Hold on to your faith in God with great tenacity.

Christmas Message 2023, by Most Rev. Ignatius A. Kaigama, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja

My dear brothers and sisters and fellow Nigerians,

Hold on to your faith in God with great tenacity.

Amid the shadows that loom large over our nation, I extend my heartfelt wishes to you this Christmas season. As we struggle to navigate through the storm of economic inflation, pervasive insecurity, hunger and crushing poverty, joblessness amongst the young people and the overwhelming climate of hopelessness that surround many of us, let us remember that even in the darkest of times, a flicker of hope can ignite a powerful flame of change.

Christmas has come not to ignore our challenges but to remind us that, like the bright star in the sky that led the Magi to adore the Lord, hope can also guide us through the darkest nights. In the face of economic uncertainties and the burden of inflation, let us find solace in the knowledge that our collective strength and resilience can weather any storm. Together, we can overcome the hurdles before us, emerging stronger and more united than ever.

Christmas is a time of joy, love, and togetherness. It is a season that transcends the difficulties we may be facing and reminds us of the power of unity. Despite all the problems we are facing as a country, Christmas calls on us to come together as one resilient nation, bound by the spirit of Christmas and the hope that it brings.

Amidst the shadows of insecurity that linger, let this Christmas be a reminder that our unity is a powerful force against any threat. As we gather with loved ones, let us strengthen the bonds that tie us together, for it is in our solidarity that we find the strength to confront the challenges of our time. Let hope be our compass, leading us towards a future where peace prevails and every Nigerian can live without fear.

In the face of crushing poverty and joblessness, let us draw inspiration from the stories of the poor family of Nazareth – Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, who against all odds rose above their circumstances. Despite our deprivations this Christmas, and the coming year, let us resolve to extend a helping hand to our neighbours, friends and family, creating a network of support that uplifts especially those in dire need. Small acts of kindness have the power to ripple through communities, bringing comfort and rays of hope to even the darkest corners of our land.

In the general hopelessness that may permeate our daily lives, let us remember that change often starts from within. Each one of us has the power to change themselves and so contribute to a positive shift in our country. This noble obligation is for both the leaders and the led. As we celebrate Christmas, we must renew our commitment to creating a better future for ourselves and our fellow Nigerians. Together, let us envision a nation where hope is not a distant dream but a reality that we can actively shape by our own hands and actions with the help of God.

The road ahead may be tough, but history belongs to those who remain resilient enough to survive the hard times. Over the years, our people have shown that we have a remarkable ability to keep our sense of humour despite suffering, striving to overcome obstacles and emerging stronger at the end. That resilience must be the driving force for rebuilding our life and our country.

This Christmas, may the spirit of hope illuminate our hearts and minds, inspiring us to persevere through challenges and work towards a brighter tomorrow. Despite the hardships we all are passing through, let us hold onto the strong belief that united, we can transform our nation into a beacon of hope and prosperity.

In the spirit of hope, let us look forward to the coming year with optimism and determination. The challenges we face today are tough, but they are not insurmountable, and together we can forge a path towards that greater tomorrow we all long for.

I urge you to hold on to your faith with great tenacity. Let no arguments or controversies distract or confuse you, especially in the light of the document about the blessing of those of “same sex” orientation.

Many Catholics are very worried that there is going to be a deviation from the teaching of the Church on marriage. This will not happen. I know that the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) released a declaration, Fiducia Supplicans, approved by the Pope on the Church’s understanding of blessings, especially of those living in “irregular situations.”

Be reassured that marriage is still that “exclusive, stable and indissoluble union between a man and a woman, naturally open to conceiving children,” and the Church “remains firm” in teaching that marriage can be contracted only between one woman and one man.”

There is no doubt that the declaration allowing pastoral blessing for same sex “couples” has discomforted many Catholics all over the world including other Christians and even non-Christians who look up to the Catholic Church for clear directions with regard to certain moral principles. The Catholic Church as always, has been consistent on her stand about abortion, war, homosexuality, etc. There is no need for surprise or disappointment. This is a test of the maturity of our catholic faith and I hope we shall pass the test with distinction, and remain well-rooted in our faith irrespective of the mischievous headlines by the international media and anti-God and anti-Church individuals and groups “celebrating” with all kinds of speculations and innuendoes, and some suddenly becoming experts with their rational arguments and analysis in a matter that concerns faith and morals.

The Church, in its history of over two thousand years, has passed through very turbulent periods and survived them by the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit, so too shall this controversy pass away leaving the Church much stronger and cohesive. The Church will not succumb to the dictatorship of modern secularism, as long as you and I remain rooted in our faith, gazing with serene admiration and optimism at the One we call Lord, Master and Saviour.

This period calls for calmness and prayerfully discerning and evaluating issues in truth and in context. There is no doubt that there are some forces opposed to the Catholic Church and her doctrines, traditions or social teachings. There are however many very ardent Catholic lay men and women, clergy and members of the hierarchy who will not allow the church to be contaminated by the poison of secularism or relativism.

Remain strong in your faith!

I wish you all a Christmas, filled with hope, resilience and the promise of a better and greater future.

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