The Country of Nigeria, known as the “Giant of Africa” (due to the vastness of its land, the diversity of its peoples and languages, the highest population in Africa, and its oil and other natural resources) boasts a diverse landscape that includes deserts, sweeping plains, swamps, mountains and tropical jungles. Three quarters of the land is agricultural, enjoying lush grasslands, which display their grandeur, while trees and shrubs are scattered among the verdant panorama. Interspersed among the varying terrain lie bustling, crowded cities preparing to expand beyond their boundaries. Coursing through the southern part of Nigeria is the Niger River, the 3rd longest river in Africa that extends almost 2,600 miles.
Located in Western Africa, the country borders the Gulf of Guinea to the south, Benin to the west, Cameroon to the east, and Niger and Chad to the north. Overall, the climate is tropical with temperatures in the 90s and 100s during their summer months, but there are wide climactic variations throughout the country. There are two basic seasons; the wet season, which lasts from April to October; and the dry season that lasts from November until March. The hot and dry Harmattan wind from the Sahara sweeps across the northeastern areas, while the southwest wind brings cloudy and rainy weather near the coast.
Nigeria is the most important country politically and economically in West Africa. It is richer than all other West African nations and maintains substantial power. There at least 250 languages spoken in the country, but English is the official language. Even though Nigeria is rich in resources (petroleum, gold, gems, rubber, cacao, talc, and salt), sixty percent of the Nigerians live below the poverty level, surviving on less than one dollar a day due to political corruption. A little over half of the residents live in rural areas, where they endure hardship due to the sporadic or lack of electricity, unsanitary conditions and the lack of industry; less than half have access to clean drinking water.
The year 2009 saw the uprising of the Boko Haram Islamist movement (designated as a terrorist group in 2013 by the U.S.), seeking the establishment of an Islamic state in Nigeria. At its height the movement, based in northern Nigeria, was in control of a territory of about 31,000 square miles (about one tenth the size of the country), but it has been pushed back to a small area in the Sambisa forest, located in northeastern Nigeria. The adherents to this jihadist movement have committed atrocious crimes, including conducting terror and suicide attacks killing more than 50,000 people, attacking schools, separating families and displacing more than two million people. Additionally, poverty, unemployment, hunger, and disease (including malaria and aids) continue to plague the nation.
Heroic European missionaries, who were on fire for love of God and their brethren, left their homes in the 1800s to teach the Igbo people the Gospel and spread the love and joy of Christ. Christianity did not gain a firm foothold until 1862, when the Society of African Missions arrived. Subsequently, The Holy Ghost Fathers arrived in 1885 and worked among the Igbo of Eastern Nigeria. Currently, Catholicism in Nigeria is vibrant. In just five years (2005-2010), the Catholic population grew by twenty-one percent, and the number of priests increased by sixteen percent.
In spite of the difficulties facing them, the Catholic Nigerians remain a happy, faith-filled and enthusiastic people. They maintain an indomitable confidence in the assistance of Divine Providence and an ardent devotion to Our Lady. This devotion inspired the leaders of the Ijebu-Ode diocese to organize a four-and-a-half mile long Marian Procession on October 2, 2017. Though the Procession, which ended with Eucharistic Benediction, took seven hours to complete, joy radiated from the faces of even the aged ones who willingly undertook this penance out of love for the Virgin Mary. A similar Marian Procession was organized in Adamawa State, in the diocese of Maiduguri, under the leadership of Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme. This Procession ended with a climb up a hill of almost 40 feet. On top of this hill they mounted the tallest cross in western Africa, which extends 49 feet from base to top. Here the faithful prayed for peace and for forgiveness of the crimes committed against the people.
The Bishops, wishing to foster love of the Virgin Mary and to honor the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, dedicated 2017 as a Marian Year. Included in the year of celebration, they planned a three-day, 3rd annual Marian Congress with a special re-consecration of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. (Nigeria was first consecrated to the Immaculate Heart by the country’s Catholic Bishops conference on October 1, 1960). The Congress and re-consecration took place in Benin City, capital of Edo State, on October 13, 2017, the centenary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima.
