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Gunmen kill Catholic priest, 3 parishioners in Benue

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Gunmen kill Catholic priest, 3 parishioners in Benue

The Priest in charge of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Aye-Tuwar village, Agu Centre in Kastina-Ala LGA Benue State, Rev. Fr. Ferdinand Ngugban, and three parishioners were reportedly killed, on Tuesday by armed men suspected to be loyalists of the late militia leader, Terwase Agwaza alias Gana.

A source in the parish, who spoke to newsmen on condition of anonymity, said Father Ngugban was sitting outside the church at about 7:30 am after the morning mass when the assailants invaded the church demanding the whereabouts of the Priest in charge of the parish and he refused them access to the Parish Priest.

According to the source, the failure of Fr. Ngugban to disclose the whereabouts of the Parish Priest infuriated the assailants who shot and killed him on the spot. Confirming the development in a text message, Chairman of the LGA, Mr Alfred Atera, said: “On March 30, 2021, at about 7 am-8 am, unknown gunmen came and burnt a village called Agu Centre in Mbatyula/Mberev Council Ward in Katsina-Ala and killed Rev. Fr. Ngugban and three others named Mfave Tumqachihi, Mbangohor Tsebo and Orlukaa Ulu.”

Also, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene, who confirmed the killing of the priest, said his corpse had been deposited at the General Hospital, Katsina-Ala.

Meanwhile Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has described the killing of Fr. Ngugban  as mindless and wondered why a harmless priest would become the target of armed men.

The governor in a statement sent by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase reassured the people of Katsina-Ala and Sankera in general that his administration would not relent until those responsible for the killing and other attacks in that part of the state were brought to justice.

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Iraq: Cardinal makes case for religion, state separation

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Iraq: Cardinal makes case for religion, state separation

One month after Pope Francis’s historic visit to Iraq, Chaldean Patriarch Cardinal Louis Raphaël Sako has outlined his vision for the country going forward, making the bold suggestion of enforcing a stricter separation between religion and the state.

In a written reflection on the pope’s historic March 5-8 visit, Cardinal Sako called the papal trip “an ideal opportunity that all Iraqis must take advantage of to return, with all their confessions and religions, to themselves and their patriotism.”

This, he said, involves “turning the page from the past and opening a new page for reconciliation,” strengthening a sense of national fraternity, respecting differences, fighting for peace, rebuilding the country’s crumbling institutions and allowing displaced people to return to their homes.

Speaking on the importance of human fraternity as the basis of a peaceful coexistence, the cardinal insisted that “Iraqis, in principle and by constitution, are citizens with equal rights and duties, and citizenship cannot be limited to religion, creed, region, race, or number.”

“Citizenship is a universal right for everyone,” he said, adding, “We must discover new horizons for our fellow citizens, so that everyone feels that Iraq is their home.”

In this regard, he suggested that perhaps now is the time “to separate religion from the state and build a civil state, as the Christians West has done for a long time, and as the state of Sudan is doing in these days!”

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Cameroon: Pope mourns as Africa loses foremost cardinal

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Cameroon: Pope mourns as Africa loses foremost cardinal

Pope Francis has expressed his condolences for the death of Cardinal Christian Tumi, the African nation’s first Cardinal created by Pope St. John Paul II in 1988.

The Cameroon’s lone cardinal passed away on Good Friday, April 2, in a clinic in the Cameroonian city of Douala.

Pope Francis sent a telegram on Easter Sunday to express his condolences for the Cardinal’s death.
The Pope’s message was addressed to Archbishop Samuel Kleda, the Archbishop of Douala and Cardinal Tumi’s successor.

“On learning with sorrow of the death of our brother Cardinal Christian Tumi, I wish to express my condolences and my union in prayer with the College of Cardinals, the family and friends of the deceased, as well as with all those who mourn him,” wrote the Pope.

He added that Cardinal Tumi “left an unforgettable mark on the Church and on the social and political life” of Cameroon.

Cardinal Tumi served from 1979 as the Bishop of Yagoua, then as the Archbishop of Garoua, and finally as the Archbishop of Douala until his retirement in 2009.

Pope Francis said the late Cardinal always committed himself “courageously to the defense of democracy and the promotion of human rights.”

He also praised Cardinal Tumi’s desire to promote peace and reconciliation “in his old age.”
“He was a faithful collaborator of the Popes, assuming various offices in the Roman Curia,” wrote Pope Francis. “May the Lord welcome His servant into His peace and joy!”

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United States: Easter, God’s remedy for grieving hearts – Cardinal preaches

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United States: Easter, God's remedy for grieving hearts - Cardinal preaches

The risen Christ on Easter offers hope to people experiencing sorrows in their everyday lives and in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Washington Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory said at an Easter Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

“Easter is an unfolding experience of hope – hope at the very moment of grief,” Cardinal Gregory said in his homily, adding that “Easter is God’s remedy for the grieving heart.”

The Washington’s archbishop noted that in the face of the current global pandemic, he as a priest continues to grieve for the sorrow of people who must bear the loss of their loved ones in isolation, as people died of COVID-19 without family members being able to be with them.

He said he knows that he will encounter the loss of more family and friends, and that he himself will die one day.

“Still, Easter promises me and it promises you that the fear and grieving that those moments will surely offer are not our ultimate human destiny,” he said, adding, “Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to grieve; she came away filled with hope and with joy.”

Gregory said Easter “brings together many people who long to change their own sorrows to joy, their own doubts into hope and their own fears into faith.”

The message of Easter, he said, is that Christ is risen and death has been defeated.
“Easter gives us something to say in the very face of death – and that is Life and Alleluia

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