The call has been made for more committed attention to the pastoral care of Nigerians who have mental and psychological challenges. Fr. Peter Babangida Audu recently made the appeal at a thanksgiving Mass to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his priestly ordination. The ceremony took place recently at Our Lady’s Catholic Church, Independence Way, in Kaduna.
Fr. Babangida who went down memory lane, giving gratitude to God and all those who have contributed to his priestly life-journey; noted that it had not been all a bed of Roses. The jubilarian expressed the wish to dedicate the remaining years of his priestly life to the pastoral care of those suffering from different social and psychological challenges and illnesses.
In his words: “… here in our country, Nigeria, we have not put human life first. We have in our communities, men, women, and children who have been abandoned. In our communities, addiction to alcohol, mental trauma, and several other emotional issues have become a widespread reality.” He continued, “Everyday, we see young people walking on the negative side of life, lonely, dispirited, without hope of a reasonable and fulfilling life. We see broken families in marriages that have failed; we stare at retired persons in the face as they (walk) our streets without focus -in pain and hopelessness,” said Fr. Babangida.
The priest regretted that society, especially those who could help restore these victims back to a healthy life, have abandoned them and tagged them, “useless”. He disclosed his determination is to dedicate the rest of his priestly ministry to assisting this sector of Nigerian society through the inauguration of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that he intends to establish soon. He called on the faithful to support his dream.
Speaking at the same event, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah commended Fr. Babangida's simple lifestyle. He praised him as a missionary of note and an ambassador with integrity.