REDISCOVERING THE PASTORAL ZEAL OF OUR FATHERS IN FAITH: THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE PASTORAL STRATEGIES OF LEON ALEXANDRE LEJEUNE (1900-1905) FOR NIGERIAN CHURCH TODAY

Vitalis Anaehobi

Abstract


A fundamental question prompted the writing of this article. Seeing the negative
attitudinal changes in the society which are progressively creeping into the Church and
into the life of the ministers of the gospel, seeing how some pastoral agents are gradually
becoming indolent and contented with the general attitude of levity in serious issues,
seeing how some pastoral agents are today lacking in zeal in discharging their duty, I am
obliged to ask: what could be done so that pastoral agents remain once again focused on
the God-given mission of catching souls for Christ? To answer this question, I took a
historical dive into the life of the early missionaries who evangelized the region formerly
known as Lower Niger. I singled out a personality, Fr. Leon-Alexandre Lejeune and
studied his five years of mission as the Prefect of the Lower Niger Prefecture from
1900-1905. My findings show that this man left no stone unturned in his effort to spread
the Good News. He left great legacy for pastoral agents of his time and for posterity. I
placed his achievement side by side with the current day missionary attitudes. This
juxtaposition helped me to come to the conclusion that pastoral agents of today need to
emulate the pastoral zeal of our fathers in faith.

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