COVID-19: OYO CATHOIC NURSES DONATE HANDWASH
The Catholic Nurses Guild of Nigeria is the umbrella body of all the nurses who are Catholic Christians. In spite of the fact that the members are quite few in Oyo diocese, they are making great strides. This is what Oyo Diocese is known for and the nurses are not lagging behind through the concerted efforts of the members
This came to light again when on Wednesday 23rd September, 2020, the National President of the body who happens to come from Oyo Diocese, Mr. Anthony Adetoro (a parishioner of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Agunpopo, Oyo), came in company of Mrs. Elizabeth Agblonon (a member of St. Bernadines Catholic Church, Owode, Oyo) to pay a visit to His Lordship, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo. There they presented the product of the guild, a beautiful and hygienic hand wash, to the bishop.
In response, the Bishop expressed gratitude for their effort which is laudable considering how few they are in number. He promised them that this product will get to the nooks and crannies of the Diocese where it will be another source of awareness for the people not to neglect the safety measures against COVID'19 and never to think that they cannot be productive, no matter how limited their means are.
--- Festus Oyelakin
AYEGUN-WASINMI MISSION HOUSE ROOFED
The Church in Oyo diocese continues to respond faithfully to the evangelical injunction, to go out to the world and proclaim the good news. This is why it is newsworthy to report that another milestone achievement was recorded in the Ijio-Meso axis of Oyo diocese, precisely at Ayegun-Wasinmi, where the mission house which is under construction was roofed. It has been a long desire of the Catholics in this community to have the presence of a priest among them. Hence, both the old and young in the community could not hide their joy as their dream is gradually coming to reality. With the roofing of the Mission House, which was done with a great support from the diocese and commitment of the people, a new face of pastoral life is gradually opening in the community. The members cannot wait to complete the structure, have a priest live among them, so that they can also reach out to other communities.
Ayegun-Wasinmi is the border town between Nigeria and Republic of Benin Republic. It has been an outstation of St. Theresas Ijio.
--- Fr. John Toye Olayiwola
OYO DIOCESE WELCOMES THE OBLATES OF ST. JOSEPH
The Catholic Diocese of Oyo on the 18th of September 2020 welcomed a new religious congregation, the Oblates of St Joseph, to the diocese to collaborate in the pastoral work and the mission of the Church. The entourage of five priests of the congregation was led by the Provincial Superior of the congregation, Fr Ethelbert Arua, OSJ. They were warmly received by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo in his office.
In his words of welcome, Bishop Badejo said it is a thing of joy that your congregation is now coming to set its foot on the soil of Oyo diocesan and to work with us. Two priests have been assigned to the diocese, Rev Fr Benjamin Ogar who hails from Ikom in Cross River State and Fr Raphael James Udeme who hails from Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
The Congregation of the Oblates of St Joseph has been in contact with the Oyo Diocese for a number of years. It was founded in 1878 by St Joseph Marello and arrived in Nigeria in 1990. Their formation house is in Ibadan. Incidentally, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo has ordained a number of their candidates to the sacred orders in the last ten years. One of the indigenous sons of Oyo Diocese, Fr Stephen Adedeji who hails from St Mary Magdalene Parish, Tede was also ordained as a priest of the Oblates of St Joseph in 2019.
After they were welcomed to the Diocese at the Bishops Office, the Diocesan Pastoral Secretary, Rev. Fr Benjamin Jolasun acquainted them with some of the Diocesan policies and major events in the Diocese. They were then accompanied by their Provincial Superior to their place of assignment.. For now, they will work in the Ogbomoso area of the diocese while they get used to the diocese, the terrain and also the method and strategies of pastoral work in our diocese, the Bishop had said.
The Local Ordinary also expressed his gladness at the beauty of religious congregations in the church which is their international universal character that makes it possible for anybody from anywhere to work in any place where the Church has need for them as a sign of the Churchs universality which shows that the church is a family of God irrespective of tribe, ethnicity or background.
In the correspondence containing the short profile of the two priests, the Provincial Superior of the congregation, Fr Ethelbert Arua, OSJ assured the Bishop of continuous commitment to the service of God in the apostolate to be entrusted to the confreres by the local church and prayed that God should keep them faithful to the mission entrusted to them.
Speaking about his hope and expectation, the Bishop also added; Fortunately, the two priests are young, they were ordained just a few years ago and so we are hoping that they will have a great impact on the life of our youths. They will have a lot of interest in our young people and will also be another dimension, another type of model for our young people to follow and hopefully they will also engender vocations among our people as Fr. Stephen Adedeji has joined them.
ST. JULIUS OKE-IDAWO CLOCKS 10, BLESSES TABERNACLE, LAYS FOUNDATION
When a man looks into a mirror, the image not only reflects who he is today, but it also reveals who he used to be. Although, appearances change, many of the underlying characteristics remain the same. This is true for the parishioners of St. Julius Catholic Church as they celebrate their 10th anniversary and reflect on who they are and who they have been. The celebration was in many folds as they also blessed a newly erected tabernacle and laid the foundation at their outstation, St. Christopher Catholic Church, Ogbaokuta.
And so, on the 26th of July, 2020, the faithful gathered with Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Rev. Fr. Joachim Taye Alade, their Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Joseph Adejumo, the Dean of Iseyin Deanery, as well as some other priests in the town to share in their joy and express their gratitude to God for the celebration.
In the Holy Mass that had the Bishop as the chief celebrant, the new tabernacle that has a unique and exceptional look was blessed. In his homily, Bishop Badejo whose words and message speak wisdom, which was evident in his words used to reaffirm that the strength of the church is found only in the Holy Eucharist. Though, the Blessed Sacrament could be invisible, the invisible exerts an outstanding vigour.
During thanksgiving, the lay faithful cheerfully danced to the altar and before the end of the Mass, Fr. Alade, the parish priest was rechristened "Mojere" meaning "I reaped" by the Bishop because he is the lucky one reaping the labour of the past Parish Priests who were there before him.
Basking in the euphoria of the celebration, different presentations were displayed by some of the organizations in the church where one of them took the pain of taking everyone through the historical trajectory of the church. The whole event was spiced up with the availability of different dishes which were consumed with all relish as well as the cutting of cake. Conclusively, the vote of thanks that was delivered by Rev. Fr. Anthony Adepoju was on a note of admonishment that the community should strive to be more committed because they can be sure that the task ahead is weightier. Greater than expected, the event was remarkable.
- Regina Oguntoye
BISHOP BADEJO BLESSES NEW TRACTOR FOR JDPM
It was another laudable landmark as the Catholic Diocese of Oyo through the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) bought a brand new tractor blessed by His Lordship - Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo on Wednesday, 8th July 2020 at the Bishop's Office around 12pm. Bishop Badejo in his words said, " the social intervention of the church in the community development can never be underrated as it is not a one sided thing but one that embraces all others in love". “With the procurement of the machine, a multipurpose one to say, there is no doubt that the agricultural activities within the diocese will be boosted”, he added.
He encouraged everyone to always help others to live well and to hope well even if the hope seems lost. He also made it known that with the availability of the machine which the government has failed to make available for the people, greater things will be achieved for farmers most importantly. Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Oladiipo, Very Rev Fr Boniface Wuraola and Rev Fr Ferdinand Olabode who had all served as JDPM Coordinators in times past, were all coincidentally present during the blessing. They thanked God for the gift of life and His Lordship for the progress recorded so far in making their dreams come true part of which was the erection of the shopping complex, bank, office and procurement of the tractor!
Fr. Gabriel Adeleke, the current Coordinator in his remarks expressed his heartfelt gratitude to God and also to the Bishop who has been challenging and drilling them in getting better innovations as far as JDPM is concerned. The projects so far, he said, will be of great impact on the lives of the farmers as there is not even a single tractor that hands could be laid upon almost in the whole of Oyo town and its environs coupled with the stress of getting it leased out by the private owners as it seems the government is not so much bothered about. He also appreciated the efforts of his team so far, Rev. Sr. Victoria Dada SSMA, the Manager of Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited and others who had been the brain behind the innovations, he prayed for more of such in the diocese.
- Babajide Felicia Ajolayo
OYO DIOCESE ORGANIZES GRANT FOR WIDOWS
As another way of assisting the widows in the diocese to become better equipped to support their families and achieve more in life, on Wednesday 3rd of June, 2020 at the Jubilee Conference room, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo gave grant support to about twenty (20) selected widows across the diocese and charged their Parish Priests to help monitor the execution of their various plans.
The Programme Coordinator, Fr Wuraola congratulated the women who are the first set to benefit from the grant support program and made it known that the Bishop will be getting feedbacks through the Priests about the fruitfulness of the program.
A resource person from the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM), Mr Dominic Taiwo lectured the women briefly on putting the funds to better use, avoiding procrastination in implementation, being diligent, attitude towards customers and differentiating between their capital and profit and many other things that will assist them in making the funds productive after which some of the priests present also added their own advice.
After the presentation of the grants to the women, Mrs Elizabeth Ogundiwin thanked the Bishop, Priests and the beneficiaries on behalf of the others.
- Festus Oyelakin
“YOU HAVE TRULY CONQUERED ALL THINGS WITH LOVE” - FR. WURAOLA TELLS ARCHBISHOP
A short but laudable celebration was organized by the Catholic Bishop of Oyo diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo on behalf of the entire diocese for the Metropolitan See of the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province and Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Most Rev. Gabriel 'Leke Abegunrin as he marks another landmark of 25 years of his Episcopal Ordination at the Jubilee House Chapel, Oyo on Thursday, 14th May, 2020 with some few representatives due to covid-19 pandemic.
In his homily, Fr. Boniface Wuraola rejoiced with His Grace on his 25th year anniversary as a Priest, Bishop and a loving father who has conquered all things with love and truly depicting his episcopacy motto, love conquers all. Thus, he added, "Honestly, no other motto fits your episcopacy than the one you chose, love conquers all, you have truly conquered all things with love."
He further explained that the last 25 years of his mission in Osogbo diocese and Ibadan archdiocese were the testimonies of his love for Christ and His church, and it worth celebrating. He made it known that the Bishops are called to take place of the apostles in the present generation and to be witnesses to the resurrection of Christ as the apostles did.
While appreciating the efforts made by Bishop Badejo for celebrating him in a special way despite the covid-19 pandemic ravaging our world today, Archbishop Abegunrin thanked Msgr Yakubu, Fr. Wuraola, the homilist, Fr Isola, Sr Ikufisile and the younger ones for their show of love.
- Babajide Felicia Ajolayo
STORYTELLING AS A TOOL TO MANAGE RACIAL AND SOCIAL TRIBULATIONS IN AFRICA
WEBINAR CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF RADIO VATICAN BROADCAST TO AFRICA JULY 17, 2020
Sub theme: Master Weavers of African Stories-Promoting everyday heroes as solutions to African Challenges
Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Oyo Diocese, Nigeria.
It is a privilege for me to participate in this Webinar to celebrate the Vatican Radio, a true gift to humanity and to Christianity in this year of 70th anniversary of its broadcast to Africa. This same year 2020, the Holy Father, Pope Francis in his message for the 54th World Communications Day entitled: “That you may tell your children and grandchildren” (Ex 10:2)
Life becomes history”
struck a huge note of endorsement for authentic narratives of every land, culture and people that harbour the capacity to positively change and unite the world. The Holy Father rightly affirmed that human beings are story tellers irrespective of the means and the age we are not only stay storytellers but “stories on the move” The message of the pope gave renewed energy and weight to legitimate stories about everyday, ordinary people and persons which today’s pervasive “pop-culture hero” environment would wish to ignore or minimize/downplay. Perhaps this is where we should place more emphasis in the future.
That the Holy Father focused his reflection/message on storytelling in this 70th year of the Vatican Radio’s broadcast to Africa is in my view pure inspiration. It is meet indeed that authentic story telling be re-energized just in the same year we celebrate the Vatican’s oldest and prime, electronic storyteller, the Vatican Radio. Great credit goes to the moderators of this Webinar for recognizing this important confluence and for grabbing the opportunity to stage this discussion on this worldwide platform.
As President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communication CEPACS working for the Symposium for Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, (SECAM) we thank the Radio Vatican for its labor of love over the years. We recognize the treasure in Pope Francis’ message that we need to sanitize today’s world through the rediscovery of real stories about real people and about real issues in very land. When God bequeathed the care of creation to humanity according to the Scriptures, he showed that man is the prime treasure and apex of his creation, a primacy that was not to be altered by consideration for economic, political or other lesser considerations. Man was given dominion over creation, not to DAMAGE but to CARE for it. The concern is therefore understandable that generation to generation be kept well informed of this mandate through authentic storytelling. Every land and people therefore have that same responsibility sd must discharge it with the idioms and metaphors best known to them.
Africa, perhaps more than other continents is a continent of people composed of contemporary stories inspired and energized by past ones. The continent’s cult and reverence of ancestors already provided fertile soil for the acceptance of Communion of Saints which is an important tenet of Christianity. Weaving authentic stories about Africa therefore requires of course that the “weaver” be well-acquainted with the fables, riddles, tales, songs, proverbs of Africa. Stories worked in the past to build the African Society and its values and traditions. They certainly have not stopped working today.
I make bold to say that after God, humanity is the element that is common to Christian and African traditions. Human beings have remained the same over the ages and have been at the heart of the ideals of Christianity and the values of African tradition. Stories help human beings to establish meaning in life and to search for the Sublime Reality to themselves. Storytelling helps to express complex and difficult truths in a manner that makes them easy to appropriate but does not make them any less effective. They have been used in that manner in Africa over the ages. The Bible has examples of this fact. For example, The encounter between King David and the prophet Nathan is perhaps the most representative of this (2Sam 12: 1-25), but so is the parable of the Samaritan (Lk 10: 25-37). It is important to note that both were focused on events that happened around real persons. While heroism is not immediately detected in the story about King David and prophet Nathan it is surely present. The Samaritan, on the other hand, is clearly seen as a hero who put the cowardice of the priest and Levite who passed the injured man by on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho to shame with minimal abrasion.
It would seem to me that this is the challenge to which Weavers of African Stories are called today in the face of Crass materialism, Bad Governance, Terrorism, Ethnic Conflict, Corruption, Discrimination, Ethnic Bias, and Sexual immorality which assail the continent. It is necessary to identify the real heroes of everyday as the message of the Holy Father calls us to do, and to expose their experience as a catalyst for change just as we do for our fathers in the faith, Saint John , James Agatha Cecilia and so on. It is imperative to deploy the stories and the local means of storytelling today that could bring the hearer or audience of any class or status to the point where King David after his encounter with Nathan, said: “I have sinned against Yahweh” (verse 13) and to the point where Jesus said to the lawyer in the parable of the Samaritan, “Go and do the same yourself” (V 37).
There would be no reason for the weaver of African stories to feel shy doing this through myths and riddles and proverbs because to regard African myths as untrue or simply a distraction is merely a betrayal of ignorance about their role and power. Archbishop Peter Sarpong, the emeritus Bishop of Kumasi Diocese in Ghana has established that the myths of a society give information about the world of thoughts of that society and help in the absorption of values , truths and ideals of a people. Sarpong said that in Africa all myths are true in a sense. Their truthfulness depends on their relevance to human experiences of life where they are found.
Therefore we have a considerable task to identify and never give up on projecting the positive stories of such African icons of selfless service, love, tolerance, fidelity forgiveness and reconciliation. Such icons as the Martyrs of Uganda, the much acclaimed late President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Blessed Fr Iwene Tansi and even the teeanger Leah Sharibu of Nigeria who refused to renounce her Christian faith to regain her freedom under the threat of death. These and similar stories offer us positive content around which we must weave our experiences
For extra advantage, storytelling in the African context has always been democratic as all are invited to engage in it through the means of riddles, drama, songs and mimes. That extra advantage of this is that the subjects of storytelling can then extend to even the next door neighbour, the parent, the brother uncle aunt or even friend. Anyone who, driven by a force that makes them courageous enough to confront difficult situations and to combat evil, and exhibits a sign of heroism can and should be celebrated in our stories. The pope in the same WDC message emphasizes that no human story is insignificant or paltry. No one is an extra on the world stage. He wrote that: “Since God became story every human story is in a certain sense a divine story….every human story has an irrepressible dignity”
Strengthened, therefore by these perspectives Master Weavers of African Stories as my topic evokes, must invoke the stories of the past when we had much less in Africa but were much more, when we found more joy in whom we were than in what we had, more peace in being together than in being separated. Without pretending, we must help our people to always see the larger story that with God, pain is not the end of any story. We must deploy the cultural and literary resources of Africa to ensure that when writing the story of our life and continent we do not allow anyone else to hold the pen. We must weave a fabric that at the end of the day ensures that our authentic life become authentic history that can match the history of any other people all over the world.
