Page 2, 14th July 2006

14th July 2006
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Page 2, 14th July 2006 — Missionaries return to West Yorkshire
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Locations: Bradford, Lagos, Leeds

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Missionaries return to West Yorkshire

BY HANNAH BAKER

FOR CENTURIES missionaries from Europe travelled across the globe to spread the Word of God. But now Catholic representatives from Africa and America have come to Britain to help restore flagging numbers and faith among young people.

The Diocese of Leeds has welcomed two priests from the order of St Paul in Nigeria and a priest from Cuba is due to arrive in September.

Fr Kondo Vitalis, who works at St Cuthbert's in Bradford, said: 'The Church in Nigeria is buzzing. Although I worked in the oil fields I helped in the parish in Lagos where there were 25,000 parishioners and we said Mass eight times on Sunday."

"But the biggest difference is that in Nigeria the Church is full of young people taking a very active role, while the elders are pleased to sit back and see how their legacy is being used. In the UK there are so few people coming to Mass regularly. The Church in England needs to think of new ways to get people back into churches."

Fr Vitalis currently ministers to 300 people at St Cuthbert's and blames western affluence for the apparent decline in spirituality in Britain.

He said: "I think because everyone is working here they don't see the need for God. The standard of living is so high and people have so much money they don't see the need

to let Him into their lives. They look to the Government for answers and ideas instead.

"People should see beyond the material things and understand the need for spiritual welfare. They should think about their lives after here. They should not think government policies alone can form the moral conscience."

Fr Vitalis admits it will be a challenge to attract young people to church. "We must follow the African example," he said.




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