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Saint John Paul II was twice a pilgrim to Nigeria: in 1982 and 1998, for the beatification of Father Cyprian Tansi.

Papa Benedict XVI: 'Nigerians have a special place in my heart, as so many have been victims of senseless violence in recent months.' (7.01.13)

Nigeria has 3 Cardinals: Francis Arinze, from Onitsha, proclaimed a Cardinal by JPII in the consistory of 25 May 1985, now Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, from Lagos, proclaimed a Cardinal by JPII in the consistory of 21 October 2003; John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, created a Cardinal by BXVI on 24 November 2012.

So many Nigerians have generously given responses to Totus2us podcasts (a beautiful witness to the great faith in Nigeria), they are shown here alphabetically by Christian name: beginning with A - J and K - Z - many thanks to you all   ♥

St John Paul II's Consecration of Nigeria to Mary
14 February 1982 - in English, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"O Mother of men and of peoples, you who were present in the Church at the beginning of her mission, intercede for her that, walking through the whole world, she may continue to teach all nations and proclaim the Gospel to every creature!

It is with these words, already pronounced in Rome to greet you on the Solemnity of Pentecost last year, in union with the Bishops of the whole world, that I desire to greet you today, O Mother of God, O Theotokos, together with the Bishops of the Church in Nigeria, the country that I have the gift of visiting at the moment.

To you, Mother of the Church, I want to entrust and consecrate in a special way the Church which is in Nigeria, just as on the feast of Pentecost I entrusted and consecrated to you the Church spread among all the nations and all the peoples of the earth, yes, the Church and the whole world.

In this act of consecration, which I make today, I entrust to you all those who live and work in this African continent, all of whom the heavenly Father has loved eternally in Jesus Christ and whom he wills to save through Christ’s blood shed on the Cross.

O Mother of the Church! May the priests just ordained, sons of this land, “chosen from among men”, become for the good of everyone true “ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God”. May they carry forward the apostolic work begun here by the missionaries some generations ago.

The Word of God, through the action of the Holy Spirit, became flesh in your virginal womb. May the word of God now grow and spread for the salvation of all the world. Amen."

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Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria. - St Louis de Montfort

Pope St John Paul II took his motto Totus Tuus from this quote.

"I am totally yours and all that I have is yours.
I accept you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.”

Papa Giovanni Paolo II's reflection on his 1998 pilgrimage to Nigeria
General Audience, Wednesday 25 March 1998 - in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. I give thanks to the Lord who a few days ago allowed me to return to the beloved African continent for a brief but eventful visit to Nigeria. In the Church Africa is taking more and more initiative for her own history and is becoming co-responsible for the progress of the whole People of God.

In Nigeria I met a vibrant Church which recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of her first evangelization and is advancing with determination towards the Year 2000, inspired and guided by the directives of the recent African Synod. New diocesan and parish communities have grown up there in recent years. The number of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life is increasing: three new seminaries have been opened, in addition to the eight which already exist. All this is the work of the Holy Spirit, who has given life to the Church in Nigeria during the past 100 years and continues to support her as she faces the future.

2. I thank the Head of State and the other civil authorities for their welcome. I hope that this exceptional spiritual event will help further the process of reconciliation in justice and of full respect for the human rights of every member of the Nigerian people.

I express my fraternal gratitude to the country's Bishops for the witness of communion and affection which they and the priests, religious, catechists and all the lay faithful offered to the Successor of Peter. To each one I renew my "thank you" and my embrace of peace.

I respectfuly greet the followers of other religions, especially the Muslims, who have a prominent place in this country. I extend my heartfelt greetings to the entire Nigerian people.

