INSTALLATION OF MOST REV. MATTHEW ISHAYA AUDU AS THE CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF JOS. WELCOME AND VALEDICTORY REMARKS BY ARCHBISHOP IGNATIUS A. KAIGAMA, 31.03.2020.
My dear brothers and sisters, please allow me to use my remaining last few minutes as a member of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos to express a very profound gratitude to God Almighty for giving me the privilege and honour to serve Jos Archdiocese and its wonderful people for very close to twenty years.
Let me first of all welcome you all to this ceremony that brings on board a new chief shepherd and thus a new phase in the history of Jos Archdiocese. Thank you for coming.
I thank God for using the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to give Jos Archdiocese the gift of a new Archbishop in the person of Most Rev. Matthew Ishaya Audu. Welcome Archbishop Audu and “bon travail”
I also thank the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi for his very dedicated service to the Nigerian Church and I welcome him in absentia as well as the Cardinals, the Archbishops, the Bishops, the priests, the Religious men and women and lay individuals and groups who had expressed the desire to be here to participate in this ceremony but for the outbreak of the coronavirus which has restricted the number of participants to fifty as permitted by the Government of Plateau State.
We welcome Barr. Dr. Simon Lalong, here represented by the Secretary to the State Government and the Chief of Staff, Government House. We warmly welcome our brothers of the other Churches represented by the CAN Chairman, Rev. Dr. Soja Bewarang and our Muslim friends and brothers whom the Emir of Wase, Alhaji Muhammed Sambo, who is also the Plateau State Chairman of Jama’atu Nasril Islam and Vice President General, Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, mandated the Galadima of Wase, Alhaji Umar Mustapha to stand in for them. The Plateau State Traditional Council is ably represented by the Long Goemai of Shendam.
We welcome you the few present here, representing the many others who would have loved to come but the Church had to comply with the good restriction measure adopted by the Government as a proactive way to vigorously fight the coronavirus. Even with this small congregation of fifty, we will go ahead to do the canonical installation of the Archbishop, by the grace of God. It is being streamed live in the social media. Jos Archdiocese has promised that a more elaborate and festive celebration will take place after the unfortunate coronavirus malady must have become a thing of the past. May God have mercy on us and bring to a very quick end this global scourge. For the sake of the sorrowful passion, Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
May I crave your indulgence to ask that for my failings as a human being during my tenure as chief shepherd of Jos Archdiocese, may the Lord forgive me and those who felt offended by my words and actions to also forgive me. All I did for Jos Archdiocese as Archbishop and lately as Apostolic Administrator, was in the best interest of progress, harmony and growth in the spiritual, pastoral and social spheres. For those who were happy with my decisions and pastoral initiatives, please continue to be happy and for some who were offended or hurt by my pastoral decisions, may God bring you healing and relief.
I can confidently and happily say that you members of the family of God in the Archdiocese of Jos were loyal and supportive of all projects: pastoral, educational, medical, social, etc. I pray that our modest achievements will be improved upon in the years to come by you and your new pastoral leadership.
I had promised you that we would install the new Archbishop in a roofed proposed Divine Mercy Cathedral building. Your commitment to the project was very edifying and exemplary. You sacrificed as individuals by donating one block per person and as families, one bag of cement per family. Your parishes gave “in toto” the proceeds from
tithes and harvest for many years. The new Cathedral building would have been roofed now, but for some technical reasons. I assure you that the funds needed for the roofing have been already collected by you and will be safely entrusted to your new Archbishop. Please continue the good work and may our Blessed Mother intercede for us and make this new era one of greater blessings and success.
I must stress that you the wonderful people of Jos Archdiocese have been a solid pillar of support and encouragement to me. May this new phase under the leadership of Archbishop Matthew Ishaya Audu be characterized by greater development, peace, understanding and unity in the Archdiocese and indeed in the entire Ecclesiastical Province of Jos.
I wish to also extend my appreciation to the past and present Governors of Plateau State whose collaboration and support I enjoyed: Gov. Joshua Dariye, Gov. Jonah David Jang and now, Gov. Simon Bako Lalong. They all supported my work of inter- religious dialogue and the search for peace and harmony between Muslim and Christians and among ethnic groups.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank the Vicars General, the Chancellor, the parish priests, religious, chaplains, members of Church societies, Knights, women, men, youths, children, catechists, evangelists, Word of Life newspaper staff, domestic and chancery staff (cooks, drivers, office staff), etc. Thank you for making my years of stay and work in Jos Archdiocese a very memorable one. Like Simeon I say, “At last O powerful Master, you give leave to your servant to go in peace, according to your promise ” (Lk 2:29).
May God bless all of you in the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos and indeed Plateau State very richly and bring to completion the work he has started in you (cf. Phil. 1:6). Let us keep each other in fervent prayer.
Peace be with you all.