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Pope Francis inaugurates Monsignor Ajang as Lafia Bishop


Pope celebrates Mass for Nigerian refugees, others

Head of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City, Pope Francis, on Thursday, inaugurated Monsignor David Ajang as the new Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lafia.

Ajang was made the second Bishop of the 20-year-old Lafia Diocese following the elevation and transfer of Matthew Ishaya-Audu, the first Bishop since 2001 to Jos as Metropolitan Archbishop of Jos.

Pope Francis who was represented at the occasion by Antonio Guido-Filipazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, congratulated the new Bishop and advised him to be a good shepherd.

He tasked Bishop Ajang to make priests under his diocese his closes neighbours and friends and desist from showing discrimination.

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He said the church would support and pray for him and urged him to always rely on Almighty God to guide his decisions.

On his part, Matthew Ishaya-Audu, the immediate-past Bishop of Lafia expressed joy for the successful inauguration of his successor.

He commended members for their support of him while serving as their bishop in the last 20 years and urged them to extend the same to the new bishop.

In his message, Ajang expressed gratitude to God who made his installation possible and thanked those who contributed to making the occasion a success.

He said he would continue to pray for members as well as leaders at all levels for God to intervene to help overcome numerous challenges bedevilling the country.

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In his goodwill message, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State congratulated the new bishop and the entire Catholic community for the successful replacement of the former Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lafia.

The governor also acknowledged the contributions of the Catholic Church to the educational development of the state and the country.

“I benefited from Catholic Church because I finished from Catholic School and also got assistance from Catholic Church during my studies in the United States of America (USA).

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“If not for Catholic Church, I may not be where and what I am today,” the governor added.
He also used the occasion to call on faithful of all religions to understand and respect the rights of each other in the overall interest of the nation.

Gov. Sule, therefore, expressed his government’s determination to support and work with the new bishop and other religious leaders to sustain peace in the state.

The occasion was attended by 26 Catholic bishops across the country, priests across the state and beyond, governors of Nasarawa, Plateau and representative of the governor of Benue, including top government officials.