We are deeply saddened by the death of Father Joseph Aketeh Bako from the Diocese of Kaduna in Nigeria who, along with two other priests, was abducted in March.
Fr. Joseph was abducted by gunmen from his residence in Kudenda, Kaduna State, Nigeria, on March 8, 2022. Sadly, the security guard of the church was killed during the attack. Fr Joseph served as Parish Priest at St John Catholic Church Kudenda. News of the abduction was reported by Vatican News at the time, but it was only last week that confirmation was received that Fr Joseph had been killed.
Sr Kathleen McGarvey, Provincial Leader of OLA Ireland, worked with Fr Joseph in Good Shepherd Seminary when she was on mission in Nigeria.
The escalating violence in Nigeria is of grave concern. Fr Joseph is one of three Catholic priests kidnapped during March of this year. Two other priests, Leo Raphael Ozigi and Felix Zakari Fidson, were subsequently released. According to organisations who are monitoring acts of violence in Nigeria, 287 people were murdered and 356 kidnapped in Kaduna state alone during March.
Archbishop Matthew Manoso Ndagoso of Kaduna blames the government for not addressing the scourge of persecution and violence that grips the country, but he has not lost hope:
“Yes, we are suffering; yes, we are traumatised; yes, we are despondent; yes, as we talk there are thousands of Nigerians in kidnappers’ dens, and hundreds of thousands that have lost their dear ones, many people here have been victims of these kidnappings. In situations like this it is easy even for the most religious to think that God has abandoned them. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ gives us hope. The Gospel is saying to the people that the Risen Christ is with us,” the Archbishop told local media.
Prayer for Eternal Rest (The Requiem Prayer)
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.