AFRICA/NIGERIA - Cardinal Onaiyekan: "We must address the psychological suffering of Nigerians"

Monday, 27 November 2023 local churches   psychological counseling  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "People are facing difficulties, and there are many problems in our country now, so beyond spiritual support, we need to provide psychological support for the people", emphasizes Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja on the occasion of the start of construction work for the “Gaudium Et Spes Psycho-Spiritual Institute” on November 24th in the Nigerian capital. Speaking to journalists, Cardinal Onaiyekan said Nigerians are going through lots of challenges and difficulties and
the institute was therefore established to address both spiritual and psychological issues.
“The church has always impacted the lives of the people in many ways, we build schools to educate children and adults, health facilities to give physical treatment in hospitals, even the major job we do as religious leaders, we deal with the spiritual problem of the people,” he underlined.
“This particular project goes beyond health, education, the spiritual and the physical because it is also psycho-spiritual work to help people who not only have spiritual problems but have psychological problems.” Cardinal Onaiyekan explained that once the project is completed, it will cater to people with various social or psychological problems and that the Catholic community and the Church have specially trained several people who can respond to such needs. “This program,” he stressed, “will be a pilot project in the Archdiocese of Abuja, perhaps it will not remain the only one, but more priests will be trained to deal with these problems, especially now that Nigerians are going through difficult times. "It is necessary to give people a place where they can relax physically and spiritually". The current Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama, said at the laying of the foundation stone that the facility was named in honor of the late Cardinal Domenic Ekandem. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 27/11/2023)