ABUJA, DECEMBER 6, 2019 (CISA)-Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama was on December 5 installed as the new Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja.
He becomes the third archbishop of Abuja taking over from John Cardinal Onaiyekan, whose retirement was accepted by Pope Francis on November 9 after attaining the age of 75.
“I respectfully salute His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who for nearly three decades has led the Archdiocese of Abuja with Apostolic courage and zeal as he retires after clocking the 75 years as stipulated by Canon Law,” Archbishop Kaigama said in his address.
He also expressed gratitude to the Apostolic Nuncio of Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi for his encouragement and support and counts on his collaboration and support of Bishops in the Abuja Ecclesiastical Province and members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.
“My predicament is that I have always been given heavy assignments, namely, to succeed people who are many times more experienced and more gifted than I am,” he said adding that “Life is said to be a series of beginnings. This is another new beginning for me. God knows better why he asked the Pope to look in my direction.”
On the cultural, ethnic and religious diversity of Abuja, Archbishop Kaigama called for a more conscious effort to promote dialogue, harmonious coexistence, reconciliation and peace.
“We must always champion the common good rather than sectional interests. Everyone living or working in Abuja Archdiocese should find a home in our Church. Whether you are the majority or minority, whether you are many, few or alone, please, feel at home in our Church, family of God,” he stressed.
As he takes over the Catholic archdiocese of Abuja, Archbishop Kaigama expressed his readiness to work with the Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Anselm Umorem.
“I will continue to draw from the wisdom and wealth of experience of His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who even after retirement is still looking dynamic and energetic to kindly help me as I continue with the relay race. I hope that he will always help where and when his help will be needed,” he added.
The installation rite was attended by Archbishop Filipazzi, the apostolic Nuncio of Nigeria and graced by all the other sitting bishops. The president of SECAM, Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo was represented by Archbishop Bonaventure Kwofie of Accra, Ghana.