The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC), Mr. John Kennedy Opara has said that the Commission would explore the possibility of extending the scope of Pilgrimage operations to Ephesus, Turkey and Uganda next year.
He disclosed this recently while playing host to the Executive Members of the Knight of Saint Mulumba who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja. The NCPC boss informed the Knights that the Commission had extended the scope of pilgrimage operations from Israel to Rome and Greece. He explained that the Commission would continue to explore the possibility of expanding pilgrimage operations by identifying worthy Holy sites in the world where Christians could visit for spiritual rejuvenation.
According to the NCPC helmsman, the Commission will consider including Pilgrimage to Uganda in its itinerary as requested by the Knights.
He hinted that both the Christians Pilgrimage and the Muslims enjoy the concessionary exchange rate of 146 naira to 1 US Dollar approved by the Federal Government through NCPC and through the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria and this has helped reduce the cost of pilgrimage. He therefore called on the Church to fully maximize this opportunity to encourage their members to go on Holy Pilgrimage.
He intimated his guests that the Commission has been airlifting intending pilgrims from about 6 to 7 Airports in Nigeria which had helped in reducing the stress intending pilgrims go through if they were to fly through Abuja. According to him “we want to make Christians enjoy their pilgrimage”.
Mr. Opara also told the Executives of the Knight of Saint Mulumba that the Commission had three dimensional Pilgrimage packages- Easter Pilgrimage usually held between March and April, Family pilgrimage between July and August and the October/December pilgrimage. He stressed that the idea of the Family pilgrimage was to inculcate the spirit of prayers among families. He explained that Knights are known for maintaining strong family unity and thus should use their good offices to project family pilgrimage.
He commended the Knights for their interest in the development of the nation, the Church, especially the building of a Chapel for the Veritas Catholic University in Abuja.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Supreme Grand Commander, Anthony Onuh informed the Executive Secretary that Knights of Saint Mulumba also perform Holy Pilgrimage to Uganda annually, involving Catholics and none Catholics alike. He explained that their patron Saint was one of the Martyrs of Uganda, hence their Holy pilgrimage to the Site.
He therefore solicited the cooperation of the NCPC boss to explore the possibility of including Holy pilgrimage to Uganda in the Commission’s annual Calendar of activity.