Lagos — Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has congratulated his predecessor in office and Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Reverend John Onaiyekan, who was recently called to the Catholic College of Cardinals.
Pope Benedict XVI announced the elevation of the 68-year-old Archbishop of Abuja Diocese to the Vatican’s College of Cardinals on Wednesday during his weekly general audience. He said the new cardinals would be formally elevated at a consistory on November 24.
Onaiyekan was one of six non-European prelates nominated by the Pope to the elite body that remains heavily weighted in favour of Europe.
In a personal letter to the former CAN president, Oritsejafor expressed delight at the news of his elevation, saying the appointment has placed Nigeria on the world map of Christendom.
The letter reads: “It is with joy that I received the news of your appointment as a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
“I am happy that this appointment has placed Nigeria on the world map of Christendom and that your fame now spans the globe. I am particularly happy because of your current status as one of the ‘cardinal electors,” a position which qualifies you to be among those to choose Pope Benedict’s successor.”
"A great honour to Nigeria" — MarkSenate President David Mark has also congratulated Onaiyekan, urging him to continue his crusade for peace to reign in Nigeria, saying: “ This elevation should spur him for greater services to God and humanity”.
In a congratulatory message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, the Senate President said Onaiyekan remains a dependable, diligent and an unshakable soldier of Christ who stood to be counted when it matters, adding: "I am pleased that your hardwork, dedication and steadfastness is being recognized and rewarded. I have implicit confidence that you will as always do Nigeria proud at the Vatican.
“As a personal friend, my joy knew no bound on hearing your elevation. This is a blessing and a great honour to Nigeria. I can only wish that you continue the good work that characterised your tenure as the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja diocese.”
Senator Mark prayed that God in His infinite mercies grant the new Cardinal good health, wisdom and courage to continue the good work in the Lord’s Vineyard.
Archbishop Onaiyekan was one of the six non-European prelates nominated by the Pope to the elite body that remains heavily weighted in favour of Europe.