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Nigeria: hundreds flock to Sunday Mass despite terrorist attack

Catholic World News - March 19, 2014

More than 2,000 Catholics in northern Nigeria risked their lives to attend Mass last Sunday during an attack on their city by Boko Haram terrorists.

Father John Bakeni, who celebrated Mass in St. Patrick’s cathedral in Maiduguri, told Aid to the Church in Need that the building was “packed,” even after rocket-propelled grenades hit the city, killing hundreds of people. The priest said that some worshippers told him that if their lives were in danger, they would prefer to die in the church.

Father Bakeni reported that on Sunday morning, “we were greeted with the deafening sounds of bomb explosions, rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire. There was confusion and pandemonium everywhere.” When he addressed the congregation in his homily, he said, he realized that an extended message was unnecessary. “Please pray that this violence will stop,” he urged the people.

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