In addition to Blessed Cyprian Iwene Tansi, the first saint figure from Nigeria, another Catholic Saint may emerge from the country if the Vatican process leading to beatification and canonization of a 14-year-old virgin, Vivian Ogu, finally sails through.
Tansi was beatified over a decade ago by Pope John Paul II, who himself is now a saint of the Catholic Church.
President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Obiora Akubeze, said the process of Ogu’s sainthood was already in motion.
The process, it was learnt, would be further boosted tomorrow (Saturday) when the Pope’s representative presides over a ceremony at a pilgrimage site, the Vivian Ogu Missionary Animation Centre in Benin City, named after the late 14-year old virgin.
The centre is being developed at the site the teenager was shot dead after she violently resisted being raped by armed thieves who invaded her family home in Benin City in 2009.
The Pope’s representative will be joined by Catholic Bishops in Nigeria who are attending an extraordinary National Mission Congress which opened on Wednesday at the Bishop Kelly Pastoral Centre in Benin.
The Congress which ends on Saturday, according to Rev. Fr. Ajana of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria, is for the purpose of reflecting on the Church’s Missionary identity in Nigeria and profer a way forward.
In his homily at a Holy Mass celebrated by 21 Bishops, including Cardinal Onayekan, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze urged the Congress to also examine ways of ensuring that Christ faithful are well cared for spiritually and materially as part of preparations for the purpose of missionary work.
Akubeze who is the Archbishop of Benin, said the job of preaching was not exclusive to only Priests, the religions and those in consecrated lives but all Christians.
He explained that the new mission to evangelize calls for retrospection of hearts, saying, “when the message of Christ is well accepted, there will be no more wars” in families, societies, churches and among nations.
Archbishop Akubeze who spoke briefly on the life of Vivian Ogu and her heroic death, said she joins Fr. Tansi, whose lives are recommended by the Vatican for Christian emulation.
Born in Benin City to parents who hail from Aboh Mbaise, Vivian was brutally murdered on November 15, 2009