OYO DIOCESE RESUMES PUBLICATION WITH STYLE
Akede Igbagbo (The Faith Proclaimer); the News Service of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo was first published in the year 2006. At a point in time, it went into interregnum as a result of logistics. Now however, it has been revived with the publication of April-June publication which is Volume 14, No. 52 edition 2020.
This edition features the recent developments and progress in the five deaneries, parishes, churches, out stations, schools, hospitals and commissions in the diocese as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the state of affairs.
Also worthy of mention in the publication is the pastoral focus article titled “We still cannot breathe” written by the Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Revd Emmanuel Badejo where he bemoaned the hard times that our world has fallen into not only as a result of the pandemic but also the other evils like racism, domestic and child abuse, terrorism, police brutality and other sundry crimes that has increased in many countries of the world. According to him, all prospective solutions to the world’s problems must incorporate spiritual revival and moral regeneration so that they can stand the test of time. He concluded on the note of soliciting the contribution of every parish, church society, groups and individuals in the diocese towards realizing the noble objective for establishing a better world through the pastoral initiatives of the diocese.
The reportage of deeds of some of the organizations and committees in the Diocese were also not left out in addition to Opinion Poll on COVID-19 and news from around the Country and the Vatican that were also featured in the periodical among others.
An excerpt from the Editorial by the Editor-In-Chief, Rev Fr Martin Badejo says “in these few months eaten up by the locust of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a lot of persons, a lot of companies, a lot of imaginations have been remodeled, to fit into the lines of the present need. This show how vast is the human mind created by God……… Please read carefully and enjoy the news bits from our diocese especially as we take the faith to the grassroots, our pastoral focus”.
- Festus Oyelakin
NEW DEVELOPMENT AT OUR LADY’S HOSPITAL, ISEYIN
For some years, the difficulty of water supply became a nightmare for Our Lady’s Catholic Hospital, Iseyin. The reason is that the provision of water from the government Water Corporation has long been a thing of the past in many communities. Also the brick tank built many years ago could not hold water again, as a result of leakages because it is old. We however received the kindness of God through the link to the congregation of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers). We were able to reach them through our local ordinary, Bishop E. A. Badejo. This congregation gave us the funds to sink a bore hole, which now provides water for the hospital, and the St. Joseph Catholic Nursery and Primary School, which is just beside the hospital.
Similarly, It is an understatement to say that power supply in Nigeria is creditable. This lack of course affects the rural and poor areas more. It is also the case in Iseyin. The area where our hospital is sited in Irawote-Isalu can hardly boast of 4 –6 hours electric power supply 24 hours. Yet we need power to do our duty as a major healthcare provider, especially to the poor. This is what we struggle with, as manage with a power generating set, which also has to get repaired and fixed by the repairer almost twice every week due to its bad state, resulting from its use over the years.
However, luck smiled on us from God when with the help of Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, a family from Germany provided us with a solar system to generate power. This was installed for the hospital in August 2018. The limited power it can generate however still left us with some need of powering some very huge hospital equipment. This need became satisfied when on October 27, 2019, the proprietor gave delivery of a brand new generating set, Olympian Model and sound proofed 60KVA Caterpillar from Mantrac Company. Now put it to use when needed without fear of breakdown and ‘no light’ syndrome has become a thing of the past.
ST PETERS SABO OYO WEARS A NEW LOOK
The will of Christ is that the Gospel reaches the ends of the world (Cf. Matt. 28:19). It is therefore fitting that where people gather for worship should be conducive for the presence of God and for prayer. This is the motive behind some of the developmental projects in St Peter Catholic Church, Sabo, Oyo, in spite of the challenges posed by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The church has purchased and installed a beautiful tabernacle which shall be blessed soon. Also, the sanctuary, and the sacristy have been tiled. The whole church structure has also been painted. The rectory now has a face-lift with installation of casement windows and a repainting.
Not to us Lord, not to us but to your name we give the glory (Ps.115:1) for the success recorded. We thank our bishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo for his paternal support and encouragement, and Rev. Fr. Philip Onifade (Priest in-charge). The efforts of the parishioners and all our benefactors cannot go unnoticed. May God reward everyone.
- Raphael Akinyemi
CYON OYO IN EXPLOITS EVEN IN THE TOUGH TIMES OF COVID-19
Though the lockdown and prohibition from gatherings which are preventive measures against the worldwide ravaging of the pandemic of COVID-19 has greatly affected a lot of planned activities of the Oyo Diocesan Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON), it has however not deterred Organization from organizing programmes online such as Quiz competitions and Webinars on their Diocesan WhatsApp Platform.
The Webinars and Quizzes apart from being a great way of creating more enlightenment on various topics covering faith and religion, health, family life and vocation, civil law in the Society and lots more, has also been an innovative way of engaging the minds of the youths in this trying times when they have more time on their hands so as to prevent them from being the proverbial idle hands referred to as the devil’s workshop.
So far the impact of the online activities has been impressive as the massive feedbacks from people who have benefitted greatly from the wealth of knowledge continue to be a great thing to write home about. Through the programme, many who had disturbing questions about aspects of their lives found answers to them. Active participation of more youths in discussions has also been noticed and there has been increase in the number of requests to join the group. This is due to the fact that the valuable lectures on the Diocesan WhatsApp Platform are forwarded and shared to the Zonal and Parish Platforms and to other platforms too where they are found very useful.
Speaking about the achievements so far and what to expect in the future to come, the Diocesan Youth President – Mr. John ’Tunji Ojelabi said “So far we have had quiz competitions and talks on Civil and Society Law, Health, Relationship, Marriage, Faith, Catechism, etc. and the youths now look forward to more. Hopefully, we are hoping to touch more spheres of life in our discussions as it concerns the youth. We hope to touch other areas like Finance, Entrepreneurship, Vocations and more. More so, we hope to focus more on the entrepreneurship aspect as plans are in place to have a better presentation even while online and hopefully when the pandemic is over, we can have physical trainings around the zones”.
Apart from the online activities, with the approval and support of the Bishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, some of the youths around have also been trained by the Diocesan Youth Coordinator, Rev. Sr Elizabeth Agwu USOA in the Youth Office on how to make beads and Rosary, liquid soaps and Chin-Chin. It must be added that ongoing now in the youth office at the headquarters is the training of some individual youths on how to play some musical instruments.
- Festus Oyelakin.
PASTORAL INITIATIVES IN IJIO DEANERY DURING THE COVID 19 LOCKDOWN
“Our churches are closed but the Church is not closed, for we are the Church”. This statement is a paraphrasing of the of one the vital points made by the Bishop, the Most Rev E. A. Badejo, at the beginning of the challenging period of the lock down that eventually lasted months. The situation, at the beginning, threw almost everyone into confusion, for there was little or no anticipation of such. Yet, we did live beyond it, to the glory of God! Since the Church exists in the first place, to offer salvation to the people, by attending to their spiritual needs, it became necessary, that the Church has to make adjustments so as to co-operate with the civil society in fighting the pandemic. The initiatives put to use are:
Prayers in the Families: There was a common agreement that our people be helped to pray in their families. Therefore, some guidelines were given to them. Parents were instructed on how to lead in their families; and youth who can read should assist in biblical and spiritual readings. Besides Morning and Night Prayers, they were asked to say more frequently, the prayer to St Michael, the Archangel, the Angelus and the Rosary.
Masses with Families or Small Christian Communities: At the beginning, some parishes were saying Masses with families that might so show desire for it, with people not more than ten. However, as the situation improved, families around the same area could come together for Masses. This was a bit akin to the use of the “Small Christian Communities” by some parishes.
Sunday Masses: In most parishes, Masses were said every Sunday in our main churches, with people not more than ten, who had to follow the laid down rules of handwashing, face masking and physical distancing. The parishes adopted different ways in selecting the number: some made use of societies in the parishes; while made do with families or groups. It is to be noted that most of our Prayer Leaders and Catechists were really active during this time, as they would go to conduct Services in some “Small Christian Communities.” Where Seminarians were present, they were involved, after being guided on what to do in such an assembly.
Finances: It is not exaggerating to say that most of the financial obligations of the parishes in the deanery were met through from the personal savings of the Priests. This is not to say that there were no collections coming from the people at all. However, this was too meager to meet up with the financial commitments of the parishes, since Priests even had to assist many financially in such a difficult time.
Palliatives to the People: In such a hard time, the Church could not close her eyes to the most basic needs of the people. Therefore, different parishes had to assist their people by giving some assistance to those who asked and those judged by the Priests to be in need. Thanks to the Diocese for the different palliatives sent to the parishes!
Other Progammes: While it was impossible to do some online programmes with our youth, some of them were encouraged to take the advantage of the time to acquire new skills, in bag making, art works, hair making, music and so on. Farming became a popular thing in the deanery during this period. Most of the lands around our churches were cultivated-some, even, by the Priests themselves.
Conclusion: As we gradually come out of the period, we pray that such never repeats itself in the history of humanity. Yet, we cannot over-look few things that we must not allow to slip away as some lessons from the pandemic. The first is to always learn to save, no matter how little. Many of us were caught with little or nothing in our accounts. The second is not to take hygiene for granted at any moment. We can also take home the fact that adjustment is possible at any point of our existence, just as we saw it happen in the liturgy and we had to adapt for obvious reasons. In addition, we have the lesson of the fact that the world is not sustained by our noisy crusades that were not held for months but by true and simple prayers coming from pure and true hearts. Thus, the greatest of the lessons is that God remains the first and final answer to all situations. With all the advancements in the “meditechniques”, solution to Covid-19, came not from science but from God.
Fr John ‘Toye Olayiwola.
TELL THE STORY. TELL IT RIGHT
“Story, story! Story!!
Once upon a time! Time Time!!”
So an elder gathered the children under the bright moonlight. They had come from the various homes in the village. Sitting in a semi-circle, he settled on a stool in front them, his voice rose as he narrated the heroics of Akinkunmi, a courageous man who led the hunters of their village in battle, when they were being ravaged by their neighbours. At the end of the story, the old man shook his head with a smile as he raised his hand to the skies with a clenched fist. “Our village won the victory”, he said in an overpowering baritone. From one generation to another, the story kept ringing in the minds of the children. They told the story. They told it right. They lived with that conviction. They held on to the tradition. They never lost the culture.
In 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in the Acton University Conference, at Grand Rapids, Michigan. I remember vividly one of the courses we had, with a lecture titled, “Lose the Story, Lose the Culture”. Michael Novak in a very moving manner narrated tactically the beauty and advantage of never losing one’s story. He made a huge statement in the fact that a story well told, “brings into play imagination, manner, style, and even tonal quality”. It captures the entire conceptual faculty of the listener, for which he is also likely to want to tell the same story to those he comes across. A good story in this sense therefore is like spinning a beautiful yarn around a cultural substance, which becomes too adorable to be destroyed. It makes a positive impact and is therefore passed on from one generation to another. Novak further affirmed that, “sometimes, we learn narratives from family or an outstanding teacher. But sometimes narratives come to us through a surrounding community or even a whole culture.”
The “theme of storytelling”* as given to us by the Holy Father Pope Francis, for the 2020 edition of the World Day of Communications may look rather unexpected, for we live in times when it is more popular to gather around what we refer to as breaking news, than for a profound reminiscence, which can engage our total conceptual imagination in a tedious task of tidy thinking. But this exactly is what a father does, which the Holy Father brings us to. He takes us back to move us forward. This is a necessary paradox for us to engage in, “so as not to lose our bearings”*. As we battle with the “the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us”*. We really need to heed again and again that, “these commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut 6:6-7). The loud noise today, exemplified in the abundance of conspiracy theories, gossips, false and violent language, which impress quite easily on many fickle-minds, calls for real wisdom to be able to stand firm and “to be able to welcome and create beautiful, true and good stories”* with the “courage to reject false and evil stories.”*
In order to avoid the danger of replacing the truth of who we are with cosmetic ideas borne out of seemingly novel narratives, we must always go back to “the story of stories”*. Pope Francis puts it clearly that the Sacred Scriptures is the story of stories with God as the creator and the narrator.* Without mincing words, here is direct call to us all to go back to the roots to rediscover the beauty of our story, live by it and pass it on. The Holy Father’s message takes an excursus through a verse in the Book of Exodus, “that you may tell in the hearing of your children and grandchildren… what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord” (Ex 10:2). He writes, “the Exodus experience teaches us that knowledge of the Lord is handed down from generation to generation mainly by telling the story of how he continues to make himself present. The God of life communicates with us through the story of life. Jesus spoke of God not with abstract concepts, but with parables, brief stories taken from everyday life. At this point life becomes story and then, for the listener, story becomes life: the story becomes part of the life of those who listen to it, and it changes them.”*
Indeed, the one at the centre of the story is the Lord of history himself. We must provide a thread through our stories that puts him in the driving seat all through. Nevertheless, we need to make sure that the story enters into context, culture, and our individual stories, to be told again and again from age to age, making use of every available medium. For instance, our theology must bear meaning in the context and culture within which it is taught, needless to say so the same about our homilies and catechesis. What if we pay more attention to the simplicity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the saints, the exemplary men and women who even are still alive and tell their stories more loudly on the media platforms available to us today, electronic and otherwise?
Ours is a great legacy. It is infinite. It is necessary to live it as a culture. But we must not lose the story. We must tell the story. We must tell it right. Then we can live it with conviction. It will go from age to age. Those who listen will become stronger. If truly as Neil Postman said, “all culture is a conversation”, then we cannot afford to halt our continuous and creative conversation. Telling our story is one of the best ways to continue that conversation.
Happy World Communications Day 2020.
Fr. Martin Badejo
(World Communications Day, May 24, 2020)
*notes with direct quotations from the Pope’s message
See the Pope’s message here 👉🏻
The Story, The Storyteller and The Storytelling
The Holy Father brings back to memory an important aspect of our growing up, especially before the arrival of the social media. What a great privilege it is, to reflect on what really constitute oral tradition on this 54th World Communications Day with the theme “That you may tell your children and grandchildren” Exodus 10:2. Life becomes History. This reflection is necessary for everyone, as we all are meant to examine our attitude based on how we tell stories about the events of our lives and the events of other realities because each day we tell one story or the other. To help us in this reflection, the stages in the formation of the Gospels will be our guide.
According to the catechism of the Catholic Church, we can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels: The life and teachings of Jesus, the oral tradition and the written Gospels (CCC no 126).
The life and teachings of Jesus while here on earth came in different episodes, which make a whole. Each day of his life was a package of stories for people of his time. Definitely, they spoke about and told the stories of his miracles, his teachings and of his encounters whenever they got home. Some told them the way they were, some told them in a way that reflected some parts of the episodes, while some deviated entirely in their storytelling. Some understood his words, while some misconstrued him. Some did not comprehend his life and thus, insinuated and made erroneous conclusions. All of these affected the stories they told about each episode of his life.
The question of motive is always behind every story telling. Why would some people tell the stories of Jesus’ life exactly as they were, some tell the stories then with just some patches of truth and some exaggerate, while some others reduced the stories to nothing? This same event is still obtainable in our days. Some have said things we did not say or do. Some have told the things we did with just some patches of truth. Some have even made up their own stories of us, and as such crowned us thus.
The second stage is the oral tradition. It should be noted that oral tradition in this sense began even while Jesus was still alive. Just as it is pointed out above, many things were said about Jesus, while he was alive and those stories continued after his life. Thus, when the Bible records the inspired truths about our Lord Jesus Christ, at some instances, it equally points out the false teachings of the Jews about Jesus Christ; to really show to us that whatever they handed on till our time concerning Jesus, is false.
Oral traditions are messages that are transmitted orally from one generation to another. The Messages may be passed down through speeches or songs and may take the form of folktales and fables, epic histories and narrations, proverbs or sayings, and songs. Oral Traditions make it possible for a society to pass knowledge across generations without writing. They Help people make sense of the world and are used to teach children and adults alike about important aspects of their culture.
