Second part of Archbishop Kaigama activities for the 2021 World Mission Campaign in Germany with the Emir of Wase, Dr. Mohammed Sambo Haruna
Our second part of activities for the 2021 World Mission Campaign in Germany with the Emir of Wase, Dr. Mohammed Sambo Haruna, and I, consisted mostly of encounters, official meetings, prayers, exchanges with individuals and groups, media interviews, sight seeing, etc.
Among our official meetings at the political level was the one with the State Secretary at the Federal Presidential Office to talk about the current situation in Nigeria and the country’s relations with Germany. MISSIO President, Fr. Dirk Bingener, and the MISSIO Vice President, Dr. Gregory Fürstenberg, accompanied us.
We had an important exchange on issues of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue with Mr. Markus Grübel, the Commissioner for Religious Freedom at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
At the Foreign Affairs Ministry (Auswärtiges Amt) we discussed how Germany and Nigeria’s cooperation is important, and the need to support local projects by non-governmental organizations like MISSIO to help needy people even better.
At the house of Archbishop Heiner Koch of Berlin, we had an interesting exchange with him about the different situations of Christians and Muslims in Germany and Nigeria as well as the opportunities and importance of interfaith dialogue.
We were invited to visit the “House of One” project, where efforts are being made in Berlin for ”Jews, Christians and Muslims to work together to build a structure that will house a Synagogue, a Church and a Mosque under one roof. It will be “a house of prayer and interdisciplinary teaching. A place of encounter, for meeting and exchange among people of different faiths… a house for all of those who do not belong to a religious community “.
We also had a round-table discussion and exchange in Berlin with experts and those engaged in interfaith work: Jews, Muslims and Christians.
Our participation in the World Mission campaign was not all about official work. There was the very lively and engrossing musical performance by Judy Bailey, along with her husband and three sons. The choir, “African Catholic Voices ′′ brought the African joy of life to Saint Gertrud in Essen during the Mass officiated by Bishop Overbeck Ruhrbistum.
In Berlin, we visited the Alexanderplatz (television tower), the Brandenburg gate, the Holocaust memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, and enjoyed dinner in Vietnamese, German, Nigerian restaurants (including a visit to McDonalds)
We were at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum in Berlin to see some of the “Benin Bronzes” “taken” away during British colonial times, especially those bought from Britain by a wealthy German. It is expected that these artefacts will be returned to Nigeria in 2022. Asked if we support the demand to have them returned to Nigeria, we responded in the affirmative, but stressed that there must be a very careful arrangement put in place so that the valuable objects of art will be well preserved for posterity and also accessible to the public.
In Köln, we joined the Muslims in the beautiful “Cologne Central Mosque” (the architect of the Mosque is a Christian). The Emir and I got a very warm welcome and a gift of the Koran each. This was followed by a lovely meal with the Mosque officials and the members of our delegation, (as was the case in the hall of the Mosque in Essen). While the Friday prayer was going on in the Mosque, we, the few non-Muslims sat behind the worshippers to wait for them to conclude (I was quietly saying my rosary).
An anniversary meeting with Pro-MISSIO Foundation members (a group of special donors founded to generously support MISSIO activities) was held at the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum hall, where we also had a panel discussion to share our experience of the successes and challenges of Interreligious dialogue.
The well-attended Mass of the 28th Sunday of the Year was in the Cathedral of Köln. In attendance also were many Nigerians from Köln and others from Düsseldorf, dressed in their cultural attires and the women in CWO uniforms. They came for the Mass to pray with us and to welcome us. After a tour of the centuries-old Cathedral given to us by Msgr. Guido Assmann, we left for Mainz, with Johannes Seibel our excellent “pilot “ and Bettina Tiburtzy and Thomas Rekendt, giving us their usual logistical support.
In Mainz, we had an interaction with journalists and an interview in the studio of the famous ZDF German TV. The phone interview with the Hausa Radio Deutsche Welle followed, and then we headed to Frankfurt where we had another interview with the influential newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
From Frankfurt, we took our Lufthansa flight that brought us safely to Abuja, on Wednesday, October 13th.
To God be gratitude, glory and praise.
Very many thanks to MISSIO Aachen officials, the MISSIO Diocesan Coordinators and all those who made our visit to Germany a very memorable one.
We pray for a fruitful 2021 World Mission Sunday.