On Beatification ceremony:
Vincent Nnanyelugo Chiakwa (Salzburg, Austria) The Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi has a unique position in heaven amidst Nigerian “saints” before and after him, for being the first among them to be officially recognized by the Church. That the Holy Father Pope John Paul II made a second trip to Nigeria in order to beatify Father Tansi shows how much he loves us. Nigerians at home and abroad are bound to reciprocate this love by putting into practice all the Pope’s propositions to the Church and State in Nigeria. In this way, the Blessed Iwene Tansi will also be remembered as a source of unity, faith, peace and progress at this time we most need them.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us strive to imitate our beatified Brother, so that what he is now we may one day become.
Blessed Father Tansi pray for us and for the whole Africa to imbibe honesty, justice and integrity to the chagrin of a world that sees nothing good in your country and continent.
Charles Onuegbu (Switzerland) God has no favourites but remembers those who fear him. This is manifested in the beatification of Father Tansi. The Nigerian Church and all Nigerians have now a recognised intercessor before God.
May the good Lord, through the good works of Father Tansi, help more Nigerians to imitate the footsteps of Father Tansi.
Fidelis Chukwu (London) It is a great joy for us Nigerians to have our first Blessed, Fr Tansi. We here in London made a very good preparation for that big day in Nigeria and we are also having a Mass of Thanksgiving on 29th March, to thank God for the successful visit of the Holy Father to Nigeria. And for God’s giving us Blessed Fr Tansi. We hope every Nigerian will pray to God through him, and this great joy of all Nigerians may continue so that we get more blessed and saints in the future. We look forward and pray for the canonization of Blessed Tansi.
Louise M Smith Thank you for favors asked. Yesterday I asked your intercession for 2 prayers–one was answered within the hour. Thank you.
Fran Malcolm and Trish and Noel Evans (Australia) Congratulations and prayers for the beatification of Fr Tansi from faraway Australia. We give thanks to God for his blessings on His Church in Nigeria and ask Him to bless you with many more vocations to the monastic life. We ask Him to bless our counry also with such souls of great prayerfulness and Love.
Peace and goodwill.
Edmund Igboanusi, cmf (St. Louis, MO. U.S.A.) On this auspicious and special occasion we bless God who has qualified us to share with Fr. Tansi the inheritance of His Saint in light.
My sincere prayer is that the Lord may bless us with many more diligent priests and prayerful people like Fr. Tansi. I personally have reason to bless God for the many countless blessings and spiritual monitions my family and I have received through Fr. Tansi’s intercession.
May the Lord sustain us all as we work in his ministry. Amen.
Jim Danson (Great Britain) Congratulattions and peace to you. What joy this day will have brought you. I remember seeing Father Tansi, when as a boy I was visiting Mount Saint Bernards from my home in Leicester.
Best wishes and prayers
Godfrey Igwebuike Onah (Imilike ? Nigeria, Rome) “I now trully underdstand that God has no favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34)
I would like to make these words of St. Peter mine on the occasion of the beatification of Father Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi. The news of the Pope’s visit to Nigeria for the beatification of Iwene Tansi is surely welcome to all black people of all faiths. The siginificance of the recogition of the saintly life of Iwene Tansi by the Church is a message of hope to all Africans. As the Igbos say: “Onye nwanne ya no n’enuigwe adighi eje oku-mmuo” (One whose brother is in heaven cannot go to hell). Within the normal Nigerian contex this could imply that all Iwene’s brothers and sisters should be assured that their brother will secure places for them in heaven whether by hook or by crook. But in this particular context, it means that if Iwene could make it to heaven, his brothers and sister have no excuse whatsoever for not striving to emulate his life in order to be there with him.
In a historic occasion like this, it is usual to say: Congratulations!!!! But I wouldn’t say this for the simple reason that I wouldn’t know to whom I would be addressing it: To Nigerians for “producing” a saint? That would be incorrect. To the Pope for declaring him one? I am sure His Holiness would blush at the mere idea of it. To Iwene for having lived a holy life? The Blessed would suerely not take any credit for the grace of God. To God for giving him to us? Perhaps yes. But He surely does not need my congratulations.
