Catholic Pontiff prays for Nigerian pilgrims, Nigeria in Rome 

The delegation of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) and the states’ pilgrimage leaders and managers that are currently in Rome on a pre-visit tour to Rome and Greece were Wednesday at the Vatican City for a Papal audience with Pope Francis at the St Paul’s sixth hall in Vatican City.

The team, led by NCPC’s executive secretary, Rev. Yakubu Pam, according to a statement by the Commission’s head of media and public relations, Celestine Toruka, joined thousands of Christians from all walks of life to observe the Papal audience.

According to the Commission, “it’s a critical and integral aspect of our pilgrimage content in Rome and the Vatican City.”

It added that “Pope Francis in his message specially recognised the Nigerian pilgrims and prayed to God” to grant them the intentions of their hearts.

“The Pontiff also wished the Nigerian delegation a merry Christmas celebration, stating that Christmas should be celebrated with simplicity, love and gratitude.

“The Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission has always ensured that Nigerian pilgrims are given the privilege to have an audience with the Pope during pilgrimage,” the statement read in part.

Meanwhile, the NCPC and the delegation of states’ pilgrimage leaders and managers have arrived in Athens, Greece, from Rome to inspect Holy Sites and hotels in the ancient city of Greece.

A statement by the Commission’s head of media and public relations indicated that the delegation would be in Greece from until December 23 to afford them the opportunity to visit some “designated Holy Sites and hotels in preparations for the 2023 main pilgrimage exercise to Rome and Greece.”

It added that while in Greece, the delegation would visit Holy Sites in Corinth, Athens, amongst others.

The statement quoted Rev. Pam as saying he would have a strategic meeting with the states’ pilgrimage leaders in Athens “to review the impact of the pre-visit so far and brainstorm on critical issues and proffer ways to make the forthcoming main pilgrimage exercise a successful and hitch-free one.”