The Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has said that baptizing thousands of churchgoers does not make them Christians at heart and the leadership of the churches must impact knowledge of faith and sincerity.
He gave the charge on Thursday in Abuja in his keynote at the Caritas Nigeria Day and symposium, organised by the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN).
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It was themed, ‘The Church in the Service of Integral Human Development: The Nigeria Experience’.
Onaiyekan noted that the era of the foreign missionary is over as the Church is growing.
“As our churches are getting full every Sunday, we need to put more effort into making sure that these crowds of churchgoers are also Christians at heart.
“It is not enough to baptize hundreds and thousands of people. They must also receive the knowledge of the faith and be sincere Christians who can give clear Christian witness to the society in which we live.
“The quality of faith of our members is crucial if the church is to be more than just a social organisation.
“The leadership of the Catholic Church in Nigeria today is well aware of these challenges. Whenever there is a meeting of the bishop’s conference, these issues are always on the front burner of our discussions,” Onaiyekan said.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, Rev. FR. Uche Obodoechina, said that the wisdom of the founding fathers in establishing the foundation is yielding positive fruits, thus the responsibility must not be allowed to wean.
He also urged the church to prioritize helping the needy and giving hope to the hopeless as well as societal and national development.