There is a rich tradition of oral storytelling in many parts of the world. Oral traditions guide social and human morals, giving people a sense of place and purpose. There is often a lesson or a value to instil, and the transmission of wisdom to children is a community responsibility. Parents, grandparents, and relatives take part in the process of passing down the knowledge of culture and history. Storytelling provides entertainment, develops the imagination, and teaches important lessons about every-day life. A storyteller’s tools are not just words, but gestures, singing, facial expressions, body movements and acting to make stories memorable and interesting. Sometimes masks and costumes are used to enhance a performance. A storyteller performs epics that can span hours or even days long relating to history and genealogy, battles and political uprisings of a community. They use riddles, proverbs and myths to educate and entertain. Storytelling is an important shared event with people sitting together, listening and even participating in accounts of past deeds, beliefs, taboos, andmyths. Gifted or well-known storytellers often repeat the story with the same words and sameexpressions in each performance as they travel. They also add new materials to an old storyto make it more interesting or meaningful to different audiences. Oral storytelling emphasizesrepetition of the language and rhythm, which are two of its most important characteristics.Storytellers often repeat words, phrases, refrains, sounds, whole lines and even stanzas. Theuse of repetition helps the audience remember the chorus and allows them to join in with thestoryteller. A story-teller pays close attention to the beat and how the words sound. Usingshort phrases makes the stories easier to understand and recall from memory. Whenaudiences who are familiar with the stories actively participate in their telling, they feel asense of belonging to the community. (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53cfd0e5e4b057663ea1bc61/t/57b1e0b746c3c406dd172afd/1471275383444/Oral+Traditions+of+West+Africa.pdf)
This was exactly what the apostles did: “Indeed, after the Ascension of the Lord the Apostleshanded on to their hearers what He had said and done. This they did with that clearerunderstanding which they enjoyed…” (Dei Verbum 19).
The above clearly shows the mind of the Holy Father in his message this year as he statedthat: “I would like to devote this year’s Message to the theme of storytelling, because Ibelieve that, so as not to lose our bearings, we need to make our own the truth contained ingood stories. Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots andthe strength needed to move forward together”
The emphasis here is the story woven/told by the storyteller. Like the time of Jesus, theintentions of the Pharisees, the elders and the scribes in weaving their stories of Jesus werevery different from that of the common Jews. Sometimes, stories are woven for exploitativepurposes, destruction, greed etc. The story of Jesus was told in his life time, in his presence tocause his death: he was blaspheming, he turned the people against the authority, he broke thelaws of the Sabbath, they said of him. The apostles however told the stories from onegeneration to the other to teach the truth and build up the faith. They used different styles,genres and languages to spread the stories of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
In our time, lots of stories told beautifully to portray false teachings and anti-life agendas; tocause uproar and spread rumours; to damage people’s integrity and reduce human dignityhave been seen. Ours is a generation that has distorted the stories handed on to us. All storieshave been tampered with. Even the Story of all stories, the Sacred Scriptures, has been retoldin several climes to support evil acts. Oral tradition handed on to our generation has beenpackaged in a manner such that many stories have lost their essence and relevance.
In the written stage, the sacred writers only synthesized the many things which have beenhanded on by word of mouth or in writing; explained some things in view of the situation oftheir churches and preserved the form of proclamation, but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus. The written stage would have been futile if the storieswritten down have been disrupted and twisted by the different storytellers of various ages.Since God himself has given us a story to tell of himself in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, hehas become our great story and thus, “every human story is, in a certain sense, a divinestory”. In the history of every person, the Father sees again the story of his Son who camedown to earth. Every human story has an irrepressible dignity. Consequently, humanitydeserves stories that are worthy of it, worthy of that dizzying and fascinating height to which Jesus elevated it” (Pope’s Message on WCD, 2020 no 4). Thus as we continue to tell of the greatstory, the great storyteller waits eagerly for us at all times to see more of the story of his Sonin our lives. He wants to help in reweaving our stories. More can also be learnt in the stories of our Mother Mary and the stories of the saints.The story, the art of storytelling and the story teller become essential for us in our generation.What are the stories handed on to us that we have distorted? How have we told such stories? Who are our story tellers? If the story of the Exodus experience had been told wrongly down the ages among the Jews by the different storytellers, the feast of Passover might have taken another form during the time of Jesus. Storytelling then is a true story told by the storyteller.
Happy 2020 World Communications Day to us all.
Sr. Eunice Olusola Ikufisile, OSF
Director of Communications
Catholic Diocese of Oyo
LET THE ASCENSION OF JESUS RAISE YOUR HOLINESS LEVEL
People of God , we worship God again today as his beloved people on this Solemnity of the Ascension. The Church celebrates the Ascension forty days after the Resurrection of Jesus. He was lifted up to heaven and his disciples gazed after him until the angels told them: “Why gaze in wonder at the heavens? This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go” (Acts 1: 1-11). That is what the Church celebrates today. To the faithless mind, grounded only in the ephemeral things of the world, this is nonsensical but to us who are baptised into Christ, this is another reassurance that this earth is not our final home.
The disciples were not exactly jumping for joy when Jesus was lifted up, they were at best wondering with eyes lifted up. This was probably the worst period in which their “Oga” should leave them. Things were not easy for them. Christianity at the beginning was not going to be an easy piece of cake. Surely if they could they would have held him back to stay and see them through the tough times. They would have sung songs like: Baba mai lo ajantiele, or Abide with me, or I need thee every hour. That is why angels had to tell them to go about their assignment, that Jesus would come back in the very same way. That same Jesus has even promised to send them the Holy Spirit.
We are at such a point all over the world now. If it were possible, we would probably postpone the ascension so that Jesus would stay and help us resolve the troubles we are in and they are many. Who will deliver us from COVID 19. Who will save us from the Corruption 19, Hunger 19, Unemployment 19 or Falsehood 19 and more, all of which have all been inflicted on Gods people in the name of helping out? That feeling is understandable.
The Ascension presents us with so many important facts that encourage us. 1. It reminds us that nobody, no power in this world can restrict, curtail, lockdown or quarantine God’s plan. No virus or army can legislate on his ascension He will go and come as he will and even send the Holy Spirit when he wants. Glory be to him. 2. It also reminds us that our homeland s not here but in heaven (cf. Philippians 3:18-20). He promised that he will come to take us to be with him where he is. (I want to go to heaven in the morning Tis heaven, yes heaven is the price.) The questions to ask ourselves are: Are we prepared, are we ready? Shall we be found worthy? (Try sing this song and mean it: “I will be ready, I will be ready, I will be ready when the Lord shall come”
That question is for all believers in God not just for Christians, but for Muslims and Traditional Worshippers, be they in government, civil service or in the marketplace or in our homes. All African religions believe that God will one day call us back and reward us for our life endeavours. With your current conduct, will it take you to heaven? I said in a homily not long ago that this period should be the best period for Nigeria. Christians have just finished fasting and repentance and are in Easter mood, Muslims are now concluding their fasting and are getting into Ramadan mood. Most of us should be very holy people by now. There should really be no more cheating, lying, stealing killing and deceiving now in our State, in Nigeria. But are things like that? We know too well that the contrary is the case. We are not yet where we want to be at all.
So, we all need God more now, whoever we are, than at any other time. This is the more reason we again ask the government authorities as many have done before to open up our mosques and churches and worship centres and do the needful to enforce regulations where necessary. Our authorities must know that spiritual death is far much worse than physical death. Jesus said we should fear more those who kill the body and soul and cast them into hell fire (Matthew 10:28).
At the beginning of the Corona Virus pandemic we accepted precautionary limitations on our worship because sincerely nobody knew what had hit the world. Now after many weeks we do have a fair idea. Even though we do not yet know how to cure it, we know some means by which to prevent it. It is now time to restore the citizens’ fundamental right to worship. Our Churches and Mosques offer services that are far more important than those offered by our motor parks and markets. They help people cope with every kind of situation and help them to be better citizens. They are far more able to follow the rules laid down for hygiene and safety than those who manage the motor parks and markets which have been opened. This is to say nothing about the social and charity works of the Church which has for too long been impeded.
Finally, prayer in community achieves much more than we give it credit for. Check out the Pentecost Day prayer, or ask Paul and Silas in the prison cell (Acts 16:22ff). It is our most powerful weapon in the face of trouble and of COVID 19, more than the PTF more than the NCDC and more than any government (cf. Psalm 127). “Unless the Lord builds the house, in vain do the builders labour”. Let people return to communal prayers!
We Nigerians are not ashamed to be called the most religious nation in the world and we ought not to be. We have not seen any credible evidence that prayer hurts in any way. We are more ashamed as we ought to be, of being called the most corrupt nation in the world. Evidence abounds that corruption is abundant in our nation and it hurts and kills. Should we not better lockdown corruption and related viruses and open up our places of worship, diligently enforcing enabling laws as we should?
So, we are all challenged today by the Solemnity of the Ascension to think more about our souls and heaven. Government and the governed, all have work to do to make heaven. Show more evidence of your faith and Nigeria will cope better with any problem.
Happy Ascension Day!
Bishop Emmanuel Ade Badejo of Oyo Diocese
SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF JESUS, May 21, 2020
CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF CELEBRATION OF THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF OSOGBO DIOCESE
The Bishop, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay Faithful of Osogbo Diocese,
On behalf of the Bishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Priests, Consecrated persons and lay faithful of Oyo Diocese, I congratulate all Christ's Faithful of our sister Diocese, Osogbo on the joyous occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the creation of the Diocese. May the name of the Lord be praised both now and forevermore.
It is indeed a great and memorable celebration even amidst the pangs of the novel pandemic ravaging humanity presently. It only helps us all to further reflect on the meaning of true living.
25 years, one of the jubilee years and the first of the jubilee years remain special to you all. May God show you all special favours. Amen.
We all in Oyo Diocese continue join you to thank God for the works that have been done in the last 25 years in the Diocese, towards the fulfilment of the task and mission of making the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ reach the ends of the world. We pray that God will continue to bless the work of your hands with success. Amen.
The mission of running the good race and fighting the good fight continues. We look forward to more fruitful years. May God lead you on. Amen.
Once again, congratulations to the Chief Shepherd of Osogbo Diocese, Most Rev John Oyejola on this joyous occasion. May God continue to support you as you shepherd the flock entrusted to your care. Amen. To all the priests and consecrated persons working in collaboration with you, we pray that God will continue to renew your strength and vigour to carry out the mission of Christ. Amen. Congratulations to the Lay Faithful of Osogbo Diocese. May God continue to bless your sacrifice. Amen.
May our mother Mary continue to intercede for you all and may the work of evangelization in Osogbo Diocese be sown for an eternal harvest. Amen.
God bless Bishop John Oyejola!
God bless Osogbo Diocese!
CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE ON YOUR 25TH EPISCOPAL ORDINATION ANNIVERSARY
Together with the Bishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Priests, Consecrated Persons and Lay faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, I congratulate our beloved,
Most Rev. Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin, the Metropolitan See of Ibadan Province & Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, this day as you celebrate your silver jubilee as a Bishop.
Jubilee Years are special years in the life of any being. 25, being the first of the jubilee years will ever remain special in one’s memory.
Your call to a higher form of service 25years ago has yielded enormous harvest in all areas of the life of the Church. Ceaselessly and unflinchingly, you have sowed the seed of Christianity and Catholicism, beginning from Osogbo Diocese to Ibadan Archdiocese and beyond. The various seeds planted and scattered like the sower fell on different soils. But for those who fell on rich soil, you should know that they have grown to become big trees where lukewarm hearts and unbelieving souls find haven and are transformed to good Christians and Catholics.
In your motto: "ife bori ohun gbogbo" (love conquers all), I encourage you to continue to find your strength, especially as you lead and shepherd on in love, seeking the lost sheep of your fold and those seeds that have fallen on the wrong soil due to many challenging circumstances. In love you will surely succeed.
Your Grace, as you look back to the last 25 years in thanksgiving and gratitude to God, who has chosen you, I urge you to look to the future with more vigour and strength as you lead after the heart of Christ. May God who has called and chosen you always lead you on. May His Holy Spirit never depart from you and may our Mother, Mary continue to intercede for you.
Once again, I congratulate you. I wish you more fulfilling and gracious reign in your episcopacy.
Ad Multos Annos
OYO SOCIAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION ALIGNS WITH DIOCESAN PASTORAL PLAN
Wednesday May 6, 2020 marked a historic step in the life of the Social Communications Commission in the Diocese of Oyo as the Bishop Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo summoned the top Members of the Commission to an evaluation meeting in the hall of the Diocesan headquarters. The meeting started at 11:00am with representatives from the 5 Deaneries of the Diocese, Such a meeting in such a manner, was the first of its kind, convoked, as it turned out to ensure that the Communications Commission work more in harmony with the recently launched 10-year Pastoral plan of the diocese.
Invoking the SWOT principle, the Bishop called for the evaluation of the activities and programmes of pastoral communication in the Diocese as a springboard for composing future plans. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Commission were brought to the limelight and analyzed. The Commission was evaluated both ad intra and ad extra and adjudged to have done well in the electronic media, especially in the live streaming of the pastoral activities, live programmes on Facebook e.g. and the airing of the Masses, especially to aid the participation of the faithful during the Corona Virus pandemic period. The online Youth Webinar, the Faith Exchange Series, Marriage and Family Life and Lenten programmes on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Lumen Christi Television, broadcasts of pastoral initiatives and creative initiatives at these tough times of the pandemic of COVID-19 were also commended etc. How to sustain these initiatives and do even better formed the chunk of the exchange at the meeting.
All those present were challenged to develop a better approach to collaboration, regularly updating of the Diocesan Website (www.catholicdioceseoyo.org) with pastoral news, reports, photographs interviews. Much was discussed about the revival of effort on the print media – particularly the diocesan Newsletter, photo documentation, news gathering, training and formation of communication agents and general capacity building for different segments of the faithful on pastoral communication awareness and participation. The Bishop insisted much on a greater use of the interview format in order to harvest the experience and views of many icons and elders who have contributed to the growth of Oyo Diocese in different areas
At the end of the meeting, all present resolved not only to have eyes and ears for news, but more importantly, to develop even the instinct for news. The concluding resolutions included the immediate revival of the Diocesan Newsletter and giving more attention to capacity building of the faithful in the deaneries and parishes in a decentralized format which will ease the work of the Director of Communications. All present also resolved to generate more suitable content for the Lumen Christi Satellite Television which has shown commendable interest in broadcasting programmes from Oyo Diocese. The diocese was commended for investing funds in the communication apostolate more than in the past, a fact that has made a lot of difference in the apostolate.
Present at the meeting were Frs Michael Falade (the former Director of Social Communications Commission), Martin Badejo, Lawrence Oke, Benjamin Jolasun, Joshua Benedict, Sr. Eunice Ikufisile, OSF (the Director of Social Communications Commission) and Sr. Bridget Monehin, SSL. All departed at the end of the meeting with renewed enthusiasm and commitment to put all hands-on-deck, each one having been saddled with a particular task to perform in order to realize the terms of the Diocesan Pastoral plan.
Fr. Benjamin Jolasun
Catholic Diocese of Oyo
JESUS SAVED US LET US HELP OTHERS
EASTER MESSAGE 2020
Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo
Oyo Catholic Diocese
If Easter was ever necessary in the world it is now. Easter Sunday is the day on which Jesus won the victory over sin and death by his resurrection. Easter Sunday is a day of joy. It is a soothing, consoling event for a world that is reeling with death, disease and conflict and suffering. Easter answers all the question which Good Friday and other such contradictions raise, like: Why is there suffering in the world? Why do good people suffer? Will good ever bring any reward? Could there be any meaning in suffering? etc. Easter tells us to look at Jesus Christ as the practical answer to such questions.
Jesus obtained his victory through obedience to God (Phil 2: 5ff), selfless service (Mk 10:45), humility and love (Jn 13:13-17). He went through every pain we can be going though now and more, isolation, hunger, rejection, abandonment, quarantine, persecution and death. Then he rose again as he promised (Matt 16: 21). Whenever we have problems, let us remember that Jesus identifies with us and that should give us hope and courage. God will come to our rescue. At Easter we rejoice because we have this hope and God is trustworthy.
The restrictions and lockdown caused by the Corona Virus epidemic have brought much suffering and pain to the people, compromising the Easter celebrations. So, the Church identifies with all the people of God. Churches may be closed to normal celebrations at this time, Christianity is not closed down. Our gathering together in large numbers is only one way for the Church to celebrate and worship God. (Jn 4:21). The basic, domestic church which is the family must continue to function. Wherever two or three of God’s children are gathered, Jesus is among them (Matt 18:20). So, even at this Easter the Church thrives and celebrates in family prayer, group prayer and private meditation on the Scripture and works of charity. Christianity thrives on the traditional media, print and electronic media on the social media and even in the songs and stories we tell. When the restrictions caused by the COVID 19 pandemic would have disappeared we must not lose this newfound capacity to pray in our families, engage in (Lectio Divina), meditation on the word of God and our communion in the work of charity to the needy. This is the silver ining in the dark cloud of our empty churches during the Lenten period and Easter celebrations.
But more important however is that all of us Christians live holy lives of concrete action, because a life of sin is incompatible with the resurrection and with Christ (1 Jn 3: 4-7). We must strive to be worthy of Jesus’ resurrection, caring for the poor and the needy as he taught us. We also pray for the dead from various tragedies to rest in peace and for the sick to find healing. The prophet Hosea invites God’s people to such renewal and hope. “Come, let us return to Yahweh. He has rent us and he will heal us; he has struck us and he will bind up our wounds; and after two days he will revive us, on the third day he will raise us up and we shall live in his presence” (Hos. 6:1-3).
