Pope Francis gives the homily as he participates in Mass for the feast of Pentecost in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican June 5, 2022. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Pope Francis of The Catholic Church has expressed his sadness on the massacre at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State on Sunday.
According to a telegram which emanated on behalf of the Pope, the perpetuity was wildly condemned, whilst stating that the Pope was praying ‘for the conversion of those blinded by hatred and violence.’ The papal telegram was forwarded by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin to Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade of Ondo State; following its release on June 6.
‘His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific attack at St. Francis Church in Owo, and he assures you and all those affected by this act of unspeakable violence of his spiritual closeness.’
‘In commending the souls of the dead to the loving mercy of Almighty God and imploring divine healing and consolation upon the injured and those who are grieving, His Holiness prays for the conversion of those blinded by hatred and violence so that they will choose instead the path of peace and righteousness.’
‘Upon you and the faithful of the diocese, Pope Francis invokes the divine blessings of comfort and strength as you continue to live the Gospel message with fidelity and courage,’ it read.
Meanwhile, a tweet was put up on Pope Francis official Tweeter account same day, urging the global community to pray for the victims, as well as the perpetrators.
‘I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific attack at Saint Francis church in Owo in #Nigeria. #PrayTogether for all those affected by this act of unspeakable violence and for the conversion of those blinded by hatred and violence,’ the tweet read.
A statement was released by The Vatican on the day of the killings, after Pope Francis had learned of the attack.
‘The pope learned of the attack on the church in Ondo, Nigeria, and the death of dozens of faithful, many children, during the celebration of Pentecost, said Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See press office.
‘While the details of the incident are being clarified, Pope Francis prays for the victims and for the country, painfully affected in a moment of celebration, and entrusts both to the Lord, to send his Spirit to comfort them.’
The incident at the Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State is seen by many as a targeted religious attack, with the notorious fulani herdsmen allegedly responsible for the killings.
Although there is no official death toll, last count showed at least 50 people including children were gunned down during the Pentecost celebrations at the Catholic Church on Sunday.