebrated Mass at the tomb of St. Peter on Tuesday to mark one month since the death of Pope Benedict XVI.

    Gänswein, the pope emeritus’ longtime personal secretary, offered the Mass in the Vatican crypt close to Benedict’s tomb in the presence of a small group of people.

    Benedict XVI died on Dec. 31 in the Vatican. He was buried in the crypt under St. Peter’s Basilica on Jan. 5 following the celebration of his funeral Mass in St. Peter’s Square.

    In his homily, Gänswein said Benedict, “one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time on the Chair of Peter, put himself under the protection of a saint for whom there was no theology, only adoration.”

    The saint was Benedict Joseph Labre, known as the “beggar saint,” whose feast day — April 16 — was also Benedict XVI’s birthday and baptismal day.

    “What a surprise, what a mystery, what a humility, but also what a lesson,” Gänswein said.

    According to the German archbishop, Benedict XVI’s spirituality echoes that of St. Benedict Joseph Labre.

    Labre, and Benedict XVI, believed “one must have three hearts united in one: a heart for the love of God, a heart for zeal for one’s neighbor, and a heart that gives witness for the beauty of faith,” Gänswein said.

    One difference between them, however, is that “theology opened the door to adoration” for Benedict XVI.

    In a 2012 homily, Benedict XVI called St. Benedict Joseph Labre “one of the most unusual saints in the Church’s history.”

    The 18th-century “pious mendicant pilgrim,” Benedict said, was “a rather unusual saint who begging, wandered from one shrine to another and wanted to do nothing other than to pray and thereby bear witness to what counts in this life: God.”

    “He shows us that God alone suffices; that beyond anything in this world, beyond our needs and capacities, what matters, what is essential is to know God,” Benedict said on April 16, 2012.

    Pope Benedict, according to Gänswein, saw his mission to be, if necessary, admonishing theologians and bishops to keep them out of dangerous theological currents and in the unity of the universal Church and the deposit of faith.

    Benedict XVI knew there was a certain aversion to his pontificate because of this, the archbishop said. Benedict also endured a lot of criticism and insults because he did not think the life of the Church should be dealt with according to political or ecclesiastical expediency.

    Instead of wanting to give orders, Benedict trusted in the “mild power of truth,” Gänswein said. “Was this naïve and out-of-touch idealism or the proper behavior for a priest, a bishop, a pope?”

    The German archbishop also defended Benedict XVI against accusations that he sympathized with a certain ecclesiastical anti-Semitism of the past.

    Benedict XVI considered anti-Semitism a stain on the Church and an attack on its very foundation, Gänswein said.

    Father Federico Lombardi, former Vatican spokesman and president of the Ratzinger Foundation, concelebrated the Mass for Benedict XVI.

    Sister Birgit Wansing, a close collaborator of Benedict, and the consecrated women who ran Benedict’s household at the Vatican and during his retirement at Mater Ecclesiae Monastery were also present at the Mass.

  • Pope Francis meets with the Order of Malta on Jan. 30, 2023, as the sovereign state and religious order turned a new page in its history. / Vatican Media

    Rome Newsroom, Jan 31, 2023 / 09:15 am (CNA).

    Pope Francis met with the Order of Malta on Monday as the sovereign state and religious order turned a new page in its history.

    On Jan. 25-29, 111 members of the Order of Malta assembled to elect new leadership in an extraordinary chapter general convened by Pope Francis last year.

    “You have written a very important page of history for the Order of Malta; thank you, you can be proud of it,” the pope told the capitulars in a Jan. 30 audience at the Vatican.

    The Order of Malta held elections to choose nine councilors of the Sovereign Council as well as the four High Offices: grand commander, grand chancellor, grand hospitaller, and receiver of the common treasure.

    The leader of the Order of Malta remains Lt. Grand Master Fra’ John Dunlap, who was appointed by Pope Francis after the sudden death of his predecessor, Fra’ Marco Luzzago.

    This month’s chapter general was overseen by Fra’ Dunlap, the pope’s special delegate Cardinal Silvano Tomasi, and the interim Sovereign Council appointed by Pope Francis last year.

    Francis had also approved the order’s new constitutional charter and regulations last year.

    With the Sovereign Council elections completed, the Order of Malta can now hold The Council Complete of State to elect the 81st grand master.

    The position of grand master of the Order of Malta has been vacant since the death in 2020 of Fra’ Giacomo Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto.

