On August 11-12, we will have our annual mission appeal for the church’s missionary activities throughout the world. Fr. Jonathan Yabiliyok from the Diocese of Zaria in Nigeria will be the guest speaker at all Masses in Church. Below is a letter from him and images from his church, which was destroyed during the persecution of 2011. There will be a second collection taken that weekend for his Diocese, we encourage you to support his mission work generously.
Dear Parishioners of St. Gertrude,
The Diocese of Zaria is situated in Kaduna State, in Northern Nigeria. It was created on the 5th of December 2000 and erected on 3rd March 2001 with Bishop George J. Dodo installed as the first bishop. It has a population of about 50,000 Catholics, mostly peasants who live on subsistence farming.
Since the creation of the diocese, we have struggled to sow the seed of the faith in an area that is the stronghold of the Islamic religion, which has a long history of Hausa/Fulani hegemony. As a result of religious persecutions, Christians have often been the target of orchestrated attacks, intimidation, harassment, and burning of places of worship at no provocation. The attacks on Christian places of worship and other civilian targets have continued unabated by the extremist Islamic sect, Boko Haram. The situation is worse because the state does not provide adequate protection for those persecuted. This has caused a mass exodus of Christians from the diocese.
Despite our precarious situation, we are making giant strides in strengthening the faith among our vulnerable population. Thanks be to God our Catholics are tenacious in the practice of the faith. However, more work needs to be done in the areas of faith formation, rebuilding of churches and rectories. With the insecurity in the country, many families have lost their means of livelihood and thus unable to provide for themselves basic necessities of life, let alone make meaningful financial contributions to the church.
The mission appeal in your parish is to solicit your prayers and financial support to the struggling church in Zaria where Christ still weeps. We ask for your support in rebuilding the churches and rectories destroyed, and in the training of priests and catechists for grassroots evangelization. We look forward to your kind and generous support. May the Lord reward your generosity, bless your families, and all you do for the kingdom of God.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Jonathan Yabiliyok
Catholic Diocese of Zaria, Nigeria