I hope that the Nigerians and black people throughout the world do not see the beatification of Iwene Tansi only as an “achievement.” That would be to miss the major message of this sacred event. When the Church beatifies or sanctifies one of her children, she, among other things, holds up his or her life as an example to others. If the Church is holding up as an example for us the life of Iwene Tansi, one who truned his back to all a modern Nigerian would call achievement, that should be an invitation to all of us (especially to the Nigerian priests and religious) to seek the wealth of inner spiritual growth without which there can be no real human development. This man was a teacher and a priest of the people. My fatherrecalls him as always asking teachers: “Ibu onye nkuzi, ka ibu onye nkugo?” literally, are you shaping/forming (the minds and consciences entrusted to you) or are you destroying (them)? Part of Tansi’s message to us could be that the integral development of man cannot be separated from his integral formation. Blessed Iwene Tansi pray for us.
Walter Bonam (U.S.A.) As an American Catholic of African heritage, I had not known of Fr. Tansi until very recently. My own spiritual journey owes much to the Trappists, and it does my heart much good to see the Church affirming not only the sanctity of this man of Africa, but also the ongoing value of the vowed contemplative life for the Church and for the world. After reading the eloquent testimonies to Fr. Tansi’s unswerving devotion to God and to the service of His people, I shall certainly do all in my power to make him better known among those I am privileged to serve, and especially among the students and families of the new, tuition-free Catholic school for impoverished children of which I am an administrator. Had I known of Fr. Tansi sooner, I would have suggested him as a patron in the naming of the school. However, given his teaching background and his evident devotion to prayer and to the plight of the poor, I have no doubt that he will respond favorably to my requests for his intercession on behalf of the school, and I will do whatever I can to promote his cause.
Jude M.T. Okolo (Ozubulu, Nigeria) On this unique and solemn occasion of the beatification of Rev. Fr. Michael Cyprian Iwene Tansi, I join the innumerable well-wishers, and especially the Church in Nigeria, to express profound thanks to Almighty God. Many of us never believed it would take place in our life time. Expressions of profound appreciation to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, to Cardinal Francis Arinze who promoted the cause right from the beginning, to His Grace Archbishop Stephen Ezeanya of blessed memory, to Archbishop Albert Obiefuna – the present Archbishop of Onitsha, to the Prefect, the Members and the Officials of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to the Apostolic Nuncio in Nigeria Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigan, to the Postulators of the Cause, to the Monks of the Fr. Tansi?s Abbey in England, to the Church in Nigeria and to all those who have contributed in any way towards the success of the Cause. May Fr. Tansi continue to intercede to God for the growth of this young Church in Nigeria.
Thomas K. McDermott, O.P. (Yaba, Nigeria) On behalf of the Dominican Fathers and Brothers of the Province of St. Joseph the Worker (Nigeria and Ghana), I wish to congratulate Archbishop Obiefuna, the clergy, religious and faithful of the Archdiocese of Onitsha on the beatification of their brother Fr. Cyprian Michael Tansi. This is a clear sign of the gradual but unstoppable growth of the Kingdom of God in our midst. May Nigeria now have a powerful intercessor in heaven to see us through these difficult times.
Dominican Fathers and Brothers
Province of St. Joseph the Worker (Nigeria and Ghana)
St. Dominic Priory
P.O. Box 44
Yaba, Lagos State
Chukwudozie Ezeokoli (Trinidad) Congratulations to Father Tansi and the people of Nigeria on this landmark occasion. May this event be a sign of God’s grace for Nigeria and mankind in general, and a welcome oasis in these troubled times.
Munachi Ernest Ezeogu, C.S.Sp. (Toronto, Canada) Words are not enough to express the feelings in the hearts of most Nigerians in the event of the Pope’s visit to Nigeria to beatify the first West African to be so honoured, Father Cyprian Iwene Tansi. The very fact that the Pope is beatifying him not in Rome as is usually the case but in our fatherland Nigeria doubles the joy and the significance of the event for us. When we are surprised by joy in a manner like this, we usually break into song and dance rather than words. Words are but a poor expression of the sense of gratitude that wells up in our hearts.
