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Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos
By Odinaka Uruakpa
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins has called on Christians and Nigerians in general, to use the remaining days of the year 2020 to draw near to their creator in prayer and thanksgiving, and to show appreciation to Him for seeing them through the year.
Giving this charge in his 2020 Christmas Message in a statement signed by the Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu, the Archbishop also urged citizens of the country not to allow the difficulties, tragedies, and pains experienced in year 2020 weigh them down.
Archbishop Martins advised the people to always recall the numerous blessings of God in their lives and the moments of joy for which they must always remain eternally grateful.
While urging Christians not to allow the challenges of the present times lead them to a state of depression, Archbishop Martins reminded them that the birth of Christ celebrated at Christmas, remains a glaring sign of God’s undying love for all of humanity, which never ceases despite all odds.
Said he: “As we embark on the customary beehive of social and economic activities that characterize the celebration of Christmas, the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I wish to appeal to all Nigerians, especially those facing very unpleasant situations, that they should not allow the challenges of the times to depress them. Rather, we must all remain steadfast in prayer and optimism, knowing that tough times do not last, but tough people with faith and trust in God do.
“The onslaught of COVID-19 and widespread insecurity notwithstanding, being alive alone to witness another Christmas is a sign that we are victors. And so, we must embrace this yuletide with the positive attitude of victors, knowing very well that we have a hope that the future will be better for us as individuals, as families and as a nation”.
While appealing to everyone to celebrate the yuletide with a deep sense of love, moderation, and empathy, Archbishop Martins stressed the need for a show of love to the less-privileged.
Stated he: “The joy and blessing of Christmas can be obtained in full only if one is charitable towards the needy and empathizes with the underprivileged”.
The Archbishop urged Christians not to lose sight of the spiritual essence of the celebration which is by far more important and significant than the glitter of light and decorations.
In the light of the new wave of COVID-19 that is with us, he advised citizens to pay attention to hygiene practices as regards to regular washing of hands, use of face mask, physical distancing and obedience to all the regulations so as to keep the virus at bay.
He also enjoined leaders in the country, to ensure that they keep all the concerns of the youth that led to the #EndSARS protests in October on the front burner.
Remarked the cleric: “These concerns cannot be neglected without serious consequences for the welfare of the people and the future of the country. The young people must not come to a conclusion that they have been deceived in the promise of the President that they have been heard loud and clear”.