It is both inspiring and edifying to learn how the leadership prepared their flock for the re-consecration of the country. Recognizing the urgency of the times, the culmination of the Congress was to consist not only in the re-consecration of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but also in individuals’ consecration to her Immaculate Heart. The bishops asked the parishes across the country to participate in a 33-day preparatory prayer, from September 8 to October 10, preceding the re-consecration of the country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Each day was dedicated to a title or event in the life of the Blessed Virgin beginning with a hymn, opening prayer, followed by the rosary and a reading from Scripture reading, and ending with a pre-consecration prayer of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart, asking Our Lady for help to renew and rectify “the vows of our Baptism, rejecting Satan and all his works and empty promises.”
According to theologian Garrigou-Lagrange, personal Marian Consecration to Our Lady occupies the highest place among Marian devotions. The Marian seed was planted in the early church when the faithful were accustomed to pray to Our Lady for Her protection, entrusting themselves to her care. The seedling began to sprout and blossom throughout the centuries and flowered with the teaching of St. Louis de Montfort in the early 18th (or eighteenth) century with his teaching of “True Devotion to Mary” and his program of Marian Consecration. St. Maximilian Kolbe fervently promoted Marian Consecration and founded the Militia of the Immaculate to further the devotion.
This practice has been highly recommended by various popes of the Church. On the 50th anniversary of Fatima, May 13, 1967, Bl. Pope Paul VI urged all members of the Church to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The motto of Pope St. John Paul II, Totus Tuus, was inspired by total consecration to Mary. In his Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, issued on October 16, 2002, John Paul II stated, “The more a soul is consecrated to her (Mary), more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ.” These exhortations of the Vicars of Christ emphasize the importance of Marian consecration.
The Fatima apparitions were perhaps one of heaven’s clearest and most authoritative calls for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One of the main messages of Our Lady of Fatima was both Our Lord and Our Lady’s desire for consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On October 22, 1940 when World War II was raging, Our Lord Himself confirmed His desire for Marian consecration when He responded to a question Sr. Lucia had asked in prayer. He said: “Tribulation will grow. I shall punish the nations for their crimes with war, famine, persecution of My Church, persecution, which will fall especially on him who is My Vicar on earth. His Holiness will obtain the shortening of these days of tribulation if he meets my wishes and makes the act of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary of the entire world with special mention of Russia.”
The three-hour Holy Mass of Re-Consecration of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, celebrated at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital Field (U.B.T.H.), began at 10:00 a.m. on October 13, 2017. Leading the special prayer for Nigeria at the huge gathering of clergy, religious, lay faithful and non-Catholic Christians, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and the Chief celebrant at the Holy Mass of the event, the Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, in unison with his co-Bishops proclaimed thus:
We the Bishops of Nigeria, joined with the clergy, religious and the lay faithful today, re-consecrate our country Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In entrusting to you our country, O Mother We beg you to place it in your motherly heart. Help us to conquer the threat of evil Which so easily enters and takes root in the hearts of people today And whose immeasurable effects already weigh down upon our country, and seen to block the paths towards the future.
Archbishop Kaigama prophesied that “something great and good will happen to Nigeria and Nigerians” to which the huge crowd responded with a resounding: “Amen.”
Just before the 3:00 Divine Mercy Chaplet, a light rain fell for a few minutes. After the Chaplet was recited, an extraordinary phenomenon occurred in the sky: history repeated itself, exactly one hundred years to the day after the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Portugal! Between 30,000 and 55,000 people attended the Congress and all who gathered in this area witnessed this sign.
According to the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Cbcn facebook page, (added on October 15, 2017): “History has repeated itself here in Benin City, Nigeria during the National Marian Congress. Just like what happened 100 years ago at Fatima, Portugal reoccurred on 13th October 2017. What a great miracle from our mother Mary, Our Lady of Fatima.”