Our thanks go first and foremost to Almighty God who has granted our eyes to see what we are seeing today and our ears to hear what we are hearing. In these times of stress and distress in Nigeria, the beatification of Tansi stands out as a beacon of hope that something good can indeed come out of Nazareth.
Next to God we salute God’s messenger, Pope John Paul II and his council of red-capped elders, among whom is an illustrious son of Nigeria, Francis Cardinal Arinze. For our bishops and priest in Nigeria who have been trying to preach a message of justice and peace among a people riddled with injustice and violence, may the visit of the Holy Father and the beatification of Father Tansi strengthen your resolve to fight the good fight till victory is achieved.
And to my fellow believers, people of God in Nigeria, and men and women of goodwill everywhere, let this be an occasion for us to rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of holiness, bearing in mind one of Fr Tansi’s proverbial sayings that unless you make it to heaven you have not made it at all (“Onye afuro n’enuigwe, si agunyena ya”).
Veronica Openibo,shcj (U.S.A.) CONGRATULATIONS! I rejoice with all Nigerians and the Cistercian Order on this great occasion of the beatification of Venerable Father Cyprian Tansi. May our good God be praised now and forever.
Thanks be to God for choosing Venerable Cyprian Tansi to bring great honour and hope to our dear country men and women at this time! What an oppotune time for we Nigerians to celebrate the beatification of one of our countrymen. May our dear country be saved and bleseed through the intercession of Blessed Tansi.
Our Holy Father , John Paul II has delibrately chosen to go to Nigeria for the beatification especially at this very time. Thank you our Holy Father for identifying with us at his time when many Nigerians feel so broken. Your presence, Holy Father and the solemn ceremony will truly be a God sent sign, …bringing consolation, inspiration and hope to all our people at home and abroad.
May our God bless all those who have worked so hard for the success of this beatification ceremony. May all those who go for the ceremony have a safe journey to and from Onitsha.
Blessed Tansi pray for us so that our country Nigeria and indeed the whole of Africa may be saved!
Bishop Simon A. Okafor (Awka, Nigeria) Congratulations to the People of Nigeria who will witness, on March 22, 1998, the beatification of the first person ever to be so honoured in West Africa. That day at Onitsha, Pope John Paul II will beatify Rev. Father Cyprian Michael Iwene TANSI.
This event has a personal meaning for me. Not only was Fr. Tansi my parish priest at Dunukofia (1940-45); with him, I had personal encounter on two occasions. He once rewarded me with a three-penny piece because I was able to respond well to his questions in English language when I was only 9 years old. He also examined me for Baptism and Confirmation,
Patrick Nsionu (New York, U.S.A.) The News of the beatification of Fr. Michael Iwene Tansi by Pope John-Paul II, has been greeted by all Nigerians, especially the Igbos in the U.S.A. with immense joy and serene pride. It is considered such a Good News that couldn’t have come at a better time than now when the world is tidying up all facets of life to usher in the THIRD MILLENNIUM. This helps much in projecting the tidy image-side of Nigeria and Africa, most often held in contempt by their own and the outside world.
There were, there are, and there will continue to be a lot of SAINTS in Nigeria/Africa. The special good thing about this occasion is that Fr. Michael Tansi, becomes the first Officially approved (about to) one the Catholic Church members can mention in public worship (without fear of excommuniction), when they pray or sing the LITANY of the SAINTS.
I therefore use this forum to thank all those who have sacrificed a lot to make this dream a reality. My prayer is that more and more of our long-overlooked saints be also accorded the same recognition, especially, to reflect the diverse sectors and sections of Nigeria/Africa.
May the Third Millennium see us to Greater heights, not just among the dead, but also among the living. Amen!
