In a historic event which took place at the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, Pro-Cathedral, Garki, Abuja, the new Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, today, 27th August 2020, received a new Pallium for a second time as Archbishop of Abuja at the hands of the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, His Excellency, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazi thus, becoming the first Nigerian Archbishop to receive the Pallium twice, the first, being as Archbishop of Jos Archdiocese, and also the first Nigerian Archbishop to receive the Pallium here in Nigeria.
The ceremony began with the profession of faith and taking of the oath of allegiance to the Holy See by the receiving Archbishop, after which a simple ceremony of investiture was performed by the Pope’s representative, Archbishop Filipazi, the Papal Nuncio.
In his homily at the Mass, the Papal Nuncio clearly explained the meaning and significance of the Pallium, which includes an expression of Communion with the Supreme Pontiff. He also added that the Archbishop who bears the Pallium upon his shoulders has the task of leading his particular Archdiocese and the suffragan dioceses in his province to be in complete Communion with the Holy Mother Church. Speaking further on the significance of the Pallium especially to the recipient Archbishop, the Nuncio charged Archbishop Kaigama to imitate Jesus the Good Shepherd who goes after his lost sheep. He also stated that the Pallium should constantly remind him of the call of Jesus who commands us to take his yoke upon our shoulders.
The Pallium is a special vestments made of wool from sheep raised by trappist monks and woven by Benedictine nuns. It is worn over the neck of an Archbishop with Metropolitan Authority, signifying his responsibility as Shepherd and a sign of his Communion with the Holy See. Previously, the newly appointed Archbishops across the world go to Rome to receive the Pallium from the hands of the Holy Father on the Solemnity of Sainst Peter and Paul but in 2015, Pope Francis directed that henceforth, the Pallium imposition should be done in the local church of the recipient in other to offer the faithful in the local church the opportunity to take part in the ceremony. Between then (2015) and now, Archbishop Kaigama has been the only new Archbishop to an Archdiocese, making him the first Archbishop to receive the Pallium here in Nigeria.
Goodwill messages to the new Archbishop of Abuja came from Archbishop Augustine Akubeze of Benin Archdiocese on behalf of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Bishop Anthony Adaji, MSP of Idah Diocese on behalf of the suffragan bishops of Abuja Ecclesiastical Province, Hon. Ogbonnaya Onu, Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, on behalf of the Government and People of Nigeria and Sir Charles Uwaonwa, KSJI, on behalf of the Laity Council of Abuja Ecclesiastical Province.
Congratulations to Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama and the Church of Abuja Archdiocese and Abuja Ecclesiastical Province at large.