April 19, 2012
Fr. Cyriacus Elelleh was a resident at Our Lady of Peace and a student at John Carroll University. Visa/Immigration problems caused him to suspend his studies. As he works on getting back to the USA he has been serving as a pastor in his home Diocese of Orlu.
Late in the night on Palm Sunday Fr. Cyriacus was attacked at his church by a gang of armed robbers. They tied him up, held a gun to his head, and held him captive for approximately five hours. The associate pastor and a seminarian were also tied. During that time they repeatedly threatened him with death and ransacked the church and rectory. Fr. Cyriacus reports that they took anything of value – leaving him without anything, including his computer, camera, and clothing. The thieves loaded everything into the parish truck, which they later abandoned in another Nigerian state. They needed to untie the seminarian to unlock the gate for their escape. The seminarian freed Fr. Cyriacus and the other priest.
Father was treated and released at a local hospital, but is still – understandably – traumatized by the event. There are some lingering physical problems due to the length of time and the manner that his hands and feet were tied as well as being beaten and kicked by the robbers.
I, naturally, promised Father that we would support him in prayer and do our best to help him financially rebuild his life. I inquired about some specific needs e.g., (laptop computer – that is already on its way to him.)
On the weekend of May 5 and 6 any parishioner and anyone of good will is welcome to add to a fund to assist Fr. Cyriacus. Envelopes will be in the benches at church or donations can be sent to the rectory – write a check to Our Lady of Peace, but be sure to indicate that it is for Fr. Cyriacus. I will send him the funds by way of Moneygram.
Checks can be mailed to:
Our Lady of Peace
12601 Shaker Blvd.
Cleveland, OH 44120
Thanks in advance for your prayers and generosity. Please pray for Fr. Cyriacus and all victims of violent crimes.