Date: July 23, 2022
By Valkyrie Armstrong
Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Last week, ICC reported on two Catholic priests who were kidnapped in Kaduna State, Nigeria, on Friday, July 15. Unfortunately, ICC has since received news that one of the two Catholic priests was murdered that same day.
The priests, Father John Mark Cheitnum and Father Denatus Cleopas, were kidnapped from Christ the King Catholic Church last Friday around 6PM. Father Denatus Cleopas was able to escape the kidnappers, but Father John Mark didn’t make it out. His murder was discovered on Tuesday, July 19, not far from the place the priests were abducted.
Father Mark’s death is a great loss to the community as he was parish priest, director of communications of the diocese, and Chairman of the Association of Nigeria.
The Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese, Father Emmanuel Uchechukwu Okolo, announced that the priest’s funeral will be held on July 21 and has requested two days of morning. Father Okolo has called for everyone to join in prayer and “refrain from taking the laws into their hands.”
The affiliation of the kidnappers is still unknown, but it is clear that abductions and killings of priests has been on the rise. According to a Catholic nonprofit, Aid to the Church in Need, approximately seven priests have been kidnapped in Nigeria in July alone. Since the start of 2022, 20 Nigerian priests have been abducted.
Please keep Father Mark’s family and community in your prayers.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for peace for Father John Mark’s family and Father Denatus. Pray for their kidnappers to come to know the love of Christ. Pray for an end to abductions in this region.