    The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is both a lay religious order of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state subject to international law. In 2017, Pope Francis ordered reforms of both the order’s religious life and its constitution.

    Concerns have been raised throughout the reform process that some of Pope Francis’ actions threaten the Order of Malta’s sovereignty.

    Pope Francis addressed the topic of the order’s sovereignty in the Jan. 30 meeting, noting that it “is an entirely singular sovereignty, assumed over the centuries and confirmed by the will of the popes.”

    “It enables you to make generous and demanding gestures of solidarity, putting yourselves close to those most in need, under international diplomatic legal protection,” he added.

    Francis also commented on the forthcoming election of the grand master, in whom, he said, “you will find a sure guide, a guarantor of the unity of the whole order in fidelity to the successor of Peter and the Church.”

    Pope Francis also sent a written message to the Order of Malta on Jan. 25 at the opening of the extraordinary chapter general in which he referred to the group’s challenges during the last few years’ reform process.

    The reform was a necessary, if at times “arduous,” journey, the pope said.

    “Forgive the offenses!” he urged. “I heartily ask you to come to sincere mutual forgiveness, reconciliation, after the moments of tension and difficulties you have experienced in the recent past.”

    He also encouraged the Order of Malta to strengthen its unity in order not to compromise the fulfillment of the group’s charitable mission.

    “The Evil One” encourages division, he said. “Let us be careful not to compromise with the tempter, even unintentionally. He often deceives under the guise of good, and what may appear to be for the glory of God may turn out to be our own vainglory.”

    “Conflicts and opposition harm your mission. Lust for power and other worldly attachments turn you away from Christ; they are temptations to be rejected,” Pope Francis said. “Let us remember the ‘rich young man’ in the Gospel, who, though moved by good intentions, failed to follow Jesus because he was attached to his own things and interests.”

    The Order of Malta’s sovereignty must also be at the service of works of mercy, he said.

    “It is necessary to be vigilant that it may not be distorted by a worldly mentality.”

  • Pope Francis meets with refugees from Congo and South Sudan before his flight to Africa on Jan. 31, 2023. / Centro Astalli

    Vatican City, Jan 31, 2023 / 06:15 am (CNA).

    Before departing on his flight to Africa on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis met with a group of refugees and migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan at the Vatican.

    Among the refugees who met with the pope was Bidong, who spent much of his childhood from the age of 9 onwards in a refugee camp in Ethiopia after fleeing the war in his home of South Sudan.

    Bidong is currently studying International Developmental Cooperation at Rome’s Sapienza University and receives support from Centro Astalli, the Italian branch of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

    He is one of 2.3 million displaced refugees from South Sudan, over half of whom are children, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency.

    In an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, a spokesperson for the Centro Astalli shared that nine of the refugees that the center works with in Rome were able to meet the pope at his residence at the Casa Santa Marta in Vatican City on Jan. 31.

    Cedric, a Congolese refugee, lives in Rome with his wife and three young children. He was an actor and human rights activist who was jailed for his civil activism in Kinshasa before seeking asylum in Italy, according to the Centro Astalli.

    Two of the young migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo have albinism, a condition that affects the pigmentation of the skin and has been a cause of violent discrimination in the Congo.

    Pope Francis meets with refugees from Congo and South Sudan before his flight to Africa on Jan. 31, 2023. Centro Astalli
    Pope Francis meets with refugees from Congo and South Sudan before his flight to Africa on Jan. 31, 2023. Centro Astalli

    “It was a significant moment before a trip in which, once again, Pope Francis focused on the existential and geographical peripheries of the world, crisis areas from which thousands of people flee every day in search of salvation,” the Centro Astalli representative said.

    The suffering of migrants and refugees was still on the mind of the pope as he traveled to the first leg of his journey to Africa, the Congolese capital of Kinshasa.

    While on board the papal flight to Kinshasa, which departed Rome’s Fiumicino International Airport at 8:29 a.m. with more than 70 journalists, Pope Francis asked everyone on the plane to spend a moment in silent prayer thinking of those who cross the Sahara Desert seeking a better life.

    Pope Francis speaks to journalists on the flight to Kinshasa on Jan. 31, 2023. Elias Turk/EWTN
    Pope Francis speaks to journalists on the flight to Kinshasa on Jan. 31, 2023. Elias Turk/EWTN

    “Right now we are crossing the Sahara. Let’s spend a short moment in silence, a prayer for all the people who, looking for a little bit of comfort, a little bit of freedom, have crossed and did not make it,” Pope Francis said.

