Bishop Egbebo’s Pastoral Letter to 2022 Flood Victims
PASTORAL LETTER OF HIS LORDSHIP, MOST REV. HYACINTH EGBEBO, MSP
TO THE CHRIST’S FAITHFUL OF THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF BOMADI
DO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED BECAUSE NO SITUATION IS PERMANENT
My highly esteemed Priests, Consecrated men and women and the entire Lay Faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Bomadi, it is with great concern I write to you as Shepherd of the Local Church, to express my solidarity with you at this trying moment of our history. I have been deeply disturbed by the ravaging flood, which consequences have surpassed that of 2012 in many respects. It is no longer news that a few cases of death involving the young and old have been recorded. Additionally, many have been displaced from their homes and the burden that has come on us from the social and economic angles such as the arbitrarily increase of the price of goods and services have further heightened the plight of the people. Those are all pathetic situations that are disheartening.
2. Consequently, considering the gravity of the flood, and the often inadequate response to tackling its effect on the part of Government, I have decided to write this Pastoral Letter to express my sympathy as well as closeness to you, to encourage and console you, and, to propose a line of action in this challenging moment. However, let me appreciate those priests and religious congregations that have already made available rectories and convents as places of temporary abodes for displaced priests and the religious. I also extend the same gratitude to men and women of goodwill who have displayed same and/ or similar gestures of fraternal care to fellow brothers and sisters. We are most grateful to God also that this surge of flood ways is gradually coming to an end.
3. Moreover, I strongly encourage all Agencies, Philanthropists and well meaning Catholics to be readily willing to reach out with material assistance to the afflicted. If this is carried out with a sincere heart of charity, it will go a long way in ameliorating and bringing succour to the plights of the victims.
4. Nevertheless, during this trying period, there shall be only two offerings at a given Mass and the first shall be for the upkeep of the Priests and the second shall serve as palliative for the less privileged affected by the flood. Any other collection including harvest and thanksgiving are gravely prohibited until the flood recedes. This act of sensitivity is done chiefly with the intention of reducing the financial burden of the People of God.
5. At this juncture, I want to passionately appeal to the Government and well-meaning individuals to assist victims with relief materials such as food, medical care, good drinking water, mobile toilets, shelter and clothing, provision of temporary settlement camps, etc, a gesture considered most appropriate and reasonable for the sake of the material and physical wellbeing of the people suffering this grave and untold hardship. More so, I will strongly call on Christians to disassociate themselves from taking undue advantage of the present situation to arbitrarily inflate prices of goods and services in our society.
6. Finally, let me assure you that as we bear this burden together, your physical and spiritual wholeness is of utmost concern to me. Therefore, I impart my blessing upon you for healing, peace and strength. In addition, may those who have lost their lives due to the flood find rest in the bosom of the Lord. May the pains in our heart be an indulgence for the faithful departed, and may the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help continue to intercede for us with her Son both now and forever. Amen!
From the Diocesan Curia, 23 October 2022, on the Solemnity of World Mission Sunday.
Most Rev. Hyacinth O. Egbebo, MSP (Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Bomadi, Nigeria)
(Parish Priests and Superiors of Religious Houses are hereby required to read out this Pastoral Letter to their respective Congregations on Sunday).