By Evelyn Okakwu
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Mr. John-Kennedy Opara, yesterday said 14,000 Christian pilgrims had so far been transported to Israel this year.
He said this while addressing the last batch of pilgrims at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Abuja, before they left for the Holy Land.
Opara said that the 2014 pilgrimage ended yesterday, in line with the calendar of President Goodluck Jonathan.
According to him, more than 523 Christian pilgrims, comprising of four states; FCT, Kaduna, Niger and Plateau left for the Holy Land.
He added that last Thursday’s last batch of the pilgrims was unique and privileged people, because they were going to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Land.
He said the pilgrimage was for moral and spiritual transformation, saying “Christmas is all about the celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ and you people are going to celebrate him in his own birth place. It is something that many people would love to celebrate in the Holy Land.’’
He said by 2015, which was another phase of pilgrimage programme, the Commission had already commenced arrangement for Easter pilgrimage.
The Executive Secretary said Jesus was the message for the season and urged everyone to be the message for other people to look up and have something to hold on to.
3,000 pilgrims have already paid for next year’s Easter pilgrimage.