    “So many suffering people who arrive at the Mediterranean and after having crossed the desert are caught in the camps and suffer there. We pray for all those people.”

    Pope Francis also expressed disappointment that he was unable on this trip to visit Goma, a city in eastern Congo, due to the ongoing violence.

    The violence in eastern Congo has created a severe humanitarian crisis with more than 5.5 million people displaced from their homes, the third-highest number of internally displaced people in the world.

    The pope is scheduled to meet with victims of violence from eastern Congo on Feb. 1 in Kinshasa following a Mass that is expected to draw 2 million people.

    South Sudan’s security situation also poses significant challenges to the papal trip. The U.N. reported last month that an escalation in violent clashes in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state had killed 166 people and displaced more than 20,000 since August.

    Pope Francis will visit Kinshasa Jan. 31-Feb. 3 before traveling to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Feb. 3-5.

    The pope is scheduled to arrive in the Democratic Republic of Congo at 3 p.m. local time after a nearly seven-hour flight traveling more than 3,350 miles, a route that will fly over eight countries: Italy, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Chad, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and the Republic of the Congo.

    Upon landing in Kinshasa, Pope Francis will meet with President Felix Tshisekedi and address the DRC’s civil authorities in a speech at the Palais de la Nation.

    The pope’s trip to Congo and South Sudan is Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of his 40th apostolic journey this week, the pope will have visited 60 countries.

  • Pope Francis visits the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, to entrust his upcoming trip to Africa to the Blessed Virgin Mary. / Vatican Media

    Rome Newsroom, Jan 30, 2023 / 12:00 pm (CNA).

    Pope Francis visited the Basilica of St. Mary Major on Monday to entrust his upcoming trip to Africa to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    The pope will depart Rome on Tuesday morning for the capital city of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country home to more than 52 million Catholics.

    It will be the first papal trip to Congo in 37 years, since John Paul II visited Kinshasa in 1985 when it was the capital of Zaire.

    Pope Francis will visit Kinshasa Jan. 31-Feb. 3 before traveling to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Feb. 3-5.

    Francis has called his visit to South Sudan “an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace.” The pope will travel together with the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields.

    Pope Francis will be the first pope to visit South Sudan, the world’s newest country, which declared independence from the Republic of the Sudan in 2011.

    The pope’s trip to Congo and South Sudan was scheduled to take place last year but was postponed for six months for health reasons.

    A stop in the eastern Congolese city of Goma was cut from the pope’s updated schedule amid a resurgence of fighting between the army and rebel groups. 

    Earlier this month, Islamic State claimed responsibility for a deadly bombing of a church service in the eastern Congolese town of Kasindi that killed at least 14 people. Another armed rebel group, the M23, executed 131 people “as part of a campaign of murders, rapes, kidnappings, and looting against two villages,” the U.N. reported in December.

    The pope is scheduled to meet with victims of violence from eastern Congo on Feb. 1 in Kinshasa following a Mass that is expected to draw 2 million people.

    South Sudan’s security situation also poses significant challenges to the papal trip. The U.N. reported last month that an escalation in violent clashes in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state had killed 166 people and displaced more than 20,000 since August.

    Pope Francis has been personally involved with South Sudan’s peace process, inviting formerly warring leaders for a spiritual retreat at the Vatican in 2019. Tens of thousands of people were killed in South Sudan’s civil war, which ended with a peace agreement in 2018.

    The pope asked people to pray for his trip to Congo and South Sudan, his first apostolic journey of 2023, in his Sunday Angelus address ahead of the trip.

    Pope Francis greets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir at the Vatican on March 16, 2019. Vatican Media.
    Pope Francis greets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir at the Vatican on March 16, 2019. Vatican Media.

    “These lands, situated in the center of the great African continent, have suffered greatly from lengthy conflicts. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, especially in the east of the country, suffers from armed clashes and exploitation. South Sudan, wracked by years of war, longs for an end to the constant violence that forces many people to be displaced and to live in conditions of great hardship,” he said.

    “In South Sudan, I will arrive together with the archbishop of Canterbury and the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Together, as brothers, we will make an ecumenical pilgrimage of peace, to entreat God and men to bring an end to the hostilities and for reconciliation,” Pope Francis said. “I ask everyone, please, to accompany this journey with their prayers.”

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