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Published On: Tue, May 22nd, 2018

Priests, parishioners slain in Benue for burial May 22

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From Uche Nnorom Makurdi

The representative of the Pope in Nigeria Di Nuncio is expected to lead about 50 Catholic bishops for the mass burial of two priests and parishioners, who were killed by herdsmen at Mbalom community in Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State.
Also , there will be a simultaneous celebration by Catholic Christians across the country on the burial day commencing from 10 am. While in Abuja, Christian faithful will embark on procession as a mark of solidarity with the Makurdi diocese.
The priests , Reverend Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, were killed on the altar during a mass along with 17 other parishioners.
The Director of Communications , Catholic Diocese of Makurdi , Rev. Father Moses Iorapuu, disclosed this to our correspondent in Makurdi at the weekend.
Fr.Iorapuu said the date of the funeral, which was chosen during the Bishops ’ Conference in Rome, coincided with the date the anti -open grazing law was passed by the Benue State House of Assembly.
He said , “The local church here ( Benue ) was under attack as the bishops were in a conference in Rome ; so the Pope got primary information.
“It was there the decision was taken with the local church and they fixed the burial for May 22 . All the bishops agreed, the divine coincidence of this is that it was May 22 , 2017 that the anti -open grazing bill was passed by the state assembly.
“Exactly after one year, this is what we have to show ; the priests and many others who were killed . The bishops will be here in their numbers but what they have done is to be sure that the burial has wider coverage and wider participation.. ”
According to Iorapuu , all dioceses across the country have been directed to organise vigils and at 10 am on Tuesday , there will be a simultaneous celebration across the country as a mark of solidarity with the Makurdi diocese over those killed.
Meanwhile, the Benue State Government has declared Tuesday a work free day in honour of the slain Priests and parishioners who will be buried at a Pilgrim Ground in Ayati Ikpayongo, Gwer Local Government Area.

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