May the word of God now grow and spread for the salvation of all the world!
October 1 is a solemnity in Nigeria dedicated to Our Lady as the queen and patroness of the nation. In 1982, during his visit to Nigeria, Pope John Paul II consecrated the country to her with this prayer:
“O Mother of all individuals and peoples …” You who were with your Church at the beginning of her mission, intercede for her that, going forth to the whole world, she may ever teach all nations and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. With these words, through which, together with the bishops of the whole world I greeted you in Rome, O Mother of God, Theotokos, on the solemn day of last Pentecost, I wish to greet you today, together with the bishops of the Church in Nigeria – the country that I am visiting during these days. And I desire to consecrate and entrust to you, Mother of the Church, in a special way, the Church in the land of Nigeria, just as on the day of Pentecost I consecrated and entrusted to you the Church among all nations and peoples of the earth: the Church and the world. In today’s consecration I entrust to you all those who live and work in this African continent, all of whom the heavenly Father has loved eternally in Jesus Christ and whom he wills to save through Christ’s blood shed on the Cross. O Mother of the Church! May the priests just ordained, sons of this land, “chosen from among men,” become for the good of everyone true “ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” May they carry forward the apostolic work begun here by the missionaries some generations ago. The Word of God, through the action of the Holy Spirit, became flesh in your virginal womb. May the word of God now grow and spread for the salvation of all the world. Amen.
Africa has every reason to celebrate!