Ogochukwu Ene (New Jersey, U.S.A.) As an African, I hope that the Vatican will continue to recognize the important roles of Africans in the Church. Father Tansi gave his all to the propagation of Christianity in Africa. He left no physical monuments of the Pyramids proportion, but today his name is worth all the physical monuments he could have acquired. If Father Tansi’s life and eventual sainthood do not convince both Catholic lay and clergy, and indeed Christendom, of the mendacity of mean materialism and the vanity of present political posturing on vital issues affecting the common person, then we have a long wait for the return of the Messiah.
I rejoice with humanity in this reign of common sense. I rejoice in the power of prayers made apparent. I rejoice in the triumph of good name over such signs of a sullied society as wealth without work, worship without sacrifice, politics without principles and commerce without morality.
On a personal level, Father Tansi’s life is an inspiration. He was my kind of person: I say it as I see it — no matter how uncomfortable folks feel. There are no shades to truth. Father Tansi made his views known on such social and cultural issues as burials, kolanut, marriage, and masquerades. Some may not like all his views, but he stood up for what he believed was right. This must inspire priests of today to stand up and stop the decay of our African social and cultural fabrics.
Patrick A. Mulich (…) Congratulations on this happy occasion. May Father Cyprian’s intercession in heaven help in spreading your word in Africa as well as throughout the world.
Silvano Galli, sma (Genova, Italy) Abbiamo anche noi dei confratelli in Nigeria (Ikodja Zebe e Ibadan) che saranno presenti all’arrivo del Papa con un gruppo di giovani chierici. Ci auguriamo tutti che questo grande paese possa trarre nuovo slancio e beneficio sia dalla visita del Papa, sia dalla beatificazione di questo suo figlio.
Louis Ndjana, cicm (Rome, Italy) Having worked in Nigeria for more than six years as missionary of the CICM congregation, I want to express my hearty congratulations to the whole christian community in Nigeria and the entire Nation, my joy and spiritual support on the occasion of the beatification of Fr. TANSI. In union with them, may this even be a sign of encouragement for us Africans, to live our christian commitments among our people with great dedication.
M. Theophane Young, OCSO(Hong Kong, China) What a joy for us Trappist monks to have been given the gift of Fr. Tansi to share with the Nigerian people! Let us stay one, united in thanking and glorifying God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for this and all God’s wonderful gifts.
Our Lady of Joy Monastery
Hong Kong, China
John Okoro (Austria) Religious life is something that brings liberation to mankind. Fr. Tansi has through his religious activities brought liberation to mankind, especially for those in Nigeria. We thank him for his good efforts and his examplary life.
Innocent Udeafor (Thuringen, Austria) What a joy to read about the beatification of one of us, Rev. Fr. Tansi. Glory to God who send Fr. Tansi to us. I am very grateful to Fr. Tansi for the glory of God which he accepted to bring to mankind and the Nigerian church in particular. May he receive the eternal rewards of God and help pray for us still on earth. May his good christian life be an examplary life for us all, most especially for us Pastors of the word of God. May I also thank all those who have up till now worked very hard to see to this glory for the Nigerian Christian church.
I would also like to thank in a special way my friend Denis Isizoh for his effort to make this webpage possible and to enable a greater number of people follow the happenings of the beatification. Dear beloved friend, Denis, thanks a lot.
Bernard Leary (Chesterfield, England) Fr. Tansi led an exemplary life and inspired all who had the good fortune to meet him. We have had the privilege of meeting Cardinal Francis Arinze and other Nigerian priests who are a living testimony to his influence.
We delight in Fr. Tansi’s beatification and our family will continue to pray for his canonisation
Abbot Mark Hargreaves OSB (Rome, Italy) Having visited Nigeria last year, when I made the Canonical Visitation of the Benedictine Sisters at Umuoji, I would like to offer, on behalf of the Abbot President and the members of the Subiaco Congregation O.S.B., my congratulations to the people of Nigeria for their new “beato” and to assure them of our prayers. May Blessed Michael Tansi pray for us all and for the spread of the monastic order throughout the world, especially in the countries of Eastern Europe.
Curia Generalitia Congregationis Sublacensis OSB
via S.Ambrogio 3
NKECHI OFFIAH (Trinidad) The forthcoming beatification of Fr. Tansi of Nigeria on March 22nd by the Holy Father , Pope John Paul 11 is a significant event and a source of hope for all the people of good will in West Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. God is with us.