The sun surged and pulsated—growing larger, then smaller, dashing here and there. The brilliant globe displayed spectacular colors—colors luminously reflected on the people. According to the November 2017 edition of the Nigerian Diocesan Catholic newspaper, The Partner, “The size of the sun increased and decreased; its brightness also dimmed and brightened the more; its color alternated between egg yolk, pink, blue and white; its shape also interchangeably became oval and spherical as the sun dilated and finally took its normal composition.”
The miracle lasted from 20 to 40 minutes; staring at the solar spectacle for such a long time did not harm one’s eyes. The people responded with great excitement: there were great cries of joy, heart-felt prayers were offered, sobbing as tears glistened on cheeks, and the singing of hymns. A great many fell to their knees in gratitude, supplication and wonder, their jubilation filling the air:
The energy and gaiety with which the pilgrims danced around the massive statue of the Madonna and within the arena to the beautiful Marian tunes was awesome. The unexpected vision automatically prompted the pilgrims comprising men and women, boys and girls, young and old to form groups of praise singers to the glory of God but particularly in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Songs like “Our Blessed Mother, Oh Mary ooo…,” “Carry me dey go, Mama Mary carry me dey go, dey go, dey go…” spontaneously sounded from their hearts.
It is to their credit that the Nigerian Bishops planned this celebration with a preparation that involved all the dioceses and their parishioners. This program drew down a blessing of affirmation from heaven. Our Lord Himself asked that the entire human race be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Holy Fathers have also encouraged the practice. St. Maximilian Kolbe said: “However, assumed into heaven, the Mother of God now requires our cooperation. She seeks souls who will consecrate themselves entirely to her, who will become in her hands effective instruments for the defeat of Satan and the spreading of God’s kingdom upon earth.” It behooves the faithful to consider making this act of consecration themselves; through this act, Mary our Immaculate Mother will draw them closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and will hasten the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.
Accounts of Eyewitnesses
Following are eyewitness accounts related by various individuals of the events which unfolded at Benin City, Nigeria, on October 13, 2017, of the day of the Nigerian Bishop’s re-consecration of their country to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
1. A remarkable thing happened on the 13th of October, 2017, between 3:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., at the field where the celebration took place. The Holy Mass ended around 2:00 p.m., after the Post- Communion prayer and the prayer to re-consecrate Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary were said. Participants went for a lunch break to reassemble at 3:00 p.m. for the Divine Mercy prayer and other activities. Fortunately or unfortunately, it started raining some minutes before three o’clock. My community members including myself were unable to take part in the Divine Mercy prayer as scheduled because of the rain, as we had to trek for about ten minutes before we reached the venue for the celebration. But we started heading to the venue immediately after the rain stopped, and we were there around 3:25 p.m.
I was sitting with other religious men and women under the canopy reserved for us when, suddenly, I heard and saw the Christian faithful screaming and pointing at the sun. Initially, I did not take them seriously. I said within me, “Oh my goodness, all these fake seers have come again, trying to make caricature of this celebration and the solemn prayers we have said.” Subsequently, my fellow sisters from the same congregation sitting in front, behind, and by my side started screaming too. The sister beside me, noticing I was neither reacting nor observing the sun tapped me and said, “Oh sister seeoooo! Our Blessed Mother has shown us Her maternal blessings, the sign that our prayers have been answered.” That was the time I became convinced that something was actually happening. For over a decade I could not look directly at the sun for half a second without it blinding my eyes for not less than three hours. So I did not attempt to look at the sun at all, until one of my community members… said, “Sista, welu anya nke muo lee ya, I ga afu ya.” This literally means, “Sister take the spiritual eyes to look; you will see it”— [that is]: use the eyes of faith to observe what we are observing, [and] you will see the miracle. Her saying boosted my faith… so I looked directly at the sun.
