Speakers at the 19th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast on 8th February called upon attendees to pray for persecuted Christians in Nigeria amid recent violence, while emphasising both the importance of humble discipleship in church life and expanding access to the sacrament of penance for the Eucharistic Revival.
Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe of the Diocese of Makurdi in Nigeria’s Benue state told the gathering that in spite of-or even because of-the violence, “Christian seminaries and churches are full” and “the Christian faith is growing.”
Bishop Anagbe was recently among Nigerian Christians and humanitarian groups who called on the U.S. State Department to designate Nigeria as a “country of particular concern” following Islamist violence perpetrated against predominantly Christian communities.
Bishop William D. Byrne of Springfield, Massachusetts, who spoke about the upcoming 2024 National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, said St. Pius X, known as the “Pope of the Eucharist,” knew the sacrament is “a means of helping us, not a prize for those who are already there.”
He said the Eucharistic revival depends on reviving the sacrament of reconciliation, exhorting change in parishes where confession is limited to brief timeframes. Helen Alvaré, a Catholic professor of law at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, was given the gathering’s annual Christifideles Laici Award.
She told the gathering to stay grounded working in or for the church by repeatedly self-assessing “to make sure that you are a true disciple first.”
Picture: Helen Alvare, right, recipient of the Christifideles Laici Award from the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast organisation, poses with board member Maureen Ferguson during the annual event in Washington 8th February 2024. (OSV News photo/Leslie E. Kossoff)