Nigerians must not lose hope. In fact, we have a reason to be hopeful. We have seen heroic action from some government officials, private donors and institutions too since the COVID 19 pandemic broke out. Many doctors and nurses have put their lives on the line and other people of good will have done the same. May they all be adequately rewarded. For this reason, the Catholic Church Dioceses and institutions with its unmatched reach all over Nigeria have committed money to help families and feed the poor. 400 catholic hospitals have been offered to Governments all over the country as possible isolation, care and counselling centres for victims of the virus. This we do to care for the soul and body of people and to help them feel the hope of the resurrection.
I therefore commend the civil authorities at various levels for the effort made so far especially on COVID 19. I wish they attend to other problems in Nigeria in the same manner. Government cannot operate restrictions the same way as is done in America or Europe in a detached manner. Life is much tougher for people here and social facilities are weak. Poor people should be helped more. People are hungry and understandably angry. Hungry people might not care about virus or bacteria, because hunger kills faster. Easter is the feast of God’s love and mercy and we should be more caring and loving.
So, I call on all Nigerians to please help somebody out. Christians have a special obligation here. On this shall be based our final encounter with God as Jesus warned (Matt 25:31-46). After his resurrection Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep” (Jn 21:17). Those who love Jesus must always help others not care for themselves alone. COVID 19 has taught us that anybody can be affected and no one is exempted. I plead with the public to cooperate with all the effort put in place to save lives and bring sanity back to our society. Keep praying especially the Lord’s prayer, “Our Father”, which takes care of all our concerns in summary and let us hope in God that we shall all outlive this virus and the tough times. To all I wish a very happy Easter.
HOPE IN GOD, I WILL PRAISE HIM STILL (Psalm 42)
Today the Mass of the blessing of Holy Oils occurs again as a joyful day. It is indeed a day of joy when we priests gather to celebrate our calling and to be reminded of the powerful, sacred means by which God called and empowered us to serve his Church and by which he energizes the sacramental life of his people. These are the Holy Spirit which we have received, the Oil of Catechumens, Oil of the Sick and the oil of Chrism with which we sanctify God’s people in the sacraments and God’s people themselves who are our asset and with whom we are co-responsible for the work of evangelization. On this day as well priests all over the world normally gather around their Bishop and renew their vows of fidelity to Jesus Christ and the authority of the Church invested in the Bishop. With the people of God all around their priests hardly any other Mass exudes such a family feeling during the year as the Mass of Chrism does. Unfortunately, this year such is very different. Nonetheless, to the priests, Religious and people of the diocese of Oyo therefore I say, happy Celebration of the Mass of Chrism,
It is a most unusual atmosphere in this Cathedral at the Chrism Mass this year which we are having to celebrate with a very small representative number of the people of God because of the Corona Virus pandemic. We are compelled to ask God to heal our world, heal our land and heal his people so that we may return to the best of times in worship of him. We pray for the authorities, for Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, Carers, donors priests and all others who are working hard to stop diseases and especially CORONA virus. May God strengthen them and make them successful in their work. Let me say that in some dioceses this Mass has been postponed to a better date to allow the priest to all participate. It is an option we have decided not to take. I feel that this day is like a birthday for priestly brotherhood which we wish to celebrate in defiance of COVID 19 and other diseases and problems which assail us. We prefer to pray for healing for our sick world, country and peoples that God may visit us soon and restore us.
“Come down, Lord the world is ill wracked with disease, the livelong day…” New Catholic Hymn Book no 63.
Lay your hand gently upon us. Let their touch bring us your peace. Let them bring your forgiveness and healing, Lay your hands gently lay your hands….
It is no secret to anyone that so many things in our life have had to change in the last few weeks. The Church has complied with all restrictions from the experts and civil authorities not out of cowardice but because COVID 19 threatens human life which is a gift from God and is sacred. The Church is unapologetically pro-life and would do anything to preserve and protect life. This is because of her founder who said “I have come to give them life, life to the full (Jn. 10:10)
My brother priests, as we celebrate and renew our vows today on behalf of our other brothers, we joyfully recall the spirit of God by whom we have been called and anointed. We are called through an eternal covenant and to service just like the first reading states (Is.61, Lk 4:). To qualify to be called servants of God, we must serve in the mould of the one who came “to serve not to be served and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). While it is true that by grace, we are already doing this, we must allow ourselves to be drawn even closer to Jesus in the difficult events of daily life in our age and time. Perhaps a fitting hymn for this period might be: “Take me deeper in love with you Jesus … Let us not be afraid for he said to us: “My yoke is easy and my burden light” (Mt 11;30). Indeed, my brothers we have little to fear for Emmanuel God is with us. What with the arsenal of resources we are celebrating today. God is faithful. His word is yes and Amen and great things happen when God mixes with man.
In other words, my brothers, we are called to a life of holiness in action. Pope Francis words when he recently addressed a conference sponsored by the Congregation for the Clergy on the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II decrees Presbyterorum ordinis [Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests] and Optatam Totius [Decree on Priestly Training] capture it all. He said:
“We are not priests for our own sake, and our sanctification is closely linked to that of our people, our anointing to their anointing”. He said, added that priests should be “authoritative, not authoritarian; firm, but not hard; joyful, but not superficial…in short, shepherds, not functionaries.”
Pope Francis said priests must remain with their people, and not treat the priesthood “like a job one does, and afterwards live a life apart.”
“The good that priests can do comes primarily from their proximity to - and a tender love for - their people,” he said. “They are not philanthropists or functionaries, but fathers and brothers.”
Let us be encouraged! Yes there will be problems but there are great testimonies to celebrate too. O March 15 Fr. Giuseppe Berardelli, 72 died at a hospital in Lovere, Italy because he refused the ventilator bought by his parishioners so that a younger patient could use it. Without any conclave being called he is already popularly being celebrated as a saint. This very day the news as filtered out of the acquittal by Australia’s highest court of Cardinal George Pell, who had been wrongly jailed over accusations of child abuse. He spent over a year in jail. Cardinal Pell on his release said he did not want to increase the injury nd damage already done by his incarceration and let go any remorse against his accusers.
We therefore by our gesture today, wish to encourage the people of God our brothers and sisters. In the face of all adversary, refuse to be denied the opportunity to give thanks to God. It is our duty to do so in and out of season. By celebrating Chrism Mass in this manner today, and as we pray in Psalm 42, with sickness and death all around us, we declare: “I shall say to God, my rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go around in mourning, harassed by the enemy?’ With death in my bones, my enemies taunt me, all day long they ask me, ‘Where is your God?’ Why so downcast, why all these sighs? Hope in God! I will praise him still, my Saviour, my God”. So, refusing to bow our heads to the trials and tribulations of the moment, we praise God still today for his gifts to the Church and celebrate our priesthood.
We also encourage our people to unite all their deprivations, restrictions and pain with that of Jesus Christ as we go through this Holy Week. Recall the traditional morning prayer where we unite all suffering with Christ’s! How so very near to us Good Friday seems now! Few things appear normal all around and we feel with Jesus Christ the pains of his people, especially through our brother priests who have had to stay with their people in the parishes and communities to help them in some way with prayers and actions to alleviate their suffering. We are wounded healers in the mode of Jesus of Nazareth who has died for us. Presbyterorum ordinis, states that priests are “taken from among men,” “ordained for men,” and “live in the midst of other men.”
Did Pope Francis not ask us as good shepherds to smell the smell of our sheep? My brothers this in itself is a visible example of who we really are priests taken from among the people to offer sacrifice for them. As other Christs we are proud to represent the good shepherd who never abandons his sheep. We do not do business as usual because the times are not normal.
To the faithful who are not privileged to attend this Mass let us priests represented by their Deans from the 5 deaneries of the Diocese rededicate ourselves to service, saying with Jesus “Father, if this chalice cannot pass over me unless I drink it, your will be done (Matt. 26:39).
As we bless the Holy Oils today, let us recommit ourselves to doing so prayerfully, dutifully and joyfully. Pope Francis also said that priests cannot afford to be sad or nervous and must create serenity. So, at this time we say to our faithful, Religious, the Men, women youth and children:. “Do not be afraid”. With them we administer to our present condition what the President of the International Catholic journalists association Signis has called the most potent antivirus. Faith and hope. St. Paul told us through the Romans: “Let us exult, too, in our hardships, understanding that hardship develops perseverance, and perseverance develops a tested character, something that gives us hope” (Rom 5:5). May our faith and hope see us through these rough times to come back to a holier, stronger and a happier community of God’s people ready to meet our savior and Lord, Jesus Christ announced to us today in the book of Revelations. When he comes, may he judge us all with mercy. Amen. May God bless and heal us all.
CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF OYO: CHRISM MASS FOR 2020: HOMILY BY
BISHOP EMMANUEL ADETOYESE BADEJO. BISHOP OF OYO DIOCESE APRIL 7, 2020
Bishop Badejo blesses new Tabernacle and Marian Grotto in Saki
It was a very bright day which rose with an early morning sun shining brightly on the entire community of Shaki town the headquarters of Shaki West Local Government area in Oyo State. The beautiful presence of the Lord was felt in a very special way in this community as on the 15 day of March, 2020, the entire members of St. Lawrence’s Catholic Parish gathered with other Catholics in the town to celebrate the blessing of the new tabernacle and the new Marian grotto at the parish.
The Holy Mass began at 8.30am with the Catholic bishop of Oyo diocese as the chief celebrant and assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Michael Onyeneke Eke, the parish priest of St. Lawrence.
In his homily Bishop Emmanuel Badejo stressed that the presence of the Lord is the soul of every Christian community. Hence every community which has the opportunity to have a tabernacle installed and blessed for the repose of the body of Christ must remain eucharistic in every aspect. According to the prelate, St. Lawrence Parish in Shaki is lucky to have a focused parish priest, Parish Council, and various committees, especially the building committee who have worked tirelessly to see such growth and development in the community in recent times. He exhorted all the members to keep being generous with their time, energy and treasure, so as to make sure that the parish will continue to growth spiritually and physically. The evidence of God’s kindness which is made manifest in the work of the Priests in the parish with the cooperation of all the parishioners must not be taken for granted. He made it clear that it is not a coincidence that the tabernacle of the church and the Marian grotto are being blessed and commissioned on the same day. This affirms the fact that the mother and her son are inseparable, and indeed, the mother leads us to her son. He charged everyone especially the youth to create time to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and his mother at the grotto.
With the blessing of the new tabernacle done during the Mass and the blessing with the commissioning of the Marian grotto done immediately after the Mass, the joy in the hearts of the parishioners was visible on their faces as they sang sonorously and danced joyfully. Speaking at the celebration, the Parish Priest Very Rev Fr. Michael Eke thanked the Bishop for making out time to come and bless the tabernacle and the grotto. He appreciated the efforts and cooperation of his assistant, Rev. Fr. Anthony Anyawike and all the parishioners especially the building committee members. He did not fail to mention that the grotto was donated by one person who has never even visited Shaki, yet believes that kindness to the Church, the body of Christ must be taken seriously. Also present at the celebration was Rev. Fr. Martin Badejo, the parish priest of St. Mary Magdalene, Tede and Rev. Fr. Augustine Olayiwola, the Parish Priest of Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Shaki.
POPE FRANCIS APPOINTS FR. JOSEPH OGUNDIPE CONSULTOR FOR DIALOGUE
The Holy Father, Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Fr. Joseph Olawale Ogundipe, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria among six new consultors to the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCDI). Rev. Fr. Ogundipe, until his appointment was the Director of the Interreligious Dialogue Commission (IRDC) of Oyo diocese. The news of the appointment was received on March 9, 2020.
The appointment letter which was joyfully delivered by Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Bishop of Oyo Diocese reads in part: “I have the honour and pleasure to send you here enclosed, the document by which you are informed that the Holy Father has appointed you, for a period of five years, as Consultor to the Commission for Relations with Muslims”.
“As you know, the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia (1988) makes provision for this Commission within the ambit of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, under the guidance of the President of that Council. The Commission normally meets once a year and the agenda provides for communications from individual Consultors on the situation of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in their respective countries. The principal purpose of the Commission is to provide time for reflection on the Church’s relations with Muslims”.
After delivering the letter of appointment to Fr. Ogundipe, Bishop Badejo congratulated him for the commitment and initiative with which he has so far served in Oyo diocese especially in the field of interreligious relations. He then urged him to do more to justify the confidence with which the Pope Francis has appointed him to the exalted position. Many priests of Oyo Diocese who were present at the joyous moment rejoiced with and prayed for Fr. Ogundipe that he may be granted wisdom and humility to give a good account of himself in the new position.
Born on August 19, 1976, Rev Fr. Ogundipe attended Baptist Primary School, Koso-Iseyin and St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Isalu-Iseyin, both in Oyo State, Nigeria. For his Secondary Education, he attended St. John’s Grammar School, Isalu-Iseyin and St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary, Oke-Are, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. He had his Priestly formation at St. Peter’s Spiritual year Seminary, Eruku, Kwara State and the Seminary of All Saints, Ekpoma, Edo State. He was ordained on 11/ 08/2007 by Most Rev. Julius Babatunde Adelakun (Emeritus Bishop of Oyo Diocese) and has worked in a number of parishes in Oyo Diocese, especially at St Theresa Parish Ijio where he earned a community award for his effort in interreligious harmony and conflict resolution. He holds a B.A in Philosophy from the University of Benin, Edo State, B.Th. from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome: Diploma in Arabic Studies from Dar Comboni, Cairo, Egypt; and a Licentiate in Arabic and Islamic Studies from PISAI, Rome. He is currently the Chaplain of St. Thomas Moore Catholic Chaplaincy, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria and will continue his assignment as Director of the Ecumenical and Intereligious Dialogue Commission for the Diocese of Oyo.
IRDC was revived by Bishop Emmanuel Badejo in 2008, as one of the organs of evangelization in Oyo Diocese owing to the fact that the diocese sits in the midst of a majority Muslim population, Christians of other denominations and adherents of ATR. Fr Joseph Ogundipe was appointed director in 2008 by the Bishop and he has been working under the guidance of the Bishop and with diocesan priests, Religious and lay members of the IRDC as committee members. He was given a title, Okanlomo Agbesinga of Ijio in the year 2012 as a sign of appreciation of his work in St Teresa Parish, Ijio. He has organized several local and international conferences on dialogue with the support of the Bishop. He likes meeting people and reading, and has authored many books on religious freedom and harmony like Religious Freedom: the Challenges of our time and Searching in the Shadow.
Sr Eunice Olusola Ikufisile OSF
Director of Social Communications
Catholic Diocese of Oyo
The Religious are the engine of the church Says Bishop Badejo
"Many people have the misconception about the apostolate of of the religious, 'they do nothing' - some would say, being ignorant that they are the engine of the church... " those were some of the words of the Local Ordinary of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo - Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo in his homily at the celebration of the World day of Consecrated Life which was also the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ at St. John the Baptist, Isalu, Iseyin on Sunday 2nd February, 2020.
The mass was celebrated by His Lordship, Most Rev Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo and con-celebrated by the Vicar of the Religious in the Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Eke CMF, the Parish Priest of St John the Baptist, Iseyin, Rev. Fr. Joseph Adejumo and that of St Georges Barracks, Iseyin, Rev. Fr. Benedict Joshua started at 10am.
Further in his homily, Bishop Badejo said, "February is recognized world wide as the month of love but now, it has been further recognized as the month of the supreme sacrificial love with the dedication of its 2nd day for the celebration of consecrated lives by Pope John Paul II in the year 1987, portraying the fact that the Religious have to live a life of total sacrifice and a life of glory " with this, he tremendously commended the efforts of the consecrated lives in the history of the church, "their work cannot be overlooked even though many tend to be ignorant of their significance in the church and in the society at large" - he said.
"You are called to be the light in the world's darkness through your services, relentless prayers and tolerance for all because it is not possible to serve God without losing something. You must be ready to serve Him with all its implications", he continued. He told the religious that there is more to the call to their vocation other than teaching in schools, health care or community service but to device a means of being the light in the world most importantly the darkness in the heart of mankind being obvious that the darkness in the world has escaped into the heart of men with the present situation of our country and the world at large. Therefore, the light must be lit where it is needed though the human temptation might compel them to act according to their comfortability because they are not a picture but the icon of the church. Thus, an icon speaks to the people more than a picture does and tells more about what it represents.