Believe me; what I saw was beyond my comprehension and explanation. It was awesome. The sun was kind of, will I say, moving or dancing or shaking. In fact, I lack words to describe how the sun was manifesting itself at that point in time. It changed to many colors: red, blue, yellow, purple… as much I could figure out or remember. What surprised me was that I was able to look directly at the sun for more than ten minutes without blinking, yet I was neither blinded, as I usually experienced in the past, nor [were there] any side effects.
Indeed, our Blessed Mother visited us at Benin City [as] evidenced by the miracle of the sun. A sign that our prayers and re-consecration of our country, Nigeria, was accepted. The Fatima miraculous dancing sun repeated itself exactly a century after it occurred. To God be the glory.
Sr. Maureen Cecilia Maduawia, I.H.M.
2. I give thanks to God the Father almighty for giving me the opportunity to be present at the apparition ground in Benin City in Nigeria, at the just concluded Third Marian Congress and the Re-consecration of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Because it helps my faith to reaffirm the message of Fatima and even more, the… importance that the holy mother Church attaches to it.
At the insistent shouting of the Pilgrims present at the Congress, at about 3:20 p.m., shortly after the recitation of the Divine Chaplet, which had witnessed a brief rainfall, I was compelled to look [in] the direction of the cries. It was then that I noticed immediately the unusual change of the atmosphere around us, the change in the color of the sky and the sublime flashings of light from the sun, like lightening. Enthused, I decided to focus intently on the Sun, which was very bright and was emitting colors around its globe; it was spinning and dazzling, but without hurting my eyes. It was awesome; it was the miracle of the Sun. It was a reoccurrence of that which had happened earlier at Fatima on the 13th of October, 1917, exactly 100 years ago. At the end of the apparition, it dawned on me that it was the miracle of the Sun, our Lady's sign to us who have recourse to Her maternal mediation.
To God be the glory! In the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Fr. Gabriel Maria Udogu F.I.
3. The program was going on and suddenly the weather changed. In fact, I told someone by my side that I [had] a feeling Our Lady wants to appear; and as if I knew it immediately the cloud started to change: light showers fell and stopped. The wind also came on, and immediately we all left our places under the canopies, and we began to look up at the clouds, because [the sun] was changing in colors. Everyone fixed their eyes [on the sun] and were at prayer asking for her [Our Lady’s] intercession. I saw it! [I am not sure whether to] call it image or structure, but as one looked one saw it well that it was her… We were all calling out at her and telling her our problems. It was a great experience…
4. It’s my first time of experiencing the miracle of the dancing sun. It was at the occasion of the official national closing ceremony of the Marian year in Nigeria. The venue was Uniben field in Edo State on October 13, 2017. It happened around 4:00 p.m... I heard screams from those praying around the statue of Mary. I saw them all looking at the sky and shouting and praying with excitement. I looked up and saw what they saw! The dancing sun emitting different colorful rays. I looked at it directly, excited, and became emotional. Tears flowed freely from my eyes, I instinctively dropped on my knees, sobbing and praying. Thank you, Mother Mary, for this wonderful experience. Earlier in the day you had worked a miracle for me by providing a standby soapy bleach cleanser to clean my red oil stained habit in a situation that would have been embarrassing and difficult.
You surely heard me when after Mass I [said] that I would love to experience the miracle of the dancing sun at the Uniben Marian pilgrimage. Mother Mary, Mother of Jesus. You are a true and natural phenomenon. No wonder Catholics all over the world keep praying through your intercession despite criticism and attack from non-Catholics. If they have the same experience that we [had], they will shift their notion of you. That’s certain! It’s important to note that this very day [marked] the 100th anniversary of the last apparition in Fatima to Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us…
5. Immediately after the 3:00 p.m. Divine Mercy prayers, there were brief showers of rain. Then came sudden brightness of the sun, which was hitherto hidden behind layers of dark cloud. We also observed rather surprisingly the mysterious shooting of the sun forward and backward. Intermittently emitting of powerful bluish and golden colors of light from “Our Lady clothed with the Sun.” The sight was indescribably beautiful.
