The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo, Most Reverend John Akin Oyejola has said that the Church in Osogbo as at the end of June 2020, spent the sum of N14,142,958 to address some of the effects of COVID-19 on members and non-members within their community.
Oyejola said that the sum was expended on food items, relief cash support, personal hygiene and safety materials as well as public sensitization.
This was disclosed during a media briefing held as part of the activities to commemorate the 25th year anniversary of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo.
Oyejola’s announcement followed the address of the Vatican Ambassador to Nigeria, the Apostolic Muncio, Archbishop Anthonio Guido Filipazzi, who opined that the lives and activities of the Church deserves more attention in the public domain because the Church is doing so much for the betterment of the larger society.
In his words: “I hope the local media will continue to pay attention to the works of the Church. We are not looking for publicity, but we are not unaware of the fact that what the church is doing is much and deserving of mention. What the church is doing is not so much for itself but for the larger society.
“For example, the COVID-19 pandemic was one that had a lot of devastating consequences all over the world – people were out of work, people could not go out, young ones cannot go to school for months now. In the midst of this situation, the Church was trying to help the people in different ways, giving food, giving assistance and reaching them with the message of safety in support of what the government was doing.
“During this period, the Church also had its own challenges because there were no gatherings, no income; but the Church remained committed to helping people and did so much in that regard.
“I am glad that the Church has been very prudent and obedient to the directives of the government during this period”, Filipazzi explained.
Addressing some of the misgivings around the operations of the Church, Filipazzi said that when the Church is not understood, falsehood permeates the public domain, and the Church gets unfairly criticised in the process.
He continued: “I recommend that you continue to follow with attention, yet with sympathy, the life and activities of the Church.
“The Church is in a society, and bound by the regulations given by the civil authority. The point is that the Church should not be criminalised because of the pursuance of its mandate. The Church is an example, and will remain so”, Filipazzi said.
While responding to a question on what the Church is doing to stem the tide of violence in Nigeria, Filipazzi said the issue of violence is a matter of State concern, adding that the State has to bring people to respect the lives and properties of everybody.
He also commented about the need to de-emphasize religious affiliations when reporting the issue of violence, adding that the situation is not about Christians or Muslims, but about citizens of Nigeria.