To the congregation he said "we are all represented at the presentation of our lord Jesus Christ and by the virtue of our baptism, we have all been consecrated for God's work, parents should try more in bringing their children closely to God for them to see and be drawn to the work of God. Charity begins from home, children should be brought up and guided in the way of the Lord while choosing their profession. Although there are many professions in life, but to have the deeper sense of God, we should be willing to sacrifice our lives and to do so, parental input is very essential. Prayer to St. Theresa of the child Jesus could be of help in drawing the hearts of young ones to the work of God", he admonished.
Shortly after the homily, all the religious led by the Vicar for Religious proceeded to the altar where they made the renewal of consecration vows and after their thanksgiving, each congregation of the religious in the diocese -The Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception (OSF), Sisters of Saints Michael the Archangel (SSMA), University Sisters of the Assumption (USOA), Sisters of St. Louis (SSL), The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), The Passionist Sisters of St. Paul of the cross, The Daughters of the Holy Spirit (DHS) and the Claretian Missionaries (CMF) spoke to the hearing of the congregation, their history, apostolate, their symbols of identification and requirements for joining in order to help any of the intending young ones in making their choices.
As part of the appreciation of the presence and the works of the religious in the diocese, the religious were received after the Holy Mass by the host parish in a love feast where they exchanged gifts among themselves and were entertained by the Ajobata Jesu cultural troupe of the parish, fishermen dance by the pupils of St Joseph School, Iseyin, Calabar dance by the members of the National Association of Catholic Corp Members (NACC), Ewi presentation by one of the Sisters of St Michael the Archangel (SSMA) and a cross congregational dance by some of the religious. The celebration was also graced by the Diocesan CWO President - Mrs Juliana Alade and some of the Diocesan CWO executives.
After the cutting of the cake with the Bishop, CWO, CMO, Youth, Children of Mary and Joseph and others, the Bishop again addressed the gathering and led the live band in the singing of melodius music that the religious, priests and all others danced to.
CWO OYO DIOCESE PAYS CHRISTMAS COURTESY VISIT TO BISHOP BADEJO
The Catholic Woman Organization (CWO) of Oyo Diocese paid a Christmas Courtesy Visit to the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Rev Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo in his Office on Tuesday 10th of December, 2019.
They entourage that consisted of organization members from all the Deaneries of the Diocese sang special Christmas songs, thanked him for his assistance and support so far, told him about some of their future plans and prayed for the Bishop and the continued growth of the Diocese. The Diocesan CWO President, Mrs Juliana Alade appreciated the untiring efforts and support of the Bishop for them and the Diocese which has made them successful in all their endeavours. She thanked him for the Chaplain and Sister Coordinator that has been guiding the body and for making some of their plans like the purchase of a bus possible and how that has made them a pace setter in the province as it was after they got theirs that others started getting too. She also made mention of the fact that the tenure of the present executives will end the coming year.
The Diocesan CWO Chaplain, Fr Joseph Adejumo who accompanied them on the visit also thanked the Bishop for his fatherly love, advice and benevolence. He made mention of some of their plans to start work on the building that was given to the Organization and also applauded the sacrifice, dedicatedness and commitedness of the women.
The Bishop in response thanked the women for having an exemplary and formidable organization that serves as example to others and for their countless efforts towards the growth of their organization and the Diocese as a whole which was possible because of their love and togetherness. He lauded them specially for taking charge of engagement programs instead of contracting it out to people who manipulate and do all sorts of things in order to make more money. He also made known his gladness at the number of marriages that amounted to more than 15 just between November and December, according to him - "this might not have been possible if you women fail to play your part on your children" as their impact is noticed through the well grooming of their children.
"We believe in your untiring efforts. Care of the children, youths, fathers, the Church, etc. Therefore greet and say kudos to all your members for the great work you've been doing that has been fostering development. We have good priests and religious too because they come from good homes and you are the ones in charge of the house" - he concluded after which he prayed for them as they continued their scheduled visit to the Bishop Emeritus.
- Festus Oyelakin
OYO DIOCESE CELEBRATES 2019 OKE MARIA PILGRIMAGE
The Oke Maria Pilgrimage and Retreat Center, Tede again received pilgrims – Catholics and Non-Catholics alike in their thousands on Friday 6th and Saturday 8th December, 2019 as the Catholic Diocese of Oyo celebrated the 21st Oke Maria Pilgrimage with the theme “We Fly To Your Protection”.
In the Bible Service which began the program on Friday 6th at St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, Tede, the preacher - Rev Fr Samson Ojo made known the importance of flying to the protection of Mary to intercede for us and offer our prayers to her son. The King of Tede, Oba Abdulrauf Adebimpe accompanied by his chiefswelcomed all andthankedthe Bishop, Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo and the Catholic Diocese of Oyo as he wished them a successful pilgrimage. The Bishop also welcomed all the pilgrims and urged them to take every opportunity to participate actively in the pilgrimage and fly to the protection of our mother Mary. He also thanked the King for his support and kindness to the Church and presented him the gift of the Catholic Daily Prayer Book.
With candles lighted to signify themselves as lights of the world, the pilgrims in their number had a procession dancing with joy and happiness from the Church through the town to the Marian Hill with a stopover to pray for the Town and its inhabitants. On arrival at the Pilgrimage Center, prayers were said at the Marian Grotto and the Children of the Holy Childhood crowned and beautified the Marian Statue with garlands and flowers.
The Pastoral Plan for the Diocese for the next 10 years was publicly presented and announced before the program continued with Doctrinal Teachings on some of the commandments, Praise and Worship Sessions, Praying of the Rosary, Reconciliation and Healing Services, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, Testimony Time and many others before finally ending with the Holy Mass.
The Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo in his homily stressed how important it is for us to fly to the protection of Mary “because she was conceived without original sin, she is well above any other woman. She should be and that’s what the angel and Elizabeth confirmed ‘blessed are you among women’. Mary herself confirmed it ‘from henceforth, all ages shall call me blessed’. These are things that we have memorized and we should make strength out of in case we have criticism. Anybody who can bear the Son of God without any sin has enough power to protect us. And secondly, she is the only one in the Bible that we hear the angel from heaven say, ‘the Holy Spirit shall overshadow you’ nobody else has that possibility, not St Paul, not any other apostle. That the holy spirit will completely overshadow you, that is immense power”. He continued that with the problems battling us in Nigeria today we ought to fly to Mary who is mighty to deliver through the grace given to her by God who choose her to be a fitting protective home for His child.
He said ”She qualified to look after the son of God so she is well qualified to look after any one of us. And the story is long – how about when Herod was seeking to kill the Child, she protected him. How about when the World said Jesus was mad because of His activities, Mary was there and then of course at the foot of the cross when all the disciples had fled. Even the tradition of the Church tells us that he was put into her arms even after he died. All the sorrows and trials of this World did not make her shake. That is a big example for us too. When your sorrows and trials come, you have Mary as your example. That is a big reason why we fly to her patronage”. He urged all not to only fly to Mary’s protection in order to have a better job, good husband, more money, deliverance from a disease but that they should also fly to her in order to be save from addictions to alcohol, disobedience, sex, stubbornness as she who is overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit can help them because she helped the son of God as even after his death, she did not abandon the Church he left behind of which we are a part thereby qualifying us to be able to fly to her protection.
He concluded that since Mary is now so honored and strengthened because of Jesus and we all know the importance of the bonds between a Mother and her Child and as this was possible because Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit that gave immense powers, he urged them to pray for the holy spirit and for the gift and grace of holiness as we are all called to be as holy as our heavenly father because it was Mary’s holiness that made God pick her to give birth to his son. He implored them to pray for leaders, teachers, government workers, business men, hand workers that they may be filled with holiness as that would make our country better as all evil deeds will be reduced and to continue to pray for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Festus Oyelakin
Our Lady’s Hospital Iseyin celebrates two Special Icons
The product of years of service of some persons coupled with their dedication and commitment at work cannot be waived but evergreen. It is the reason why the Catholic family of Iseyin and the entire Oyo Diocese deemed it fit to show their heartfelt gratitude to two of their workers, Rev. Sr. Lucia Akinnusoye and Mr. David Olusoji who selflessly served the church for 16 and 40 years respectively in one of her institutes, Our Lady’s Catholic hospital that bears Atupa eye clinic centre as a subordinate (the centre where Rev. Sr. Lucia Akinnusoye worked before her transfer). The whole ceremony took a grand style with the celebration of the Holy Mass, having His Lordship, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo as the Chief Celebrant with some Priests. Among the priests in attendance was Rev. Fr. Joseph Adejumo who functioned as the homilist; In his sermon, he commended exceptionally, the two reputable icons for whose purpose a throng of crowd gathered. He marveled at their commitment and selflessness in the course of the period of service. He makes it clear that true love and sacrifice is the key to any success and this is made evident in the life of the two icons who were being celebrated, Baba David Olusoji, a one-time lab technician who served the institution for a period of 40 years as well as Rev. Sr. Lucia Akinnusoye of Atupa Eye clinic who has been in the diocese for good 16 years. He concluded by stressing that it is best not to take consolation in the salary received as it might end up measuring the degree of one’s dedication and commitment to one’s function.
The second part of the event opened with the CWO presentation, the “Ajobata Jesu” troupe among others who really made the day colourful. Bishop in his closing remarks, thanked the two icons for the notable work they have done as he encourage them to see all the encomium showered as a way of motivating them to do more. He therefore advised everyone to engage in spreading good news and not fake news about the church and others.
BY OGUNTOYE REGINA
Double celebrations at John the Baptist Parish, Iseyin
The 14th of December, 2019 was quite remarkable for the Catholic Community of St. John the Baptist, Iseyin with the achievement added to the record of progress made in the aspect of evangelization in the community as over a hundred of lay-faithful in their white attire, were graced with the sacrament of Confirmation (a sacrament that calls to witnessing to Christ with no atom of fear) by His Lordship himself, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, the chief celebrant at the Mass who also doubles as the homilist. In his sermon, he congratulated the confirmands (comprising of both young and old) stating the obvious challenges they might have encountered in the course of their preparation which of course, according to him should serve as a driving force to living out the demands of the sacrament. He encouraged them to be steadfast in prayer being the armour of Christian and to make the word of God their companion. Meanwhile, using these favoured candidates as a point of contact, he went on to admonish the whole congregation who had received the sacrament in the past but already found dead in them, to pray that God revives it. In a bid to make this blessed day worth remembering for the confirmands for the good it obviously stands for, they were each gifted a sacramental which was duly blessed. As if that was not even enough, the ceremony doubles with the foundation laying of the prospective mission house immediately after the Holy Mass on the same day. It was indeed a day that would linger for long in the hearts of the lay-faithful. The voice of appreciation was heard from the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Joseph Adejumo whose joy knew no bounds having all of these notable events happening in his era.
Without mincing words, the community of God in conjunction with their Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Joseph Adejumo in one accord could not have wished for more, most especially for the number of Christian soldiers that were made and as such, they express their profound gratitude to God and remain indebted to him infinitely for the favours received.
BY REGINA OGUNTOYE
ABORTION: YOUR PERSONAL BELIEF OR THE SANCTITY OF LIFE
THEME:LIFE IN THE WOMB:
It is a great pleasure for me to speak at this gathering which focuses attention on life, the greatest gift of all God’s creation. I take this effort as another strategy of New Evangelization which the Church has commissioned in the last decade. Anyone might ask what is the concern of a Catholic Bishop with abortion issues. I would have a simple answer. The issue concerns the baby in the womb. I was once right there and so were you and you and all of us. In solidarity abortion is a concern for all living human beings because we are all involved Obviously we enjoyed a safe trip. Should it not be our concern that others do too? I am thankful that my mom did not think of abortion when I was conceived. You should be as well for it is good to be alive. The second simple reason is that I believe in God and I believe he created all things. He is the author of life. So, if there is anything I can contribute to a greater appreciation of and security for human life I hasten to do it. More importantly as a Catholic Priest, I cannot but be on the side of life because the priesthood is a life-giving vocation. So indeed should all of us here be for the same reason. I am also glad and proud that Obianuju Ekeocha, one of the most passionate pro-life advocates. I have ever met, is speaking at this event. The physician has come to “heal” her own people. The presence of His Grace, Most Reverend Adewale Martins is good for my CV too. Your Grace, it is good to have you here.
I first wondered why this topic was given to me, abortion being an issue of high scientific, medical, and even political resonance. If the organizers here would have wanted an expert medical or scientific presentation, they would not have invited a Catholic Bishop for it. I am sure that it is the religious, pastoral dimension that I am called here to expose.
First and foremost, I would like to express my belief that my topic was chosen by the organizers not to oppose, degrade or condemn women, not even those who have had an abortion, but to educate and empower them. Too often, wherever a discussion on abortion comes up it is construed as a woman-bashing session, another activity aimed at denying women their so-called “right to choose”. I am sure that we shall find out during this session that nothing is farther from the truth. Fr. Frank Pavone, President of the National Pro-life Religious Council and national director of Priests for Life, the largest Catholic pro-life organization in the world, in his book “Abolishing abortion” has argued that genuine pro-life gatherings as this are meant to make people realise that the Church is on their side and that all of us feel the pain of abortion, definitely a little less than the life involved and need to help each other out of it. Hear him “We need to convince the unconvinced that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman. The difference between ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ is not that pro-lifers love the baby and pro-choicers love the woman. The difference is that the pro-choice message says you can separate the two, and the pro-life message says you cannot.” (p 183.) Therefore, deriving from this I should say that in addressing the issue of abortion today we do so in the interest of the woman, the child, the family involved and the society.
God Before All things
In life I think that there are four key questions which we must always ask ourselves when confronted with issues of topical weight . They are: “ Who am I? Where am I from?”, “What am I here for?”, and “Where am I going?”. The compass which these questions provide will always help to find the right direction for our thoughts and actions. Without such self-examination, we are like the character who meets a monk at a three-way junction and asks: “Sir, would you kindly show me the way?” The monk asks him “Where are you going”? He curiously answers: “I don’t really know”. The monk retorts: “Well, if you do not know where you are going, then any road is good enough for you”. So unless we know who we are and where we are bound all kinds of opinions and perspectives can be good enough for our adoption. I assume however that we all here share the belief that God exists and that he has created everything. We also believe that he is the Supreme Being who has a say in the way that our lives must be lived. Hopefully, as Christians we know that we are from God, that He sent his son to die so that we may live, that we are here to live that life to the full (Jn. 10) and that at the end of our lives we will return to see God.
We cannot be true Christians if we do not agree that we DO NOT dictate everything about our life and that we are NOT the measure of all things. The Natural Law, the light of God’s guidance infused in the human conscience about what is wrong or right is given to man at creation. It dictates to us laws that not even the Pope can change. According to Romans 2:12-16 and Jeremiah 31:33, God imprints the natural law on the heart and soul of man, and this leads him to know whether or not an act is moral or evil. The natural law is then buoyed by the Church’s doctrine. We share some doctrines of faith that ought to be common to all Christians. These include belief that God has given some commandments for us to follow especially through his revealed word, the Bible. For Catholics we even go further to believe in the holy Catholic and apostolic Church and her doctrine that is so concisely expressed in the creed which we pray every Sunday and more elaborately exposed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). Then, of course, there is the authority of the Holy Father, the Pope and the magisterium of the Church.
WHY ARE WE EVEN HERE DISCUSSING ABORTION?
The equivocal environment in which we find ourselves, is responsible for our plight today. A lot of people have been led to believe that they can have an opinion on everything because of modern overemphasis on freedom of opinion and expression. It grew out of the permissive age of the ‘60s and ‘70s. That age disseminated the libertarian mentality about human sexuality, that of “ If you can’t be with the one you love, you love the one you are with. It was the period when love was separated from the marital act and became an act of recreation. It gave birth to an unprecedented (im)morality license. (Janet Morana)
Secondly we Africans have stopped taking our culture seriously. We need a cultural reawakening to refocus us on the values we ought to cherish, especially the respect for life, new human life. Uju Ekeocha here in her recent book “Target Africa” on ideological neo-colonialism in the twenty first century, has a well-researched chapter on the legalization of abortion as it is being powerfully pushed by international interests and institutions. In protest, she rightly argued: “At the core of my people’s value system is the profound recognition that human life is precious, paramount and supreme. For us abortion, which is the deliberate killing of little ones in the womb, is a direct attack on innocent human life. It is a serious injustice, which no one should have a right to commit”.(p. 98). I totally agree with her and her book is well worth reading.