We were busy staring at the bright sun steadily for more than twenty minutes without blinking an eye even for a second! People around us were dazzling and reflecting these bluish and golden colors on their dresses and faces. What a mystery! More than 30,000 people inside the arena were seen peering at “the dancing of the sun” bewildered. The miracle lasted for more than 45 minutes after which there was heavy downpour which the Bishops present said [were] “showers of blessing.”
Bro. Joseph Obiemeka Azih, K.S.M.
6. After the holy Mass which started by 10:00 a.m. and lasted for about 3hours, there was downpour, about 30 minutes after the Mass, then the Divine Mercy prayers by 3:00 p.m. At about 3:45 p.m., there appeared some strange view on the sun. Suddenly, the bright dazzling sun turned into [a] sky-blue color sun (beautiful), that made it easy to look [directly at] the same sun. And I saw the sun dancing, turning round. After some minutes, it [stopped and started] again as if it was amusing us… The miracle lasted for about 40mins. It was awesome! I saw and believed that our Lady is real.
Sr. Mary Rose-Scholastica Obiekwe, I.H.M.
7. When I saw the miracle of the sun, I shouted, “Mother Mary! If this is you, please let me see you.” Behold I was overtaken by an irresistible force that forced me on [my] knees and, behold, there in the sky was Mother Mary in different colors and the host, white in color; and I believe our Lord Jesus Christ was in that host.
Sr. Prisca Asiegbu
8. I witnessed the miracle of the dancing sun. The sun was increasing and decreasing in size, and as well changing different colors. I observed that while looking at it, it was not harmful to the eye, even though it shone brighter than [the] normal sun… The manifestation only happened in the field, and not in any other place around the venue… As the sun was zooming in and out, all the people were praising and singing different hymns of Mary, especially those locally composed hymns that express joy, confidence and faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary. I joined in this wonderful faith expression of faith, and was also praying as well, especially, thanking her for hearing the prayers of her children and accepting our consecration of Nigeria to her Immaculate Heart. Glory to Jesus, Honor to Mary!
9. With my own eyes, I saw the sun shining brightly [with an] intensity that I have never seen before… [Afterward,] the sun was dancing, revolving and displaying many beautiful colors such as blue, red and purple. After some minutes or perhaps an hour and some minutes of dancing, the sun displayed a white color [like a] cloud. Then, the most extraordinary thing happened to me: I saw her beautiful, shinning and unimaginable face. Words are not enough to express her beauty. I have usually been told, and have read about her showing herself to different saints; this occurred to me as well… I still have those memories living in me; it helps my faith, and [I will] never forget.
10. After the Divine Mercy prayer was recited we went for lunch, and on my way coming back to the field for the next program, I saw people from afar shouting, wailing and running. I thought that there was a fire out-break, [and so] I started running toward the place; but to my disappointment, it was not [a] fire accident, it was to my greatest surprise a miracle of the sun. I saw the sun, and there [were] different colurs coming out from it. It was so bright, and big. I felt so happy and blessed, especially as the Blessed Virgin Mary gave me the opportunity to see her clearly with her crown of twelve stars in the sun waving at us. I was so touched, and I was shedding tears. I began to also think of my sins, and [I desired] not to commit them again. After the moment, I joined the people in singing and dancing to honor her and shouting her name. Later, the sun joined with the cloud. Immediately after the apparition, the rain started again, and the Priest told everybody to go back to their seats for the next program... I thank God that throughout the days we spent there, there was no cause [for] alarm, and we also journeyed back home safely.
11. I heard a noise which attracted so many people to the arena. Everybody started pointing to the sun. Then I looked up and, behold, I saw the sun revolving and emanating beautiful colors, and the apparition of Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Our Mother Mary took place in the sun. I saw her in her glory [the answer to] our prayers and our consecration to her Immaculate Heart. She stretched her hand as a sign of receiving our prayers and her children away from [the] crises in which we found ourselves as a nation.
