© 2017 Barbara Davidson  

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NIGERIAN FAITH HEALERS

It’s not what many think of when they imagine a Catholic Mass: speaking in tongues, rolling on the ground in a trance, instant curing of diseases. But in Nigeria, Catholicism, Pentecostalism, and traditional African faiths overlap. Father Ejike Mbaka draws tens of thousands to a vacant lot every week for an all-night healing service. Scholars say Father Mbaka and his brand of Catholicism symbolize the impact that Christianity’s rapid expansion in the Third World could have on the faith: pushing mainline religion toward the supernatural. The Adoration Grounds aren't large enough to hold the more than 20,000 people who want to attend Father Mbaka's services, leaving some to line the walls outside.