News from Nigeria
Sister Shiela Fennessy’s brother Donal is a priest in Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. He was home on holiday at the end of last year, on his return he wrote a letter telling of the situation there.
Here are some extracts:
” The economic recession here in Nigeria has brought poverty to a lot of people. Government workers were not paid for July or August, and since then they are getting only a percentage of their monthly salaries. As well as the shortage of money the cost of living has gone up. Tribal conflict has quietened down here, further north of us Boko Haram are still killing people. Las week we heard of 56 people being killed by suicide bombers. It is estimated that they have killed over 20,000 already and displaced 20 million people.”
” Our parish is now 15 years old. , We have four priests from our parish and many seminarians. AS we have very little accommodation I decided to build a two storey presbytery. In September here in our compound we made 3,000 blocks using a vibrating machine. We then got our parishioners to dig the foundation. as their contribution. The builder came and brought it to floor level. This week we hope to start making another 3,000 blocks and see how far that will take us.”
” I still visit the prison a few times a month. The prison was built for 300 prisoners but now there are just over 600. One hundred are convicted the other 500 are still awaiting trial, some for a very long time. Every Christmas I give each inmate, Christian and Moslem, a bar of soap.”
He describes a recent wedding: “A couple who had done their traditional marriage now wanted to have their Church marriage as the bride was pregnant and very near to having her baby. I suggested that it might be good to wait until after the birth as I feared she might have her baby during the wedding, they wanted to go ahead. On the day she appeared in a beautiful white wedding dress and veil. All went well TG. The following day she phoned to say she now has a beautiful baby girl just a few hours old.”
Father Donal has spent over 50 years in Nigeria, we hear mention of Boko Haram and the situation there on the News, Donal has shared his experience and help us understand conditions in the country from a personal point of view. It makes it more real, the poverty, Boko Haram, overcrowding in prison. He is in the middle of difficult situations, sharing life in all ways with the people.
We wish him well and we will remember to pray for him.