~ Says Adamawa State Pilgrims were given special treatment
The Catholic Bishop of Yola diocese, Bishop Dami Mamza, has described the 2022 christian pilgrimage as the most fulfilling and the most spiritually rewarding pilgrimage in history.
Mamza who is also the Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Adamawa State chapter, made the disclosure shortly after his return to the state from Rome, where the pilgrimage took place.
He noted that out of the over 20,000 pilgrims from across the world that attended the spiritual exercise, Adamawa State Pilgrims were given front seat and five of the pilgrims had a personal and direct contact with Pope Francis.
“The highpoint of this trip was actually the arrangement that I was able to make with the holy father Pope Francis and out of more than 20,000 people that gathered at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Adamawa State was given the front seat.
“As a Catholic Bishop obviously I will go to the stage and sit by the right hand of the pope which I did and then the pope asked me to invite four other pilgrims from Adamawa State to come and have handshake with him which I did.
” I invited the president of EYN, he had handshake with the Pope. I invited Murum Mbula, he had handshake with the Pope. I invited Kwandi Nunguraya, he had handshake with the Pope and Invited Reverend father Jacob Miranda he had handshake with the Pope.
“So five of us have personal and direct contact with the Pope. It has never happened in the history of pilgrimage here in Adamawa State. So I think that makes pilgrimage this year to be completely different from all other pilgrimages that we ever had,” he said.
Mamza also thanked governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri for sponsoring 130 pilgrims to the holy land although he said only 120 were able to make it due to some challenges regarding issuance of visa.
“This year through the courtesy of his excellency, the executive governor of Adamawa State His Excellency Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri, 130 pilgrims were prepared in order to go to Rome on pilgrimage. We had some challenges regarding visa and not all 130 were able to get the opportunity to go to Rome but about 120 of us went to Rome on pilgrimage.
“It has been a wonderful experience because most of them or all of them as a matter of fact have never been to Rome. Most of the pilgrimages that normally take place will be to Israel but this time around, it was to Rome and they really had wonderful experience especially all they heard about Rome in the past even about the Vatican, the holy father, the Pope and about the life of early christians how they were persecuted.
“They were able to go through all these and they came back very much enriched based on the experience they had during the one week spiritual exercise.
“I want to use this opportunity on behalf of all the christians in Adamawa State to say thank His Excellency, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri for sponsoring the pilgrimage for the year 2022.
“And I’m also sure that this pilgrimage has enhanced and strengthen the faith of all the christians that have gone on the trip. It is also hoped that more will go in the future,” he said.
While commenting on the World Communication Sunday, the Bishop who poured tributes on media practitioners commended journalists for their efforts in the spread of the gospel.
He called on the media practitioners to maintain the narrow path of honesty, factual and balanced reportage, noting that Nigeria more than ever need responsible journalism to wade through the surfeit challenges dogging it.
“Today we celebrate the World Communication Sunday and it is celebrated every year on a day like this declared by the holy father.
“Communication is a very important tool for evangelization and the church can never neglect it and that is why the church also knows the important work that journalist do across the world and the need for collaboration with media personnel in order to enhance the evangelization across the world.
“We celebrate World Communication Sunday in order to appreciate the work of Journalists, the work of media practitioners in terms of the support they give the church,” he said.
He called on all Nigerians not to relent in their prayers for the peace and harmony of the nation noting that Nigeria is on a sick bed and need prayers of all and sundry to be healed.