This miracle makes me believe more that we truly have a Mother who really cares for us. Also, it makes me believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church with [an] authentic and divine foundation, and [it inspires me] to be more prayerful and more devoted and to cultivate the habit of attending every prayer gathering.
[The following text is to be included in an inset to be placed at some point near where the article discusses Boko Haram]
A Bishop Responds to an Invitation from Heaven
Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of the diocese of Maiduguri in Northeastern Nigeria has seen his flock suffer extensively because of the violent insurgence of Boko Haram (Boko Haram means: “Western education is sinful”). Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, has been the center of activity for the radical Islamist group. In 2009, the same year Bishop Doeme was consecrated Bishop of Maiduguri, the movement launched a violent uprising, killing many and wreaking havoc in this part of Nigeria. Boko Haram replenishes its bank accounts through extortion, bank robberies, ransom payments from kidnappings and other such criminal actions.
Most distressed about the situation of his flock, at the end of the year 2014 he fervently prayed the Rosary before the Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament, seeking His help, guidance and consolation. As he was praying, he received a vision from the Lord. “Jesus appeared to him, and handed the bishop a sword which, as soon as he received it, turned into a rosary. Jesus then repeated the words: ‘Boko Haram is gone.’ Bishop Doeme decided at once that this was an invitation to spread devotion to the Rosary. So he began doing just that.” With urgency, he wrote a letter to his flock asking them to pray the Rosary and attend Rosary Processions everywhere: in families, schools and parishes. “He told the people of his vast diocese in Muslim-controlled Northern Nigeria to believe “that the Rosary would ultimately give us victory over this evil. Boko Haram is evil, ISIS is evil. So as long as we go to a place with His Mother, especially by praying the Rosary, which is the most pronounced form of Marian devotion, we will be victorious.” At his own residence, he holds a Rosary Procession every evening; and if he is unable to attend, he designates another priest to lead it. Additionally, Holy Mass is offered every Saturday throughout the diocese in honor of the Virgin Mary.
Recent statistics show that Boko Haram has been pushed back to the Sambisa forest and is losing most of the territory it once gained. Happily, some of the displaced persons have been able to resettle in their homes. Bishop Doeme is crediting Our Lady and the Rosary for this miracle. He told the Catholic Herald, “Before, Boko Haram members were everywhere. But now they are not everywhere. They have been pushed to the forests. Boko Haram will soon fizzle out, mostly because of the prayers of the people.” The faithful continue to storm heaven, imploring Our Lady’s intercession for the total eradication of the terrorist movement, confident in her maternal care and the power of the Holy Rosary.
Act of Consecration of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
The following is the text of the Act of Consecration of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary made by the Bishops of Nigeria on October 13, 2017.
“We have recourse to your protection, O holy Mother of God.”
As we recite the words of this antiphon with which the Church has prayed for centuries, we find ourselves today before you, our Mother, in this Marian Year. We, who make up the Body of Christ present in our land Nigeria, recite the words of this present Act of Consecration and Entrustment, in which we gather, first of all, the hopes and anxieties of our Nigerian people at this moment of our history.
Mother of our people, we rejoice in the name, “Our Lady Queen of Nigeria.” We Nigerians love you and so we call you our Queen and Mother. You know all our sufferings and our hopes. You have a mother’s awareness of all the struggles between good and evil, between light and darkness, love and hatred, which afflict the world today. Mother of our people, accept the cry which we, deeply moved by the Holy Spirit, address directly to your Immaculate Heart.
Embrace, with the love of the Mother and Handmaid of the Lord, our people and our land, which now we entrust and consecrate to you. We are truly concerned for the earthly and eternal destiny of every individual among us and for all our people. “We have recourse to your protection, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petition in our necessities.”
Behold, as we gather before you, Mother of Christ, as we gather before your Immaculate Heart, we desire, the Church of the Lord in our land, joined in heart and mind with all our people, to unite ourselves with the consecration which, for love of us, your Son made of himself to the Father. “For their sake,” he said, “I consecrate myself so that they also may be consecrated in the truth.” We wish to unite ourselves with our Redeemer in his consecration for the world and for the entire human race, which, in his divine Heart, has the power to obtain pardon and to secure reparation.
