Pope Francis has lamented Sunday’s terrorist attack on St. Francis Xavier Church in Owo, Ondo State, where the gunmen killed dozens and injured many others.
Pope offered his condolences to the victims of a terror attack and sent his prayer through Matteo Bruni, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, on Sunday.
“Prays for the victims and for the country, painfully attacked at a time of celebration, and he entrusts everyone to the Lord, that God might send His Spirit to console them,” Vatican News quoted Pope Francis as praying.
Also, Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade, of the Diocese of Ondo, expressed his closeness to the victims and their families, according to Fr. Augustine Ikwu, the Communications Director for the diocese.
Fr. Ikwu said fears were rising that many more people might die from their wounds as he lamented that the Church had been “violated.”
He denied initial reports on social media that the attackers had kidnapped the priest and other members of the congregation.
“All the priests in the parish are safe and none was kidnapped,” said Fr. Ikwu in a press release. “The Bishop of the Diocese is also with them at this trying time.”
He added that the Bishop also urged Catholics to “remain calm, be law-abiding, and pray for peace and normalcy to return to our community, state, and country.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, via a statement he issued in response to the attack, also expressed condolences for the families of the victims and ordered emergency agencies to assist the injured.
“No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light. Nigeria will eventually win,” read the President’s statement.