“The pope learned of the attack on the church in Ondo, Nigeria, and the death of dozens of faithful, many children, during the celebration of Pentecost,” Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See press office, said in the June 5 statement.
“While the details of the incident are being clarified, Pope Francis prays for the victims and for the country, painfully affected in a moment of celebration, and entrusts both to the Lord, to send his Spirit to comfort them.”
The Catholic Diocese of Ondo said on Sunday that local Bishop Jude Ayodeji Arogundade appealed to Catholics to “remain calm, be law-abiding and pray for peace and normalcy to return to our community, state, and country.”
“It is Pentecost Sunday when every Catholic is expected to be in church to commemorate the solemnity,” said a June 5 statement signed by Father Augustine Ikwu, head of the diocesan directorate of social communications.
“It is sad to say that while the Holy Mass was going on, unknown gunmen attacked St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, leaving many feared dead and many others injured and the church violated.”
“The identity of the perpetrators remains unknown while the situation has left the community devastated.”