3. During my stay in Nigeria, in addition to visiting the country's officials, I was able to meet the Bishops, hard-working Pastors of the Christian people. I also cherish memories of my meeting with the most important representatives of Islam, with whom I wanted to stress the importance of the spiritual bonds linking Christians and Muslims: faith in the one merciful God, the commitment to seeking and doing his will, the value of every person as created by God with a special destiny, religious freedom and the ethic of solidarity. I pray the Lord that Christians and Muslims, both of whom are numerous in Nigeria, may work together in defending life as well as in promoting the effective recognition of each individual's human rights.

4. Another important moment in my Pastoral Visit was the Holy Mass in Abuja, the country's new federal capital. In the heart of the black continent, with the Bishops, the clergy and the faithful, I raised a great prayer for Africa, that it may experience justice, peace and development; that it may preserve its most genuine values, its love for life and the family, for solidarity and community life. I prayed that Africa, inhabited by countless ethnic groups, may become a family of peoples, as the Lord wants the whole world to be: a family of nations. The Gospel is the leaven of authentic peace and unity.

The Church proclaims this "good news" of salvation to the ends of the earth and encourages the commitment to justice, peace, the integral development of society and respect for the basic rights of the person.

It was for this reason that the missionaries, the first evangelizers of the African continent, gave their lives; for this same cause many Nigerians have devoted their lives, like Fr Tansi, and many others after him have answered the Lord's call and now co-operate in the new evangelization in their homeland and in other parts of the world. The Church never ceases to give thanks to God for this mysterious exchange of gifts, the fruit of the Holy Spirit's effective and universal action.

5. The culminating moment of my apostolic pilgrimage was the solemn Eucharistic celebration for the beatification of Fr Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi, which took place in Onitsha, his native city.

This event communicated a lofty message of holiness, reconciliation and hope, wonderfully combined in Fr Tansi's witness. His whole apostolate drew strength from the Eucharist: he celebrated Holy Mass with visible fervour of faith and love and adored the Blessed Sacrament for hours and hours, absorbed in contemplation.

During these extended times of prayer, the Lord drew him ever closer, letting him perceive more and more clearly his call to the contemplative life. At the age of 47 he left for England, where he entered the Cistercian Abbey of Mount St Bernard. He was unable to return to his homeland and establish a monastic community there, as was his desire and plan. Death prevented him from doing so, but his witness, made fruitful by prayer and sacrifice, is the precious and vital seed which has not failed to yield abundant fruit.

6. Fr Tansi is the first witness to the Christian faith in Nigeria to have been raised to the honours of the altar. For this reason it is natural to think of him as the "protomartyr" of that nation: not because he was martyred, but in the sense that he offered an unswerving witness of love, spending his whole life in the service of God and of his brothers and sisters.

In the history of the Church, the protomartyrs are significant for the growth of the community of believers and for evangelization. We think, for example, of the first martyrs of Rome and of those in many other countries where the faith sprang from their heroic witness. The beatification of Fr Tansi is not only a recognition of his holiness and the spiritual climate in which he matured to the point of reaching the perfection of union with God and his brethren; it is also a harbinger and sign of hope for the future development of the Church in Nigeria and Africa.

7. May the new blessed intercede so that a just and sincere spirit of reconciliation may grow in Nigerian society and in all African countries, and that the Gospel message may be more and more widely spread. May there be an increase in mutual understanding, the source of peace, joy and unity in families. May solidarity in justice be strengthened, because this is the way to achieve the harmonious development of every nation.

We entrust these wishes to the Blessed Virgin, whom the liturgy today has us contemplate in the mystery of the Annunciation. The Holy Spirit prompted her to say her "fiat" to God and formed the incarnate Word in her womb. The same Spirit has made fruitful the tireless missionary work of Christ's Apostles and witnesses down the ages in every corner of the earth.

In contemplating Mary, the image of fidelity and obedience, we are all invited today generously to accept the divine call and to give our faithful and definitive "yes" to the Lord's will, so that everywhere his saving plan may be fulfilled.

May Our Lady of the Annunciation, whom we celebrate today, make us docile and courageous servants of the Word who took flesh in her for the salvation of every human being."