• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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2023: Get your voter’s card ready, Martins charges Catholic faithful

Seek divine guidance for peace in 2023, Archbishop Martins urges Nigerians

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, has urged the Catholic faithful in the Lagos archdiocese to get their permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) ready ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general election.

“Please let us do what is necessary to get our voters’ cards ready so that we can join and do what is necessary. Yes, we may not have the kind of Federal Republic that we have now. We want a new structure, but this is what we have now; I ask that we not allow anything to stop us from doing the needful as far as elections are concerned,” he said.

He made the appeal in his address to Christian faithful at the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos 2022 Chrism Mass, held at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos. According to Martins, politicians will always be interested in politicking; hence, much of governance has been placed on autopilot.

The Catholic Archbishop equally called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that all eligible voters are able to vote, especially as it relates to people who may have moved locations. He posited that there was currently a disincentive for the electorate to cast their votes on the back of the socio-economic challenges both at the individual and national levels.

“There is a strong temptation for us to say that our past efforts at voting did not make our day-to-day lives better; so, why do we need to waste our time again? The temptation is to throw up our hands and surrender, but I urge you not to throw up your hands and surrender. Challenges to our national and individual lives should not stop us from making the due preparations to take part in the election that is to come,” Martins said.

Similarly, he urged the faithful to pray for the country and those in positions of authority just as he charged them to ask politicians vying for the 2023 general election pertinent questions about what they need to do and how they will take care of the country’s challenges.

“It is not enough to hear promises being made; it is also important to interrogate how exactly those promises would be fulfilled. I believe that all of these should be part of what we need to ensure that elections are fruitful for our nation, for our individual lives and for the future of our country,” he further said.

The Archbishop also urged Christians in general to put away tribal and ethnic sentiments for spiritual upliftment of the Church as a body of Christ. “I want to use this opportunity to call on all the faithful that we must not allow tribal or ethnic sentiments to override our unity as a body of Christ in our local Church.

Read also: INEC says 1.8m new voter cards ready for collection Tuesday

“Politicians and political idea lords and those that have agendas that are different from that of the Church are waiting to take advantage of any hot line that they find in our society; we must all know that we are united by the blood of Christ which is thicker than the blood that runs through our veins. The waters of baptism have made us united into one family,” Martins said, adding that all believers must be concerned about the growth of their faith.

Macjoe Akpan, in his Homily, reminded the priests of the essence of their calling, and urged them to stand in solidarity with the people of God in their joy and pains; in their hunger and in abundance, and also in their tears and laughter.

“We are called to bring down heaven on God’s people, in their moment of darkness, as priest we are to be their light, as such we can then say as Jesus, who was anointed by the father, that in our word and our deed we can proclaim that the spirit of the lord is upon us because the lord has anointed us to bring good news to the downtrodden, the poor and all in the society must hear this good news from us and have hope,” Akpan said.

The Chrism Mass is the renewal of priestly commitments and the blessing and consecration of sacred oils that takes place on the morning of Holy Thursday. The Chrism Mass is the manifestation of the priests’ communion with their Bishop or Archbishop. It is one of the most solemn and important celebrations of the liturgical year.

According to the Church, the distinctiveness of the Catholic priesthood is rooted in the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in the celebration of the Chrism Mass, Catholic priests are reminded that Jesus’ priesthood continues in the Church. Thus, the renewal of priestly promises at the Chrism Mass reminds the priests of the integrity to which they are called as priests of Jesus Christ.