Fifty bishops led by a papal team would be at the mass funeral of the two priest and parishioners killed in Mbalon community in Gwer East local government area of Benue state.
The mass burial will take place on Tuesday, May 22, at 10 am.
Punch reports that there will be a simultaneous celebration of Catholic masses across Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory on the said day.
Also, Christians across the nation will embark on a procession as a mark of solidarity with the Makurdi diocese on the event.
Speaking on the forthcoming event, the director of communications at the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Reverend Father Moses Iorapuu on Saturday, May 20 said the date of the mass burial was chosen by the bishops’ conference in Rome.
Iorapuu said the chosen date coincides with the date the anti-open grazing law was passed by the Benue State House of Assembly.
“The local church here (Benue) was under attack as the bishops were in a conference in Rome; so the Pope got primary information,” Iorapuu said.
It was there the decision was taken with the local church and they fixed the burial for May 22. All the bishops agreed, the divine coincidence of this is that it was May 22, 2017 that the anti-open grazing bill was passed by the state assembly.
Exactly after one year, this is what we have to show; the priests and many others who were killed. The bishops will be here in their numbers but what they have done is to be sure that the burial has wider coverage and wider participation,” he said.
He added that all the diocese across Nigeria have been directed to organise vigils and at 10am on Tuesday, May 22, there would be a simultaneous celebration across the country in solidarity with the Makurdi diocese over those killed.
“Some bishops will be leading ceremonies, others will be coming. The Pope’s representative in Nigeria will be present. The Abuja Archbishop, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has also arranged that there should be a well-organised procession in Abuja,” he noted.
It was earlier reported that there were impromptu protests in major areas of Makurdi, the Benue state capital.
The protest followed the killing of two Catholic priest and 17 parishioners at the at St Ignatius Quasi Parish.
The victims were said to have been killed by some suspected herdsmen.