By SAM OTTI
Palpable fear has gripped the entire parishioners of Catholic Diocese of Enugu following a midnight attack on St Leo The Great Catholic Church on Monday. An unidentified group broke into the church and destroyed the altar, where the sacrifice of the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ was being celebrated and venerated.
The hoodlums committed sacrilege by smashing holy statues in the church, tearing the sacred clothes on the altar and destroying seats meant for the priests and other worshippers in the church. However, they were unable to gain access to the Holy Tabernacle that houses the Holy Eucharist (Body and Blood of Christ). The attack came barely few weeks after a similar attack was recorded at Seat of Wisdom Parish, Abakpa, Enugu, where sacred materials were destroyed. The attackers left a message on the wall, warning the church against idolatry.
Efforts made by our reporter to speak with the priest in-charge of the St Leo The Great Parish, Monsignor Prof Obiora Ike, who is also the Director of the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), was not successful. He failed to pick repeated calls to his mobile phone and equally didn’t respond to the message sent to him, informing him of the purpose of the call. However, a priest serving in the diocese, Revd Fr Paulinus Ike Ogara, confirmed the incident. He told Daily Sun that the attackers left monumental damage in the church, as they cut the electrical installations in the area, destroyed the public address system that served the worshippers.
According to him, they left a warning on the wall of the church, warning against the worship of idols. Ogara, who was the former Editor-in-Chief of The Shepherd Newspaper, said the church was being attacked by unknown enemies and warned the perpetrators of the dastardly act to beware of God’s wrath. “Terrorists are public enemies.
We must put up a good fight in order to cope with the situation,”he said. Investigations by our reporter revealed that members of the Catholic Church had been sleeping with their eyes open, following incessant attack on the church. Recently, St. Theresa Catholic Cathedral, Nsukka, a few miles away from Enugu, banned bringing bags into the church.
According to the report, the Cathedral Administrator, Revd Fr. Uche Obodoechina, said the ban would commence on September 9. Motorists have also been banned from parking in the church premises and commercial motorcyclists restricted to a designated space within the compound.