Francis Cardinal Arinze Francis Cardinal Arinze
Prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Roman Curia
Cardinal Priest of S Giovanni della Pigna
Nov 01, 1932
May 25, 1985
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English Cardinal Arinze Visits Onitsha Prison
Oct 07, 2005
AS part of activities marking his 40 years of episcopacy and 20 years as a cardinal, Cardinal Francis Arinze on Sunday visited Onitsha prisons donating N100,000 to the inmates and promised to renovate the chapel there.

Daily Champion (Lagos), August 31, 2005 - Speaking during the visit, Arinze who is also Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacrament in The Vatican, exhorted the prisoners that their stay in the facility was just for a while and prayed that God will help them learn how to live a good life when their jail terms expire.

The cardinal who said the teaching of the church was more important than food, urged them to avail themselves of any opportunity to hear God's word.

He promised to celebrate mass with them on September 11 in order to share the gospel with them.

Earlier, a set of prisoners who were repatriated from Thailand in 2003 for various drug offences, had urged Cardinal Arinze to prevail on Federal Government to grant them amnesty.

Austin Umego, who spoke on behalf of the prisoners noted that they were about 339 and scattered all over prisons in Nigeria, even as he said that some of them have stayed between 14 and 16 years in prison.

He commended Cardinal Arinze for being instrumental to the treaty the Federal Government signed with the Thailand Government leading to their repatriation to Nigeria.

According to the Umego, some of the prisoners who were jailed in 1988 are in Onitsha, Owerri, Ilesha, Calabar,Kuje prisons.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Arinze has said that the selection of Pope Benedict XVI as leader of the Catholic Church worldwide was a blessing to the world and the church.

According to Arinze, it was worth praising God that the selection was peaceful, even as he thanked Nigerians who were part of the four million pilgrims who visited Rome to pay their last respects to the late Pope John Paul II
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