Archbishop Paglia was in Nigeria, from 5 to 9 May, for a visit full of shared excitement and communication. The trip began with a working session with the entire Nigerian Bishops‘ Conference on the new Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia. During this meeting, after the presentation of the text in an African perspective (cf. annex) by the President of the Pontifical Council, the Bishops long debated on the meaning and mode of the document‘s local reception and on the discernment required by paragraph 3. On the following days, Msgr. Paglia visited the diocese of Owerri (in the region with the largest Catholic presence in the country), Lagos (a city of over 20 million inhabitants) and Abuja (the capital). In each city, the celebration of Holy Mass and meetings with the local families gave substance to the long-debated issues: there is not just one family but rather families, fathers and mothers, children and the elderly, their stories, their strengths, and their toil. Presenting the Apostolic Exhortation to the many local lay associations, Archbishop Paglia repeatedly focused on the specific role of the families in the Church and in society: they are called to show the true face of love that, far from being reduced to a mere romantic sentiment, means passionately taking charge of the future, through generation, and of all creation; with special attention to the most vulnerable persons: women (whose situation in Africa is undergoing great change), the elderly, and the poor.
The trip ended with special attention to the latter: in a refugee camp outside Abuja, where Msgr. Paglia was accompanied by the local Cardinal Archbishop Onayekan and the leaders of the Islamic community, he delivered, in the name of Pope Francis, the first portion of humanitarian aid to a large group of refugee families, who have fled from areas where terrorism is tragically rampant.