The Catholic Archbishop of the Onitsha Archdiocese in Nigeria has declared a 21-day period of prayer and fasting, seeking God’s graces over the general elections scheduled for February 25.
In a Wednesday, February 1 statement, Archbishop Valerian Maduka Okeke says the “special” spiritual exercise is to run from the first day of February, and to conclude on February 21.
“As we enter the month of February 2023, which is a special month designated for national elections in our beloved Country, Nigeria, His Grace, the Archbishop, Most Rev. Valerian M. Okeke, declares a 21 days special prayer and fasting in our Archdiocese,” the Archdiocesan Chancellor, Fr. Prudentius Aroh, says in the February 1 statement.
He says the prayer and fasting period originates from the conviction that “those who put their trust in the Lord can never be disappointed.”
During the period of prayer and fasting, Fr. Aroh says, Christians should intercede for “divine security and peace in our country, Nigeria (and) peaceful, transparent and credible elections with the glorious outcome.”
The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop is also calling on the people of God to pray for wisdom to elect “God-fearing leaders based on their values, moral standard, the credibility of conduct, visionary plans, competence and character and not based on their political parties.”
In the February 1 statement, the Chancellor of Onitsha Archdiocese says the Archbishop has underscored the need for Christians to pray “that political leaders may conduct themselves with civility, eschew electoral fraud, and avoid any act of lawlessness before, during, and after elections.”
During the prayer and fasting period, all families, Rectories, Convents, Seminaries, and Monasteries within the Nigerian Archdiocese “will pray their Holy Rosaries daily, faithfully and in common (preferably in the evenings) specifically for the above-mentioned intentions,” says Fr. Aroh.
He adds that Archbishop Okeke has directed Priests and women and men Religious in the Archdiocese to “fast on all Fridays within these 21 days from 6 am -12 noon.”
“Please rectories, convents, and monasteries are requested not to prepare breakfast at all except for the sick ones and those with special needs. Beloved brothers and sisters, we have experienced many challenges in the past but through prayers and trust in the Lord, we have surmounted them all. Let us put our trust in the Lord for his faithfulness never ceases,” says Fr. Aroh.
He continues, “May our Mother Mary, Queen of Nigeria intercede for our country so that the forthcoming elections will end in the praise of God. We wish you all a fruitful prayer.”