The power of this consecration by your Son, Our Lord, lasts for all time and embraces all individuals, peoples and nations. Thus it also embraces our people and our land. The power of this consecration overcomes every evil that the spirit of darkness is able to awaken, and has, in fact, awakened in our times, in the hearts of men and women in human history.
How deeply we now feel the need for the consecration of our people, in union with Christ Jesus. For the redeeming work of our Redeemer must be shared in and by the world, and by our own people, through the Church.
We turn to you, Mother of our Redeemer and our Mother: above all creatures may you be blessed, you, the Handmaid of the Lord, who in the fullest way obeyed the divine call. Hail to you, who are wholly united to the redeeming consecration of your Son.
Mother of the Church, enlighten the People of God along the path of faith, hope and love. Help us to live in the truth of the consecration offered by Jesus your Son, for the entire human family and for us, the Nigerian people, and for our beloved land.
We the Bishops of Nigeria, joined with the clergy, religious and the lay faithful today to re-consecrate our country Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In entrusting to you our country, O Mother, we beg you to place it in your motherly heart. Help us to conquer the threat of evil which so easily enters and takes root in the hearts of people today and whose immeasurable effects already weight down upon our country, and seem to block the paths towards the future.
From hatred, violence and conflict which divide and destroy our people, deliver us. From tribalism, ethnicity, sectionalism and nepotism, deliver us. From bribery, corruption and stealing of public funds, deliver us. From sins against human life, from its very beginning, deliver us. From the menace of kidnappers and ritualists, deliver us. From religious bigotry and attendant criminality, deliver us. From the demeaning of the dignity of the children of God, deliver us. From every kind of injustice in the life of society, deliver us. From readiness to trample on the commandments of God, deliver us. From the loss of awareness of good and evil, deliver us. From sins against the Holy Spirit, deliver us.
Accept, O Mother of Christ, this cry laden with the hopes and burdens, the sufferings of each one of us, and of all our people. Help us, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to overcome and conquer all sin. May it destroy the power of sin, evil and division among us! May it transform consciences to care and love of neighbor! May your Immaculate Heart reveal for all in our land and through all the world, the light of hope!
We resolve to imitate your exemplary life, we renounce our past faults and offenses, we reject Satan, all his works and empty promises, we resolve to uphold the tenets of the faith.
O Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, pray for us.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for us.
Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, pray for us.
 Marian Year 2017 program, 33 Days Preparatory Prayer for the Re-consecration of Nigeria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, September 8 – October 10, 2017.
 Cd. Arthur Burton Calkins, Totus Tuus, (New Bedford, MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2017), 111.
 Ibid., 58.
 Ibid., 99-100
 Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Newspaper, The Partner, November, 2017.
 Editor’s note: While indicating the favorable dispositions of the Bishops of Nigeria, the appearance of a post on the Bishops’ facebook page and articles in diocesan newspapers reporting the events of October 13, 2017, at Benin City, Nigeria, do not in themselves constitute an official statement of recognition by the Nigerian Bishops in regard to the supernatural character (or otherwise) of the phenomena observed in the sky by many present at the Marian Congress that day. The Church always exercises due reserve when examining and passing judgment on such signs, a judgment ultimately resting in the hands of the proper ecclesiastical authority. This proper reserve, however, does not in any way diminish the value of the eyewitness accounts provided here and especially the authentic manifestations of faith clearly brought about by this course of events—such faith which all true heavenly signs aim to elicit as lasting fruit.
 “Mama Mary carry me dey go...” (Pigin English) is a popular slang expression peculiar to Nigerians. It means, “Mother Mary, please take me to yourself, or carry me along with you, or I give you all myself.” It is an expression of contentment with and total entrustment to Our Lady.
 Cf. Catholic Diocese of Ijebu Ode, The Partner, Vol. 4, No. 30 (November, 2017), p. 10.