While I congratulate and rejoice with all who promoted the cause of Fr. Tansi, may we all learn something from his simple and ordinary life. May I also use this opportunity to thank Chidi Denis Isizoh for providing information about the childhood days of Fr. Tansi. May the Lord have the Honour and Glory.
INNOCENT NJOKU (U.S.A.) Greetings to all christians in Nigeria on the ocassion of the beatification of the first son of the Church in Igboland. Congratulations to the Catholic Church in Nigeria. The seeds of our early missionaries have born the sweetest and greatest fruits. The Nigerian Church has produced many saints, but Venerable Fr. Tansi is the first [among equals] and the greatest. Many more shall follow.
Nigerian christians, Keep the flame of love, faith and unity alife inspite of all oppositions. Venerable Fr. Tansi, Pray for us especially at this time of uncertainty in Nigeria. Venerable Fr. Tansi pray and intercede for our Country Nigeria. Blessings, Glory and Honour, to our Lord.!!
JOSEPH OLADEJO FANIRAN(SECAM, Accra, Ghana) On the occasion of the beatification of Fr. Tansi, I want to congratulate and rejoice with his Eminence Cardinal Francis Arinze in particular, the Catholic hierarchy of Nigeria and the entire Church and people of Nigeria for this wonderful recognition of a saintly life among us. So, good things can come from Nigeria! This is a challenge to all of us and especially to we priests of Nigeria to wake up and live our vocation to the full for the salvation of our souls and the transformation of our nation.
SECRETARIAT AGENZIA FIDES (Rome, Italy) FATHER TANSI, HELP YOUR PEOPLE.
PROVIDENTIA MARINZE (U.S.A.) I praise God and rejoice with my people (the Nigerians) during this unique occasion. I have always been concerned with the turbulent situation in Nigeria that I often feel God is far from us. I keep recieving assurances from friends that Nigeria is undergoing a transition and will one day rise beyond the reach of all oppositions. I see the Beatification of Fr. Tansi as a fulfillment of that prophecy. Nigeria is indeed rising and will continue to rise. God is indeed with us!
While we rejoice on this occasion, may it also be a time for deeper and meaningful reflection into our lives, a time to re-examine our commitment to God and to our country. May our “Yes” at this time be one that will promote love, forgiveness and tolerance among all Nigerians regardless of our different religious affiliations. May God be praised!
IGNATIUS OBINWA (Frankfurt Germany) The coming beatification of Rev Fr. Cyprian Iwene Tansi of Nigeria by Pope John Paul II is pregnant with meaning. It generates confidence in the universality of the Church. For the Church in West Africa and Nigeria, in particular, it is a thing of unparalled joy and honour ! It is a sign of coming of age ! Out of the thousands of saints who have lived and died in the area, one is now receiving the recognition and honour of the Universal Church, thus opening the gate for many others to follow. The beatification is also both a challenge and an encouragement to all of us still alive, that saintly life is still possible.
I send my good-will message to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, to the Church in Nigeria and West Africa, and to all those happy about the epoch-marking event. God bless us all !
EDWIN S.C. OBIORAH (New York, U.S.A) Fr. Iwene Tansi was the founder of my former home parish, Dunukofia. He also founded Akpu parish from which Ufuma parish was carved out. I had the privileged of serving as the pastor (parish priest) of Ufuma parish from 1985 to 1987.
Based on these indirect but enriching contacts with the personality and work of Fr. Tansi, and also based on the testimonies of my father and my parishioners who knew Fr. Tansi personally, I must say that he is a beacon of priestly life.
He was not only a great pastor and a humble holy man, he is a legend among our people. My former parishioners see Fr. Tansi as a model of living and the beanchmark of prietly virtues. Though austere in his personal life, he sacrified himself to ease the sufferings of others. Though poor by all standards, Fr. Tansi devoted most of his pastoral life to nourish the impoverished. Fr. Tansi is a patron of pastors.