John Vennari, in a presentation made in Rome in 2011, entitled: “The New Paganism and The War Against Life”. blamed it on the spread of neo paganism:
“Neo paganism has many weapons and one of them is to portray evil as good or at least make it seem neutral, Generally, when it comes to obeying what is considered God’s commandments most people in the world are hard of hearing and slow in compliance”. He describes The New paganism as the forces of Organized naturalism which “are constantly working to degrade human life, and to destroy human life, in the name of social engineering and population control. This anti life program holds that human value does not have value in itself, but only a contingent value based in its Quality of Life (in the case of the sick and the elderly) or based on whether that human life is wanted (as in the case of mothers aborting their babies). If a human life is deemed “not worth living”, it can be destroyed” (p5)
Janet Morana is the Executive Director of Priests for Life and Co-Founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, the world’s largest mobilization of women who have had abortions. She is the author of “Recall Abortion”, a book aimed at ending the abortion industry’s exploitation of women. She provides a reason in that book:
“Commitment and family are no longer paramount. It’s all about ‘me.’ If an individual is unhappy, unfulfilled, or bored, there is no societal pressure to try to work things out for the good of the family. Our sense of entitlement has grown so strong that anything that gets in the way of the plans we’ve engineered has to go. That sense of entitlement goes hand-in-hand with the widespread use of contraception and abortion. A child would be too difficult or would interfere with our plans? Easy, just ‘take care of it.’ A woman is made-literally- to be a mother. That doesn’t mean women can’t work or have careers, but contraception and abortion, far from empowering women, actually serve to snatch away from women the very thing makes them unique and powerful” (p. 82).
I personally believe that considering abortion a matter of personal belief or objectively as an issue of the sanctity of human life depends on how we see the being that a woman ejects from her womb, as human or non-human, person or non person. It seems only logical to assume that whatever can become human already possesses the vital human element within it like a fruit to a tree, an egg to a chicken. Some people however believe that there is a stage at which removing the foetus is not killing a human being, claiming that humanity comes into the foetus at a later stage than the point of conception. This sums up as a clear attempt to deny the fundamental human right to life to the fertilized egg until a later stage in order to justify its removal, making it dependent on the opinion of other people. I agree with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse Ph.D., President of the Ruth Institute, in the US who recently said: “The best response to fuzzy thinking is clear, unambiguous positive thinking, especially on the Catholic doctrine on sexuality.” The question is “Why do people not seek out such authentic teaching when it comes to religious and moral matters?” They would do that about financial nutritional, health, cosmetic and other needs and counsel but hardly for religious, moral ones.Why do people not just stick with personal opinion on such needs then?
In 2007, already 12 years ago, Fr Dr. Paschal Nwazaepu, the parish priest of this parish, well -read in bioethics gave me his well-researched book entitled “When Does a Human Person Begin? On the moral status of the embryo and technology. He dedicated the book to Pope saint John Paul II and all those who defend and promote the sacredness and dignity of human life. It should be a vade mecum for all pro-life advocates, nay, all Catholics in this convoluted era in our world. In his ample research he confirmed that personhood begins at fertilization. He strongly affirmed that fertilisation is the only substantial and qualitative change that occurs in the process of human generation. All other changes at different stages of embryonic development are merely quantitative (p.26-27). So there we have it, all equivocal nuances lifted.
According to the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in its Declaration on Procured Abortion:
“Right from fertilization is begun the adventure of a human life, and each of its capacities requires time- a rather lengthy time- to find its place and to be in a position to act. The least that can be said is that present science, in its most evolved state, does not give any substantial support to those who defend abortion. Moreover, it is not up to biological sciences to make a definitive judgment on questions which are properly philosophical and moral such as the moment when a human person is constituted or the legitimacy of abortion. From a moral point of view this is certain: even if a doubt existed concerning whether the fruit of conception is already a human person, it is objectively a grave sin to dare to risk murder. "The one who will be a man is already one." (no 13)
The following quotes, sourced from Human Life International, HLI, show how many pro-life and even pro-choice scientific experts agree and have found the assertion on life at conception undeniable:
"After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion...it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception."
― Jerome LeJeune, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes.
In 1981, a United States Senate judiciary subcommittee studying the status of human life received the following testimony from a collection of medical experts (Subcommittee on Separation of Powers to the Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, Report, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981). The official Senate report reached this conclusion: “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being ― a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”
"It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive ... It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception."
― Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School.
"I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception."
― Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni, Professor of Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania.
"The beginning of a single human life is from a biological point of view a simple and straightforward matter ― the beginning is conception."
― Dr. Watson A. Bowes, University of Colorado Medical School.
“I think we have deluded ourselves into believing that people don't know that abortion is killing. So any pretense that abortion is not killing is a signal of our ambivalence, a signal that we cannot say yes, it kills a fetus.”
― Fate Wattleton, President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1978 to 1992. “Speaking Frankly.” Ms. Magazine, May/June 1997 [Volume VII, Number 6], page 67.
“It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens.’ Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.”
― Pro-abortionist and infanticide advocate Peter Singer. Practical Ethics [Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press], 2008 (2nd Edition), pages 85 and 86.
“We can accept that the embryo is a living thing in the fact that it has a beating heart, that it has its own genetic system within it. It’s clearly human in the sense that it’s not a gerbil, and we can recognize that it is human life … the point is not when does human life begin, but when does it really begin to matter?”
― Ann Furedi, Chief Executive Officer of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), the largest chain of abortion clinics in the United Kingdom. “Abortion: A Civilised Debate.” Battle of Ideas [London, England], November 1, 2008).
“Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. And we risk becoming precisely what our critics charge us with being: Callous, selfish and casually destructive men and women who share a cheapened view of human life ... we need to contextualize the fight to defend abortion rights within a moral framework that admits that the death of a fetus is a real death.”
― Pro-abortion feminist author Naomi Wolf. “Our Bodies, Our Souls.” The New Republic, October 16, 1995, page 26.
THE GOOD OLD TIME RELIGION
Anyone who believes that God is the author of all creation and the giver of life should also accept that only God has authority to take life. The book of Genesis teaches that God gave man authority to dominate and govern all creation. That power obviously does not include killing other humans at will. In fact, the first occurrence of such an incident between Cane and Abel, two sons of Adam was punished with such gravity by God that Cane cried out for leniency. (Gen 4: 13-15).
Although what we read in the Bible is not a minute to minute account of God’s activities at creation, we all basically believe that God created man and woman and breathed life into them (Gen.2 ). We believe that one of the tenets of the Ten Commandments which God gave to Moses is the fifth commandment: “Thou shall not kill” (Ex20:13). The Ten Commandments remain “Commandments”, not “advise” of God, for true Christians. Anyone hoping for a constitutional review in this matter had better lose hope. The fifth commandment is short and has no explanation. In fact, it does not need any. “Thou shall not kill”. No further comment. All through the Bible, God punished wilful, unjust killing of human beings, especially against the innocent and defenceless. In addition, when Jesus came, he called himself the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6) He even said: “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (Jn 10:10). Obviously, he, the way the truth and the life cannot but be pro-life.
THE CHURCH TEACHES AUTHENTICALLY
Right from the first century the Church has affirmed that procured abortion, either as an end or as a means, is morally evil. From the moment of conception, the Church teaches that a human being is created in the image and likeness of Almighty God and must enjoy all privileges deriving therefrom. At every period however, heretics, dissidents and adventurous theologians have sought to modify, mutilate or attenuate this teaching. The Church on the other hand has always protected the sanctity of human life from situational ethics and subjective applications The Catechism teaches:
“Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognised as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent life”. The Church’s position is of course firmly biblical: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. (Jer. 1:5) My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth (Ps 139:15)
The second Vatican Council affirmed this unchangeable teaching: “God the Lord of life , has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes…. Let all be convinced that human life and its transmission are realities whose meaning is not limited by the horizons of this life only: their true evaluation and full meaning can only be understood in reference to man's eternal destiny”. (Gaudium et Spes, 51:3, 4) In spite of unbelievable pressure from powerful governments, institutions and movements, the Popes down the years, as pastors of the Catholic Church, have confirmed this unchangeable teaching.
Saint Pope John Paul the Great is probably the model teacher among the Popes in this subject. His powerful encyclical “Evangelium Vitae, the Gospel of Life relaunched and reinvigorated the pro-life mission of the Church and the pro-life movement. The Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, in its Declaration on Procured abortion of 1974 wrote: “one can never claim freedom of opinion as a pretext for attacking the rights of others, most especially the right to life.” (No 2) That declaration was ratified for promulgation by Saint Pope John Paul II
Pope Francis too continues to reiterate the truth about the inviolable sanctity of life in his teachings. In his general audience on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 he said that abortion “suppresses innocent and helpless life in its blossoming.” He said that taking a human life to solve a problem, any problem is like hiring a hitman. “Violence and the rejection of life are born from fear,” The pope added that it is contradictory to suppress “human life in the womb in the name of safeguarding other rights,” the pope insisted. He said: “How can an act that suppresses innocent and helpless life in its blossoming be therapeutic, civil, or simply human?”
The pope was speaking on abortion during a reflection on the fifth commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” He dug deeper on the subject saying: “One could say that all the evil done in the world is summarized in this: contempt for life….What leads man to reject life? They are the idols of this world: money, power, success. These are incorrect parameters to evaluate life. The only authentic measure of life is love, the love with which God loves it…. The positive meaning of the fifth commandment is that “God is a lover of life”.
THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF NIGERIA ON LIFE
The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria is decidedly pro-life and that means it believes in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. The Conference has twice organized national conferences and rallies in support of the sanctity of life with international participation and some of its Ecclesiastical Provinces, archdioceses and dioceses have done the same. Thankfully, such resolve to defend life marriage and family is emerging at different levels of the Church’s life even at church society and individual levels. The Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, after its own very successful pro-life/Mariage and Family Conference in 2016, has produced two sizeable catechisms to help the faithful and others to understand better the issues concerning the sanctity and dignity of human life and family. Lagos Ecclesiastical Province has played its part in organizing similar enlightenment conferences and programs in support of life, marriage and the family too. The “Ibadan catechism”, declares that the Gospel of Life:
“…involves making clear all the consequences of this Gospel, summed up as follows: human life, as a gift of God, is sacred and inviolable. Not only must human life not be taken, but it must be protected with loving concern… Thanks to this proclamation and gift, our physical and spiritual life, also in its earthly phase, acquires its full value and meaning, for God’s eternal life is in fact the end to which our living in this world is directed and called. In this way, the Gospel of life includes everything that human experience and reason tell us about the value of human life, accepting it, purifying it, exalting it and bringing it to fulfillment” (Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, A Catechism on Human Life: From Conception to Natural Death, No 60-61)
THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION
Even our beloved and belaboured Nigerian Constitution declares that every person has a right to life and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life….Just as well, for the Catechism declares: “The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation” (CCC 2273).
CHRISTIANS AS AMBASSADORS OF THE TRUTH
Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians calls on all Christians to be faithful stewards: “People must think of us as Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. In such a matter, what is expected of stewards is that each one should be found trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:1-2). For me, this is a passage with a special connotation for the Gospel of Life. Genuine Catholics cannot but succumb to the law of God and the Church. Catholics must be of good, not of convenient conscience and such Catholics obey the voice of God, the Church and the Pope.
Christians especially must be careful not to be caught up in the contemporary epidemic of today’s clichés. When people talk about women’s right to choose, the best, most heart-warming response I recently heard was: “right to choose what”. Right to kill human beings? When people talk of being pro-choice. I say I too am “pro-choice”, i.e. in favour of choosing what is right, choosing good over evil, choosing what complies with God’s will. Shall we then talk of seeking people’s opinion whether what God commands is right? The fact is that too many people ask questions just to find support for choosing what they actually know is evil. I think that the bottom-line question is: “Is it right?”. Is that being in the womb a human being? If yes, then abortion is murder, pure and simple…
Great wisdom can be harvested from that very instructive presentation made at a conference in Rome, Vennari, in his earlier mentioned presentation said:
In it he admits the truth, as many have noted, that we live today in a world where laws are being established based merely on the human will, what we want and what is convenient and whatever is of utilitarian advantage. God and the eternal law or the natural law are easily put in the shade. (Acts 5: 9, Matt6:24, Lk16:13). As one of my good friends put it, in our day everybody can enjoy freedom of speech except of course, Almighty God. In other words, there is a plot to set aside the good old Christian ethic and replace it with a form of opportunistic and situational ethics. Vennari also affirms that this plot to topple the good old Christian Ethic that upheld the sanctity of human life and taught that killing the innocent is always wrong is by no means new. He wrote:
“The famous 1970 California Medicine (an American periodical) article admitted that everyone knows human life begins at conception. The problem, however, is there are too many people who believe in the old Christian ethic that killing the innocent is always wrong. The old ethic is being replaced by the so-called “new ethic” that places a relative value on human life, rather than an absolute value. In other words, a new “ethic” that favors the direct killing of the innocent based on “quality of life”, on whether or not an innocent baby is wanted by the mother”.
THE CHURCH SEEKS ONLY THE GOOD OF WOMEN
With all this coming from pro-life and even pro-choice advocates, from common sense and from the opinion of those who have been involved we must conclude that the numerous exotic terminologies used in our day “reproductive health”, “women sexuality”, “gender empowerment” pro-choice” “safe abortion”, “women choice” in order to justify abortion, are nothing but a shield to claim the right to kill children, human beings. God’s law that we may not kill another is eternally valid. The Church teaches these authentic truths because they are unchangeable and in order to lead people back to God and to salvation.
However, on the same breath the unlimited extent of God’s compassion and forgiveness must be emphasised The mission of healing which is an integral part of the Church’s new evangelization is urgent today. Fr Pavone speaks and I agree, of the necessity of extending the opportunity of healing to all who have had an abortion, to raise awareness of the harm that abortion does to women and encouraging such women to share their experience. This will also serve to help others to understand that abortion does not solve any problem it claims to solve but only creates new ones. “A tidal wave of shared experience is enveloping the globe. Its collective message is that abortion does not spring from freedom of choice but rather from the feeling of being cornered and coerced; that abortion did not help but hurt.” (P. 178)
Pope John Paul the Great’s encyclical Evangelium Vitae delivers a very compassionate message to women who have had an abortion….The concept of a loving, merciful God presented by the Holy Father may be entirely foreign to a woman whose sense of self has been destroyed by abortion, and initially difficult to understand and to believe. Yet, if she encounters the personification of this truly Christian love and esteem in priests, counselors, and fellow Catholic lay persons, this may be the beginning of her healing and a new stage in her development as a person and as a Christian. The Pope wrote:
Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. (EV, 99)
I conclude with these words from a commentary about the foregoing issues: We know what seriousness the problem of birth control can assume for some families and for some countries. That is why the last Council and subsequently the encyclical "Humanae vitae" of July 25, 1968, spoke of "responsible parenthood." What we wish to say again with emphasis, as was pointed out in the conciliar constitution "Gaudium et spes," in the encyclical "Populorum progressio" and in other papal documents, is that never, under any pretext, may abortion be resorted to, either by a family or by the political authority, as a legitimate means of regulating births. The damage to moral values is always a greater evil for the common good than any disadvantage in the economic or demographic order. (Congregation n. 18). The bottom line is this quote from the document of the Congregation: “Life is too fundamental a value to be weighed against even very serious disadvantages” and so abortion cannot be a matter of personal belief but an issue that infringes on the sanctity of human life which begins right at conception.
And what better period can there be than now to emphasise this truth than in advent as we await Christmas and celebrate Jesus whose mother conceived him in great confusion and stress. He could have been aborted for many reasons. We must all thank God and Mary and Joseph that he was not. We entrust our current effort therefore to Mary, the Virgin who is the greatest pro-life advocate of all time that she may work with us.
Most Revd Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria
ORGANISED BY THE CATHOLIC MEN ORGANISATION, LEKKI DEANERY, LAGOS
DEC 1, 2019 FAMILY DAY RENDEZVOUS:
Catechetical Family Quiz 2019.
The Directorate of Religious Education and the Family and Human Life Office of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo celebrated the family week 2019 with the theme : Upholding the dignity of human life from June 17th -23rd. and this was well attended in many Parishes.
For family evangelization purpose, which is meant to gear up the interest of knowing more about the Catholic faith and showcasing it with zeal, there was the Family Quiz Grand finale sponsored by the knights and Ladies of St John international Lagos Grand Commandery. This was a great event with the Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo who witnessed the occasion from the beginning to the end.
The sponsors, The Knights and Ladies of St John international Lagos Grand Commandery were there in great numbers with their Grand Knight, Sir Peter Eluyefa KSJ.
The Diocese started the family quiz on Parish level on February 24th 2019 with 118 registered families and graduated to the Deanery level and the winners from the various Deaneries converged for the Grand finale on Saturday June 22nd at the Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, Oyo. During her welcome address, the Directress of Religious Education for the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Sr. Mary Assumpta Taiwo SSMA made it known that the catechetical quiz is meant to showcase our Catholic faith and to encourage families to be familiar with the Church teachings.
Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo emphasized that families have the responsibility of inculcating true faith in her members. He pointed out the fact that the fear of God is fast becoming a thing of the past and so he called on parents who are the first teachers to instill the fear of God in the human society right from home and be courageous to live out the Christian faith.
The family of Mr and Mrs Paul Usulor from St Peter Catholic Church, Sabo got the 1st position with a gift of a generator while the family of Mr and Mrs Boniface Bilewomo from St Joseph Catholic Church Iseyin got the 2nd position with a gift of a Refrigerator and the family of Mr and Mrs Benjamin Olagbenro from St Joseph Catholic Church Iwere Ile got the 3rd position with a gift of Rechargeable Fan and large rechargeable lamp. The family of Mr and Mrs Patrick Ezewumba from St Lawrence Saki got the 4th position with a consolation prize.
All the contestants rose from parish level to the Grand finale got gift items of Bibles, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Know your faith books, Catechisms on family and human life produced by the Episcopal Conference of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ibadan and other home materials useful for the family courtesy of the Knights and Ladies of St John international Lagos Grand Commandery.
In his speech, the Grand Knight in person of Sir Patrick Eluyefa applauded the big turn out of people for the program. He also applauded the great effort regarding evangelization activities of the Bishop, Priests, Religious and other agents of catechesis in the Catholic Diocese of Oyo despite being a mission area which makes work very challenging many a time. He further encouraged families not to shy away from associating with them as Knights of St John international who are soldiers of Christ.
While appreciate the great support and the large turnout of the Catholic faithful of Oyo, the Director of Religious Education, Sr Assumpta congratulated the Local Ordination of Oyo Diocese, Bishop Badejo for this great achievement. She thanked the Sponsors, Knights &Ladies of St John International for helping the family to know more about their faith and for their financial support. Also, she appreciated the presence of Director of Religious Education of Ibadan Archbishop, Rev. Fr Clement Emerue, the Priests, Religious and the entire families presence.
DRE Office, Oyo Diocese
Homily delivered by Rev. Fr Jerome ‘Tunde Ogunleye
I want to thank the good Lord for making today a reality. It is the day the Lord has made as the words of the Psalmist says “This is the day which Yahweh has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad.” May the memory of this goodness of the Lord last longer in our lives. Amen. I want to rejoice with the Bishop, Most Rev Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, on the ordination of these three Priests added to our Presbyterium: Oju yin a ma ri ire oo, Alafia ni emi ati ara, Eledumare A ma fi jiikin yin. Amin Ase Edumare.
I felicitate with the three families whose sons are to be ordained Priests today: Irekiigbe, Onifade and Oladosu. May you continue to experience the goodness of God in your lives and may the joy of today grant you the graces to love and serve God to the end of your lives. Amen.
To the Ordinands, I pray God who has chosen you, gives you the needed graces to be good Priests to His people and make you instrument of peace and love. Amen. I have been asked to preach at your ordination and I have to admonish you with the followings:
My Priests to be, you are blessed with good families who have formed you and taught you to be decent persons with spiritual values. You are product of faith and spiritual aspirations of generations. All those of your families who lived in the past have been with you and are here now and will be with you in the years ahead. Always be conscious of two communities – the visible and the invisible. Love the families you come from and as you pray for the living, remember the dead and pray for them.
As you are conscious of two communities, be also conscious of two worlds. You live in two worlds – the materials and the spiritual – like never before. Always seek the spiritual things for all that glitters are not gold. Material things are flashy and attractive but ephemeral while spiritual things might be difficult but lasting and soul enriching. Be spiritual, for Christ has this to say to you: “Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these things will be given you as well.” Also, the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has this for you: Build up the Christian communities by your example, living in truth and joy your priestly commitments, celibacy in chastity and detachment from material possessions.
YOU BELONG TO CHRIST
As you will be ordained Priests today, the ideal of your life is not the Priesthood, not a nice parish, nor a latest car. The ideal of your life is God – Priesthood is His gift to you. You do not merit it for it is part of His mystery of love, His plan for you. Your life is not your own, you belong to Christ and His people. Unite yourself with Christ for that intimacy with Him in you is the most wonderful experience. It is powerful and humbling, and suddenly you realise you would not want anything else in life. Hold the miracle of the Eucharist in your hands – the greatest miracle in the universe for the Eucharist unites men and women of different origins, cultures, race, languages and ethnic groups and the most effective means for building a reconciled, just, and peaceful society. You are to celebrate the Eucharist with dignity and beauty, in compliance with the established norms. (Africae Munus, no 152 & 153)
LOVE YOUR PEOPLE
You are ordained and charged with the work of evangelization in proclaiming Christ to the people. Love your people. I want you to know that two things turn people off. If you are a drunk the people will forgive you. If you gamble the collection away the people will forgive you. But if you are unkind, they will never forgive you. The second thing is never be proud – they will laugh at your back.
As you love your people, they will love you. Sometimes they will take you for granted and sometimes you will wish they could love you more. But look at Christ, you Master, and see His life. There will also be some of your people who are lost sheep, who will lie to you, try to cheat you, use you. Remember, they are all your people. Don’t be afraid of them. Love them all. The strayed sheep, the wounded, the fat and the healthy must all be kept in view.
Please bear in mind that people don’t need fancy erudite sermons, or lavish exotic liturgies – those are fine – what the people really want is someone to care for them. They need a Priest who is there at the important moments in their lives. My dear brothers, care for your people. I remember a parishioner – a young woman whose husband died tragically. They have four children. She put her arms round me and sobbed. This is what God has called you to, John, Alex and Matthew. This is how God has access to the suffering of His Children – through the priest. They are reaching out to God when they reach out to you. And God comforts them when you comfort them.
My brothers, you have to learn obedience through the example of Christ that you are called to a life of obedience. You have to trust and submit yourselves to the authority of the bishop. Pope Benedict XVI advises you: “Live obedience to your bishop in simplicity, humility and filial love. Out of respect for the One who has loved us, it is proper that we obey without hypocrisy, for it is not the bishop whom we see that we are deceiving, but the One who is unseen. (Africae Munus no. 110)
NEVER BE AFRAID
There are moments when you will fail. Don’t kill yourselves by taking sniper. If God has put you in a place then He has also given you the grace to be there. Remember that it is in difficult stuff that you will find fulfillment – even in your failures. You must always remember the promise of Christ that you are not alone even in your failure for He says “And look, I am with you always, yes to the end of time.” (Matthew 28: 20.)
FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE
My dearest youths, I want to encourage you with words of Pope Benedict XVI when he addresses you: Dear Young people, enticements of all kinds may tempt you: ideologies, sects, money, drugs, casual sex, violence… Be vigilant: those who propose these things to you want to destroy your future! In spite of difficulties, do not be discouraged and do not give up your ideals, your hard work and your commitment to human, intellectual and spiritual formation! In order to grow in discernment, along with the strength and the freedom needed to resist these pressures, I encourage you to place Jesus Christ at the centre of your lives through prayer, but also through the study of sacred Scripture, frequent recourse to the Sacraments, formation in the Church’s social teaching, and your active and enthusiastic participation in ecclesiastical groups and movements. (Africae Munus no. 63.)
My beloved lay men and women and all people of God, you have been called to life of holiness, a holiness which is to be lived in the world. I beg you to cultivate your interior life and your relationship with God, so that the Holy Spirit may enlighten you in all circumstances. Allow yourselves to be enlightened and instructed by God and by his word. Live the life of prayer and pray for the Church, pray your priests and pray for the world for us to continue to live in peace with one another.
Once again, my dear brothers, may God grant you the spirit of wisdom as you carry out your duties in this Holy Office. Amen. Long life the Catholic Church, long life Oyo Diocese, long live the Bishop and all of us through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Communication Seminar on News writing & Photography as Oyo Diocese marks 53rd World Communications Day Celebration
Oyo Diocese Celebrates Communications Day
The Catholic diocese of Oyo joined the rest of the world in marking the 53rd World Communications Day with the theme “We are members of one another. (Eph. 4:25). From Network Community to Human Community”. The day which was observed with seminar topics “Uses of Church’s Gadgets and Announcement; News Writing Practical, And Photography” was organized by the Social Communications Department of Oyo Diocese at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Maryland, Ogbomosho between 30th May and June 1st, 2019.
In his welcoming address the Dean of Ogbomoso deanery, Rev. Fr Francis Femi Oladiipo asserted that communication has been in existence since the creation of the world as it constitutes a way of sharing ideas between people in the church and society. He maintained that one of the best gifts of God to mankind is internet which the Catholic Church has been using to promote positive human relations that would lead to building real communities with human faces not totally replacing face-to-face human interactions.
Welcoming participants to the event, the Chairman, Church Pastoral Council (CPC), Our Lady of Lourdes, Maryland, Ogbomoso, Mr Basil Ekwelechi appreciated their presence. He charged them to be good ambassadors of the church, adding that advent of the internet and social media should not alter human interactions in the church and secular world, instead it should complement one another.
In his lecture, “Use of Church Gadgets and Announcement”, Rev Fr Benjamin Jolasun, opinned that as communicators in the church, every information must be thoroughly assessed and fully prepared for before reading it to the congregation. He added that church’s gadgets are vital keys to good worship in the celebration of Holy Mass. Church announcer is a Manager of Crisis (MC), he added. He or she must be well composed and prepared in order to be able to manage others well.
In the word of Mr Faseyiro, photography is not just about snapping pictures or taking shots to distract people during Mass or other Church programmes, but it is about right positioning, calculative bearing and maintenance of balance. He took participants through a practical session where everyone was directed to take shots with a professional camera and smartphones.
Delivering her lecture on “News writing practical and video streaming”, the Director, Social Communications Commission, Oyo Diocese, Sr Eunice Ikufisile (OSF), noted that news writing is a must skill for all communicators in the society and Church. In spite of the technology advancements available at our disposal, good writing is not easy to come by in our world of today. Sr Eunice encouraged that information sharing from different Parishes requires proactive smartness and painstaking reportage without distorting the real message. More so, news writing requires constant practice just like other activities. As for ‘live streaming’ of events on social media, you need to get a good network signal with sufficient data and more importantly, you must be very attentive to avoid recording wrong side attractions because ‘live streaming’ speaks a lot about the Church’s program. As Parish communicators, we must learn to write well and follow the basic elements of good writing; which means your writing must be simple, direct, clear, brief and must have life. Create good image for the Church by our way of life, she added.
The highlight of the seminar was the distribution of participants to groups for brainstorming on different topical issues as it concerns communication days, internet and news writing practical while a group photograph was taken at the end of the event.
The thanksgiving Mass which marked the final activities marking this year’s celebration was celebrated on Sunday, 2nd June at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, Asogo, Oyo by the Cathedral Administrator, Very Rev. Fr John Oyekunle who represented the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Ade Badejo.
By Alaba Damilare Samuel
A SUMMARY OF THE POPE’S MESSAGE FOR THE 53RD WOLRD COMMUNICATIONS DAY
Theme: We are Members of One Another (Eph 4:25): From Social Network Communities to the Human Community.
The Church has always, since the advent of the social networks, been promoting a positive use of the internet in such a way that it becomes a tool that leads to the building of a real community with the human face. Thus, despite the fact that the internet has become a community where people meet more frequently, it is not to replace the one on one human encounter, which will make it to serve the tool of isolation instead of connection. Therefore, every user of the internet must be conscious of the following facts:
1. The Metaphor of the Net and Community
The existence of the internet has made readily available information that in the past was considered unreachable. It has made easy the exchange of ideas and the sharing of knowledge. However, we cannot underestimate the danger in this wonderful gift of the Creator, since if not properly controlled, it can become the channel of sharing false, fake, deceptive and misleading information, aimed at offering those who converge at it a distorted fact. While the internet provides us with a community where new discoveries can be made and new friendships established, it can also lead to the manipulation of the real human community wherein the other is used to one’s advantage without any respect for his or her dignity.
2. We are Members of One Body.
The idea of the one body is one of the profound ways by which St Paul describes the relatedness of the members of the Church with one another, and their union with Christ, the Head of that body (read Eph 4). The internet offers us the opportunity to see this in operation as it provides the opportunity of intermingling of people from different races, faith systems and socio-political interests. Still, a real community is based on truth where each member, without violating the dignity of another member, can speak the truth to him or to her. This fact is less true about the internet. On the contrary, as a free world, it is sometimes filled with falsehood and lies. This arises from the false perception of other members of the internet community as competitors instead of children of one community built on love and others. This can be overturned by the realisation of the truth of our belonging to one another which helps to consider our enemies as co-members of the same community. This will consequently lead to the promotion of love which, most times, is not seen radiated in the internet.
3. The Image of the Trinity.
The inner life of God, the Trinity, is a perfect example of the community we are called to build on the internet, which should be a reflection of the true human community. The bond that exists among the three Divine Persons: Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, is love. The only virtue that makes interpersonal relationships possible is love. The absence of love promotes the building of a community ruled by self love and selfishness. God is a community of Persons. Hence, it is the wish of God that we, made in his image and likeness, should appreciate the gift of community. The internet can help in achieving this if its users recognise their need of others not for a selfish motive, but for the purpose of travelling together for a common purpose: building a true community of loving and caring people.
4. From a “Like” to an “Amen.”
The image of the body which we spoke about earlier reminds us of the capacity to use the internet to build a fraternal community of mutual support for each other. The internet can be of help in fostering unity among the members of the same families or faith communities. It can bring the people together. A family, for instance, can employ the use of the internet to remind its members of the time they must come together for meals and meetings. The same way, a faith community can make use of the internet to call its members together for prayers and other pious activities. Members of the same families or communities can employ the internet to get in touch with each other, sharing their ideas and feelings. Hence, it helps to go beyond the level of diagnosis to the level of treatment which opens the way for true dialogue and encounter. We can then see how the Church, through the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in which the many members, share in one bread, offers us the model of the true human community that the internet is called to promote.
In all, the internet is not to serve a purpose of replacement of human encounter. Instead, it should help to facilitate the rate of our human inter-personal relationships. It is only by so doing does it truly stand as a gift in our hands from the Creator.
THE FOUNDATION-LAYING OF ST IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA CATHOLIC CHAPLAINCY, NYSC CAMP ISEYIN
The foundation of St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Chaplaincy of the National Association of Catholic Corpers (Oyo State Chapter) has been laid by the Catholic Bishop of Oyo diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, which he did on behalf of His Grace, Most. Rev. Gabriel 'Leke Abegunrin (the Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese). This historic event took place on Wednesday 3rd April, 2019 at the NYSC Permanent Orientation Camp, Iseyin, Oyo state.
The prelate called on Christians all over the state, as well as all Corps members to donate generously for the propagation of God's work and as well appealed to everyone to emulate the spirit of giving in order to soon bring to completion the project. He promised that on the part of the two dioceses in Oyo State, that is, Ibadan Archdiocese and Oyo diocese, they will put in their best with the help of God to see that this house of God is brought to a quick completion. He thanked the Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Isiaka Ajimobi for the allocation of the land for religious working in the camp. He also registered a sincere appreciation to the federal government for the NYSC initiative which brings youths of different cultures and backgrounds together in a place to learn from each other, which has brought about peaceful coexistence and unity of the nation. He went further to remind everyone present of the words of the Psalmist: "if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do the labourers build". He admonished everyone to continue to pray for the successful completion of the project.
The Bishop blessed the foundation and prayed that this house will continue to be house of prayer.
Among those present were Rev. Fr. Benedict Joshua (Oyo State NACC Chaplain), Sr. Bridget Monehin SSL (Assistant state chaplain), Rev. Fr. Paul Oshin (the Dean of Iseyin Denary). Others are: Frs. John Opoola, Joseph Adejumo, Anthony Adepoju, Joachim Alade, David Ayodeji, Mrs. Bona Fasakin, Mr. Emmanuel Mbazu (NACC state president), representatives of CMO, CWO, CYON and serving corps members in Iseyin land.
To God be all glory!
By Rev. Fr. Benedict Joshua
OYO DIOCESE UNVEILS AMMIL BRANCH OFFICE IN IWERE ILE
It was a special day at Iwere-Ile, Iwajowa Local government area of Oyo State as the Catholic Diocese of Oyo unveiled and commissioned a branch of Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited (AMMIL). Recalled that the Microfinance institution was established and commissioned by His Grace,Most Rev.Dr Gabriel Leke' Abegunrin and the founder bishop, Most Rev.Dr. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo on September 18, 2018 in Oyo town.
The institution has since been waxing stronger, gaining public trust in Oyo and environs. AMMIL is a Micro-Credit institution aimed at empowering and supporting the active poor, acting as a go between the rich and the poor who want to do small business and help them avoid complex bottleneck requirements in normal banks.
