Bishop of Boko Haram Ravaged Diocese Coming to Milwaukee Saturday
|Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme inspecting a burnt church in Bahuli community in Catholic diocese of Maiduguri|
Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme of Maiduguri, Nigeria — the epicenter of Boko Haram’s violent campaign — is coming to Milwaukee. The Bishop is coming as a guest of Men of Christ, a local Catholic lay apostolate, to speak at its 10th annual men’s conference, March 12, 2016 at the Milwaukee Theater. He will also be speaking at a number of other venues in Milwaukee and Madison including an address to Archdiocesan priests and deacons and a meeting with Archbishop Listecki.Men of Christ
Bishop Doeme will be sharing his message of faith, forgiveness, the power of the Rosary and Marian devotion. His witness is particularly poignant as he oversees a diocese that has been ravaged by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram for fourteen years. According to Bishop Doeme, when he was made bishop in 2009, his diocese of Maiduguri was home to roughly 125,000 Catholics. Today, with escalating Boko Haram violence, only 60,000 remain. Boko Haram was founded in Maiduguri in 2002. In 2014, the group achieved global infamy when it kidnapped 276 school girls. Later, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau declared that “this is a war against Christianity and democracy.” In March of 2015, they allied with ISIS. Boko Haram’s horrific attacks have left thousands dead and displaced. According to the Diocese of Maiduguri, many of the displaced include widows, orphans, catechists and priests who are in urgent need of material and medical assistance. Many others have fled to the neighboring nation of Cameroon. Churches and rectories throughout the diocese have been heavily damaged, and more than three hundred ecclesial structures are in need of rebuilding.
Through it all, Bishop Doeme has remained a faithful and joyful shepherd to his people. Late in 2014, while praying in Adoration, he had a vision of Christ in which Our Lord handed him a sword. As the bishop took the sword, it turned into a Rosary, and he heard Christ say three times, “Boko Haram is gone.” Bishop Doeme has since been sharing his story and inspiring message around the world. “Prayer, particularly the prayer of the Rosary, is what will deliver us from the claws of this demon, the demon of terrorism,” he said in an interview with Catholic News Agency. “And of course, it is working.”
Kevin O’Brien, president of Men of Christ, said that when he learned of Bishop Doeme’s story, he invited him to speak at this year’s conference. “I was thrilled when he accepted,” said O’Brien. “I think it’s so important for all of us here, and men in particular, to see this kind of faith and devotion in the face of seemingly overwhelming evil. This will be a very powerful experience.”