Archbishop John visits Nigeria to ordain priests

Archbishop John witnesses joy and a deep devotion to the Lord Jesus in Nigeria

On his first trip to the continent of Africa, Archbishop John Wilson visited Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, and Gwagwalada to ordain 10 new priests. Archbishop John spoke of a deep and powerful faith in the Lord Jesus within the people he met, where “no matter what”, the “name and person of our Saviour is the centre and focus of life”.

The Archbishop of Southwark was invited to ordain the priests by the Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria (known as MSP). The newly ordained priests will soon be sent out on mission across the world. In a Pastoral Message on his visit, Archbishop John said he had “never ordained so many priests at the same time before”, adding how moving it was to witness “the generosity and dedication of these ten young men” who will soon be sent out on mission, often to countries which had previously sent missionaries to Africa.

The MSP is celebrating its 40th year of priestly ordinations this year, with priests being ordained every successive year since 1985. The MSP has a rich history of sending priests on mission to spread the Good News across Africa, Europe and North America.

The Archdiocese of Southwark has been blessed with priests from MSP, who continue to serve our Archdiocese. The Archdiocese is also fortunate to have laity, consecrated religious and other clergy from Nigeria who have made it their home.

Archbishop John said:

“Catholics from across Africa and the entire world enrich our Church, bringing to life in our communities a beautiful and richly diverse mosaic of God’s creation”.

The Archbishop also thanked Nigerian Catholics for making the Archdiocese their home and expressed gratitude for the ways in which Nigerian Catholics make the joy and fidelity of their faith present in the Archdiocese.

Reflecting on his visit, the Archbishop of Southwark said he had never been to a place where the word “welcome” is used so often by so many people. His visit, Archbishop John said, provided a “a powerful lesson in hospitality from which we can all learn – in our homes, families, parishes and schools. We are to be always, each of us, people of welcome”.

Archbishop John also spoke about the deep and powerful faith in Christ and love for His Church, the Mass and Eucharist he saw in Nigeria. Celebrating Sunday Mass in St Paul’s Catholic Church, Gwagwalada, was an “experience of the Acts of the Apostles alive today” the Archbishop said. The faith of the people shone through so brightly and their participation so strong, it provided a rich example of how we should all approach the Mass.

Concluding his Pastoral Message, building on the words of Pope John Paul II on his second visit to Nigeria in 1998, Archbishop John said:

“God bless all Nigerians, and all the peoples of Africa, and those descended from them, present here in our Archdiocese of Southwark”.

Read Archbishop John’s Pastoral Message below and see some photos from his visit.

Pastoral Message