The World

"My mother taught us that we had to forgive," says Boko Haram victim

Aid to the Church in Need has launched a campaign to help the Nigerian church with the slogan "Help Nigeria. Martyred Church, Living Church". According to the Religious Freedom Report launched by ACN this year, "Nigeria is one of the worst countries in the world to live the Christian faith".

Loreto Rios-December 13, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes

Pope Francis greets Boko Haram survivor Janada Marcus in March 2023 ©OSV/Vatican Media

This morning, a press conference was held at the headquarters of ACN Spain, a foundation of the Holy See, to explain the current situation in Nigeria and the details of the Aid to the Church in Need campaign.

Nigeria is currently one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians due to numerous terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa groups, in addition to the "Fulani" in the center of the country. Since 2022, 39 priests have been killed, 30 priests kidnapped and 17 catechists murdered.

Victim assistance projects in Nigeria

The press conference was attended by Kinga von Schierstaedt, Team Leader for Africa of the Project Department of Aid to the Church in Need International (ACN), Father Joseph Bature Fidelis, Director of the Human Resources and Trauma Care Center of the Diocese of Maiduguri, and Janada Marcus, a survivor of the Boko Haram attacks.

According to ACN, "the bishops have requested projects to improve the security of priests and religious". Among these projects are the construction of security fences in convents, cars so that priests can move around in more rural areas instead of walking or cycling, which makes kidnappings more difficult, and alarm systems in presbyteries so that priests can call for help when an attack occurs.

Another project carried out was the construction of the Trauma Care Center in Maiduguri, as many people need support due to the trauma caused by the terrorist attacks, especially in the north of the country. "They come here shattered. They flee the violence and flock to the Church for support and comfort and find professional and spiritual care and social promotion. True peace is only achieved when the trauma of the deeply wounded is healed," says the center's director, Father Joseph Bature Fidelis.

During the year 2022, Aid to the Church in Need has financed 122 projects, with a total of 2.1 million euros: construction or reconstruction of churches, seminaries, parsonages and other church buildings; training of local clergy, support for priests, subsistence aid for nuns, financing of catechetical material and support for means of transportation and means of communication.

Janada Marcus' testimony

Currently, as Kinga von Schierstaedt explained, the campaign is focusing on four types of projects: psycho-spiritual care and security, formation, maintenance of the Eucharistic adoration center dedicated to the Nigerian martyrs and the formation and support of priests.

Janada Marcus, a 25-year-old woman, has been the victim of terrorist attacks on four occasions. On one occasion, she was abducted after surgery, still with a festering wound and under the effects of anesthesia, and was imprisoned for a year and eight months along with others until she managed to escape. On another occasion, she witnessed her father being killed by Boko Haram. Janada was treated at the Maiduguri Trauma Care Center, where her mother took her when she saw that her daughter was having continuous nightmares and was unable to talk to people. Janada said this morning that she has managed to forgive the terrorists and now has peace of mind: "My mother taught us that we had to forgive. It is part of our Christian faith.

Currently, the young woman has managed to get her life back on track, she has a diploma in Tropical Health and Disease Control and in March of this year she visited the Vatican and was able to greet Pope Francis.

Despite terrorism, ACN notes that "Nigeria is the country in Africa with the largest number of seminarians and, despite discrimination and persecution, the number of aspirants continues to grow".

You can collaborate in the campaign from the website of Aid to the Church in Need.

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.
Banner advertising
Banner advertising