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The 8th of May 2013 was a gamorous day for the parishioners of St. Francis Parish Assakio as the turnout in their gorgeous regalia and in their numbers to welcome the Bishop Most Rev. Dr. Matthew I. Audu to St. Francis parish Assakio on a four days pastoral visit. This was to be his second visit since the creation of the diocese in 2001. His last visit to Assakio on pastoral visit took place in 2003.

The Bishop was first received at St. Edward church Adogi, one of the zonal Centres of the parish. There the parishioners waved and danced for joy on seeing the Bishop. The Bishop thanked the parishioners for turning out to rececive him and highlighted that the essence of a pastoral visit by a bishop was to strenghten the faith of the people, to know their  the extend of the parish how it is growing or what difficulties the people are facing and to also administer the sacraments.

From Adogi the next point of call for the bishop was at Holy Ghost outstation church at Zagyo (Gidan Maiakuya) and then at St. Paul’s Zonal centre at Ashige. Their the bishop thanked all for the turn out and encourage all to try and live in peace with one another. He cautioned on people using religion as a tool to create division and also using tribe to disunite members. He therefore enjoyed all to try to live in peace with one another.

From Ashige the Bishop then paid a courtesy call on His Royal Highness the Osakyo of Assakio in his palace. The Catholic Bishop lamented on the un Godly manner people live with each other, he said that on less everybody forgives each other about past mistakes and think of how to forge ahead for a meaningful development, that town or state can not develop. The Bishop urged the Osakyo of Assakio to embrace all in respective of tribe or religion knowing fully well that it was God who placed him on that sit. Hence he becomes the eye of God to the people and will definately account for the kind of rulership he exhibites. The Bishop finally promises his continues prayers for Assakio, Nasarawa State and the country at large for peace to reign.

Responding the Osakyo of Assakio Chief Osula Inarigu thanked God for restorying peace in Assakio land. He also thanked the Bishop for his material, moral and Spiritual support when the crisis was at its peak. The Osakyo stated further what with the visit of the man of God, he believed that peace has finally come to reign in Assakio and Nasarawa State.

The traditional ruler wused the medium to thank all including the Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura for his un-tiring effort in making sure that normalcy finally retruned to Assakio and indeed lafia East as a whole.

During the Four Days visit to the parish, the Bishop visited Gallo Zone where he wedded six couples and administered the sacrament of confirmation to seventy eight(87) candidated. During the liturgy the representative of the chief of Gallo was also in attendance and welcomed and thanked the Bishop for coming. He said the chief would have been their in person but he was down with ill health and therefore urge the Bishop to pray for his quick recovery. In response the Bishop thanked all the parishioners in Gallo Zone for their gifts and presence and urged them to live in peace with one another. He thanked the chief of Gallo through his representative and promised to pray for his recovery. The members and the entire people of Gallo were happy and suprised that the Bishop’s vechile was able to pass through the river. They so this as an act of God and believed that the Bishop’s visit has brought blessing to their area.

The Bishop also visited Ugah Zone were he stopped at various outstations to greet the people who all where waiting to receive his blessings. He visited Fadama Church and saw the wonderful church that was erected by the people. He congratulated them for achieving such fit and called on them the also make their hearts which is the temple of the Holy Spirit also pure and devoid of sin. When he arrived Ugah the Bishop in his character paid a call on the Chief of Ugah who was unavoidably absent as an urgent call came on him which required his travel. However, he was received by the Edlers of the palace.

The highlight of the visit to Ugah was the liturgical celebration of the mass with the administering of the sacrament of matrimony to nine(9) couples and confirmation of Seventy-five (75) candidates.

The grand finale of the pastoral visit was in Assakio parish centre itself, were the Bishop administered the sacrament of matrimony to fourteen(14) couples and confirmed five hundred and forty-six candidates. With this the total number of wedded couples was twenty- nine (29) and six hundred and ninety-nine members were administered the sacrament of confirmation.

The Climax of the occasion was the presentation of traditioanl dances across the nine (9) Zones in the parish which was urshed in by the Chairman of the parish laity council. In his speech he thanked the Bishop for the pastoral visit and believed that the visit will strengthen the lay-faithful. The different zones and the outstations presentated nemerous gifts to the Bishop.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Parish priest of St. Francis parish Assakio, Rev. Fr. Jude Maigari thanked the Bishop for honouring the invitation to visit the parish despite his tight schedules he further said that the visit will strengthen the faith of the lay-faithful and the priests to serving God better. The parish priest finally thanked the parishioners for their cooperation toward receiving the Bishop, he prayed God to grant all their good heart desires and wished the Bishop God journey mercy back home.

In his closing remarks, Most Rev. Dr. Matthew Ishaya Audu thanked all for their support and care, he urged all to be their brothers keeper and always remain in peace, that if all families are living in peace the community will be in peace as well as the State and the Country at large, he urged all religions to be prayerful to God without zeizing, for God to put an end to the crisis in the State and the Country at large.


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