Pope Francis Baptises 'Migrant Hero' and Seven Immigrants on Holy Saturday

By Mei Manuel, April 05, 2018 05:04 AM

Pope Francis(BBC)

At least eight immigrants, including a former illegal immigrant now seen as a hero after disarming a thief wielding a cleaver were baptized and recognized during the Holy Saturday mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

The church service began in darkness, symbolizing the passage in the Bible which spoke about Jesus rising up from the dead.

Normally, the Pope welcomes new members of the Church during the Holy Saturday service. However, this year, one of the people he welcomed and baptized included 31 year old Nigerian John Ogah, who was called last year by the Italian media as a 'migrant hero' and a example of bravery and good citizenship.

Last September, Catholic TV station TV2000 reported that Ogah was begging for change outside a supermarket in a Rome neighborhood where migrants usually frequent and live when he stopped a 37-year-old Italian thief who took 400 euros from the store while holding a cleaver as a weapon.

The Nigerian, who was also undocumented, apprehended the man and held him down until the police arrived according to the report of La Repubblica. When the police came, he left the scene in fear because he feared the police would discover he did not have any documents. The police eventually tracked him down thanks to the help of security cameras and rewarded him by assisting him get documents to legally stay in the country.

Italian Carabinieri captain Nunzio Carbone stood as Ogah's godfather in the Saturday baptism service. Carbone worked in the neighborhood where the supermarket was located and he and his colleagues assisted Ogah get his papers legalized. The Nigerian now works for a charity organization in Italy as a stockman.

Aside from Ogah, other immigrants from Albania, Peru, and the United States were baptised alongside an Italian.

The issue of migrants is one of the crusades of Pope Francis since he became pope and would often defend them in his addresses.

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