In his keynote address, the Coordinator, Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) Oyo who also doubles as the Director of the Microfinance institution, Rev Fr Adeleke Gabriel, on behalf of the Bishop, Most Rev, Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, welcomed all the guests and appreciated their cooperation, more importantly the cordial relationship between the institution and the people who have been patronizing the institution since it began operation in Oyo last year. He noted that AMMIL has come to stay for the betterment of the people in the area and beyond, adding that the institution evolve around one of the aims of the Catholic Church which believed in an egalitarian society.
Rev Fr Gabriel said the people of Iwere Ile and other neighboring towns should utilize the opportunity to improve their businesses. According to him, the diversity of businesses in recent time calls for a creative ideas and funding in order to enable people realize their full potentials. He maintained that AMMIL aimed at ensuring a comfortable life for all people irrespective of religions or ethnic affiliation through financial inclusion system.
Speaking further, the Managing Director, Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited (AMMIL), Mrs Lara Oluwayemi, congratulated the people of Iwere for the achievement, stressing that the institution came at the right time when many small business owners are lacking financial capacity to expend their businesses. She pointed out that AMMIL collects money from Catholic and non-Catholic investors who have a little more, and who generously entrust some of their money to the Catholic Church for a period of time for helping the poor in form of loans and credit facilities.
“AMMIL is not a commercial bank trying to make profit at all cost by crushing all and sundry. But a sustainable empowerment program,hence, whoever obtain loans in any form must pay back or be made to pay”.
She assured the residents of Iwere Ile and neighboring towns that AMMIL is totally different from the previous financial institutions experienced in Iwajowa Local Government adding that the Microfinance Institution is a reliable one that has come to make life better for traders, artisans, farmers, teachers among others. The MD further stated that AMMIL came with a modern financial transaction package through the use of POS, EPOSS, ATM Card, BVN registration and lot more.
Present at the event were: Oniwere of Iwere ile, Onitasa of Itasa, Trade Associations, religious leaders, youths, Rev Fathers from different Parishes among others were present. They appreciated the gesture and hoped the Microfinance institution will improve the economic status of people in the area.
A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF IBADAN ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE AT THE END OF THEIR FIRST MEETING FOR 2019 HELD AT THE JUBILEE CONFERENCE CENTRE, OKE ADO, IBADAN ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2019
A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF IBADAN ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE AT THE END OF THEIR FIRST MEETING FOR 2019 HELD AT THE JUBILEE CONFERENCE CENTRE, OKE ADO, IBADAN ON TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2019
Nigeria General Elections: Time To Walk In The Right Path
We, the Catholic Bishops of Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province, comprising Ibadan Archdiocese, Ilorin, Ondo, Ekiti, Oyo and Osogbo Dioceses, after our first meeting for the year 2019, having prayerfully deliberated on matters of importance to the Church in Ibadan Province and our country, Nigeria, issue the following Communique:
1. New Year, New Praises
We welcome the New Year with thanksgiving to God, the Giver of all life and all good things, who has kept us going as a Church and as a country. We acknowledge that in spite of the troubles and trials which we may see all around us, the mercy of God continues to be manifested in the affairs of our Church and country. Our Province in particular has been spared most of the gruesome violence and mayhem seen in other parts of Nigeria. For all his graces and blessing which have brought us into the New Year we thank God. We therefore call on all God’s children to live a life of sincere gratitude and praise, worthy of true children of God at all times. When we live as God-fearing people our life finds a new direction and our fears and anxieties diminish. May the New Year 2019 bring to us and to our country new blessings that will enhance our unity and all-round development as God’s people.
2. The National General Elections and Nigeria’s Future
National elections at various levels in Nigeria are here again. Given the high expectations of Nigerians and the not-so-positive experience during past elections, having a better performance at the forthcoming exercise assumes monumental importance for Nigeria. Most countries of the world improve from election to election and are reaping tangible benefits and dividends in economic growth and integral human development. Our country must not be different but aim at taking its rightful place in the comity of nations. We must therefore learn from and improve on our past mistakes and hold elections that are not only truly free and fair, but also that are seen to be so. The current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari must deliver on its promise not to unduly influence the work of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which must also improve upon its good effort so far by according all contestants at all levels, equal importance and equal opportunities. The security agencies must do their duty without fear or favour, to prevent and curb every act of thuggery and violence which can intimidate the electorate or compromise the elections. Since their performance can affect the credibility of the elections, they must not be partisan but carry out all their activities in the overall national interest of the country.
3. Educating The Electorate
Information, they say, is power! We urge all our churches, communities and institutions to provide platforms and resources for our people to be informed and to inform one another about their civic rights and duties towards the forthcoming elections. Politicians seeking elective office must be encouraged to use such platforms and opportunities to correctly and clearly inform the people of their intentions and programmes so as to enable them carry out conscientiously, their civic duties. It is also important to note that there is life after elections. To this end, we must strive to equip our people with skills and strategies for holding our politicians to their word, even after they have been elected.
4. The Role of the Electorate
We urge all eligible Nigerian voters to collect their Permanent Voters Cards and vote conscientiously. It is the clearest sign of patriotism and our rights as Nigerian citizens also come with those sacred duties. We must reject and oppose any form of vote buying and selling and manipulation for the sake of our country and for generations yet unborn. Thankfully, most Nigerians believe in God and this must be even more evident during these elections if our prayers will be answered. We must all respect the sanctity of human life and work for the triumph of the truth. We must never forget that God will judge and reward every one of us for every choice and action we make in life.
5. Christian Witness During Elections
We hasten to remind all Christians in Nigeria that they have a huge responsibility to carry out during this period. Every Christian is called, especially at baptism, to witness to the truth and to be the light of the world. Christians must therefore make a positive difference in Nigeria as a fulfilment of their divine mandate. According to the apostle Paul: “People must know us as ambassadors of Christ….and what is expected of an ambassador is to be found trustworthy” (1 Cor. 4:1-2). We therefore enjoin all Christians, whether as candidates canvassing for votes or as individual voters, Christians of all walks of life like journalists, artists, poets, artistes and others to remember their Christian duty and vigorously and actively oppose injustice, falsehood and evil in all its forms, especially during the forthcoming elections. By doing this, they do nothing more than build a good legacy for generations to come and bring about God’s kingdom of love.
6.The World Youth Day and Catechesis
We congratulate all our youth on the successful celebration of the 34th World Youth Day programme held in Panama, Central America, from January 17 to 27, 2019. It is a programme initiated by St. Pope John Paul II to inspire, unify and educate young people in the Church. It is a call to them to be evangelizers to one another while making Jesus their best friend. The youth are challenged to seek knowledge of the faith through ongoing catechesis and study. Our country and the entire world have much to gain from such noble endeavours. “Who will ascend to the mountain of the Lord and who will stand in his holy place, the innocent of hand and the clean of heart”(Ps. 24:3)
6. A New Bishop For Ijebu-ode Diocese
We congratulate Msgr. Francis Obafemi Adesina, formerly a Priest of Osogbo Diocese, Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province and Rector of our Regional Major Seminary of Ss. Peter and Paul, Bodija, Ibadan who has recently been appointed Bishop of Ijebu-Ode Diocese by the Holy Father, Pope Francis. We greet the retired Bishop of Ijebu-ode, Most Rev. Albert Ayinde Fasina, and the entire Diocese for this historic event. The Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop-elect has been fixed for Thursday, 25th of April, 2019 at Ijebu-ode. May the good Lord bless the new Bishop, the Diocese and prosper the entire Church in Nigeria.
7. Call To Prayer And Action
We urge Nigerians to continue to pray to the Almighty God for whom all things are possible. However, it is when we are productive that our prayers are blessed by God. Thus, before, during and after the elections, we need to sustain our prayers for inspiration, strength and courage to carry out our thoughts, decisions and actions. In the words of Pope Francis, “good politics is to be at the service of peace” and peace is always the result of deliberate action and work. According to the Bible: “If my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my presence and turn from their wicked ways, then I will listen from heaven and forgive their sins and restore their country” (2 Chron. 7:14). Such is our hope for Nigeria through the next elections in our country, by the grace and mercy of God Almighty who lives and reigns forever and ever.
Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin Most Rev. John Oyejola
JDPM HOSTS DIALOGUE AND PARTNERSHIP SERVICE (DPS) IN OYO
The Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) Oyo, hosted Mr Andreas Wahler, the Nigeria’s representative of Misereor through the Dialogue and Partnership Service (DPS) on April 5, 2019 at Mabolaje, Oyo. The purpose of his visit was to meet with the staff of the organization and to discuss pertinent issues on the relationship between JDPM and Misereor.
Welcoming the guest, the Coordinator, JDPM Oyo, Rev Fr Gabriel Adeleke, appreciated his visitation and applauded the long time relationship between Misereor and JDPM Oyo in project partnership, stressing that the activities of Misereor in developmental projects across Nigeria, Africa and beyond deserves an accolade.
Responding, Mr. Andreas Wahler from Misereor Nigeria’s Office Abuja, expressed his satisfaction at what JDPM is doing. He said every society need an organization where many developmental activities needs to be carried out for an holistic development because government cannot do everything for the citizens, adding that the relationship between Misereor and JDPM is beyond donor-beneficiaries because it has led to fusion of ideas and unison of direction cum capacity building of staff in project writing and resource mobilization. He assured JDPM of Misereor’s readiness to always partner with the organization on projects.
Each Department represented by the Programme manager/Head of Department (HOD); Rural Development Programme (RUDEP) and Politics and Human Rights (PHR), later presented their project activities on Microsoft Power Point where many key issues were thoroughly analysed and assessed for proper rectification.
In her vote of thank, the Administrative Officer, JDPM Oyo, Sister Victoria Dada (SSMA), appreciated Misereor for their trust and confidence in the organization as well as their cooperation on project funding. She charged Mr Andreas to use his office to explore other programmes by the Deparments especially, the Politics and Human Rights (PHR) who presently runs a project on Child Rights Education in Basic Schools in Oyo State as well as tapping into the activities of Women in Politics (WIP) in the Catholic Diocese of Oyo.
ST ANTHONY’S DEVOTION WITH BISHOP BADEJO AT FRANCCO
Tuesday, 15th January, 2019 was a remarkable day at St. Francis Catholic College, Oyo as the proprietor, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo made a special but short visit to the school at the invitation of the members of St Anthony of Padua’s society. This society was established in the school during the course of last academic session as part of the effort of the church to promote spiritual formation and growth among the Catholic students. It was also aimed at encouraging young Catholics to embrace and participate actively in Pious societies as many of these societies in our parishes are now made up of elderly people. The decision to propagate this devotion through our Catholic schools, which really is a return to the old method, according to Mr Yomi Afolabi who led the group at the inception was taken at the annual general of the society during the course of the year. Since the establishment of this society it has been the desire of the group to have the Bishop with them and this desire became a reality on on Tuesday, 15th January, 2019. The Bishop came in at about 2.40 pm and immediately joined the prayer meeting. His presence brought indescribable jot into the heart of the students and others at the meeting and this was really visible in the eyes of everybody.
The Bishop, though did not stay till the end of the prayer because of other engagements, he however, stopped over at the principal’s office where he expressed his happiness over what he saw. He also commended the effort of the students and the commitment of the teachers guiding the students at the prayer meeting. He made further observations and suggestions that will be of great help to the spiritual and moral formation of the students. It is his wish that this kind of opportunity be extended to other Catholic schools so as to help the children learn, know and live their faith.
Addressing the Young Catholic Students who were also having their weekly meeting under the tree in front of the principal’s office, he urged them to continue the good work. In his words, they are having opportunities which many of their colleagues in other schools do not enjoy, hence they must appreciate and value it very well. He further urged the principal to think of better way to organize the programmes so as enable other Catholic students to participate in Young Catholic Students programme without losing the opportunity of being members of other devotional groups in the school.
Present at the St. Anthony’s prayer meeting were Mr. Yomi Afolabi, Mama Clara Sanda, Mrs Olaitan Sade, Mr Sagbo Abiodun, Miss C.A. Adelakun who is the Vice Principal of the school and Mrs Oshin F.A. who is the school librarian. More than 50 students attended the prayer meeting.
Holy Childhood Association of Oyo Diocese Celebrates “A day with the Bishop”
The celebration of the feast of the Holy Innocent by the Holy Childhood Association of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo tagged “A day with the Bishop” on Friday 28th December, 2018 at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Cathedral, Asogo, Oyo began with the Mass celebrated by Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo, Very Rev Fr John Oyekunle – the Diocesan Director for Pontifical Missions Societies (PMS) also the Cathedral administrator, Fr Clement Isola – the Bishop’s Secretary, Fr Gabriel Agboola – the Diocesan Vocations Director and Fr John Alayande.
It was indeed a celebration for children by children as the children participated actively as functionaries in the Liturgy as they were the Choir, Altar Servers, Psalmist, Lay readers, leaders of the prayers of the faithful, carrying the offertory and acting as the Masters of Ceremony both in and outside the Mass.
The Homilist of the day Rev Fr Gabriel Agboola urged the children to be of good behavior and obey their parents, guardians and elders. He made them realize the evils associated with behaving like King Herod who sacrificed the innocent children because he wanted to kill the baby Jesus and what the end of such people will be in the future.
After the thanksgiving, Rev Fr John Oyekunle the PMS Director appreciated the Bishop for his love and support and the animators for sacrificing their time and resources in order to take care of the children. He also encouraged the children to be of good behavior so that they can attain greater height in the future.
The Bishop also applauded Fr John Oyekunle, Sr Anastasia Obatolu - the Holy Childhood Association (HCA) Diocesan Coordinator, the animators, parents and guardians for the work they were doing with the children. He also praised the children themselves for getting involved in activities in their various parishes which was evident in the fact that they participated well in the Mass of the day. He however urged them to learn to listen more to their parents, learn how to participate more and better at mass and learn how to play musical instruments.
There was group picture with the Bishop, priests, religious and animators present in the church after the Mass and another one with the children in front of Bishop Adelakun Hall where the reception took place. The reception was so bright, colorful and beautiful as the children were given multicolored masks, cone caps and balloons to put on and use. The children were given food and drinks and they presented Christmas songs. The Holy Childhood Association gave the gift of a large size framed picture to the Bishop as a token of their appreciation.
Oyo Diocese Celebrates Christmas for prisoners
The Justice Development and Peace Movement with some of the members of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo celebrated the joys of Christmas with inmates at the Nigerian Prisons Service, Lagbondoko, Oyo, Oyo State on Wednesday 26th December, 2018.
Msgr Anthony Olawumi who represented the Bishop of Oyo diocese together with Fr Clement Isola – the Bishop’s secretary and Fr Gabriel Adeleke – the Director of JDPM led the delegation that comprised Reverend Sisters, JDPM staffs and members of parishes within Oyo bearing gifts and the Christmas message. Monsignor Olawumi made it known in the Christmas message that Christ brought peace to the world as God’s love is planted among us through his birth but we need to carry our crosses just like Christ did before we can achieve that peace. He continued that there is opportunity for mistakes but we also must accept the corrections and punishments attached to the mistakes.
SP Ige welcoming the entourage on behalf of the prison authority appreciated the Catholic Diocese of Oyo for always associating themselves with the plights and conditions of the inmates and contributing towards their well-being. He used the opportunity to enlighten the visitors that the prisons are no longer places where harsh and cruel punishments are being meted out but places where people are changed for the better. There was a special Christmas carol rendition by the prison choir and the Franciscan Novices after which Fr Clement Isola presented gifts of drugs for the betterment of the prison inmates on behalf of the Bishop.
Mr Ayinde one of the prison officials while giving the vote of thanks applauded how helpful the Catholic church has been through the JDPM and also directly, he lamented how wonderful it would have been if other churches were emulating the Catholic Church. He also used the medium to further ask for the support of the church in getting a megaphone to make communication easier, completing the prison chapel building to enable the Christian inmates to worship God befittingly and repairing the vehicles for the benefit of the prisoners who need to be transported to and from courts.
Pastor David Ilugbusi - the prison chaplain prayed for the Catholic Church and all her dealings, for the inmates and for justice and peace in our country Nigeria and Monsignor Anthony Olawumi gave the final blessings after which the gifts were handed to the prison authority for distribution to the prisoners.
BISHOP ADELAKUN FOUNDATIONS YEARLY CELEBRATION WITH WIDOWS
No one has nothing to offer – Fr Francis Oladiipo tells widows
“No matter how little, we all have something to offer. Be it time, words and strength. We must therefore never hesitate to do so” Rev Fr Dr Francis Oladiipo – the Secretary of Bishop Babatunde Adelakun Foundation (BAF) said this during his homily at the Foundation’s annual Christmas party celebration for widows and widowers on Thursday 27th of December, 2018 at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, Oyo in a mass co-celebrated by Bishop Emeritus Julius Adelakun (the founder) and Fr John Alayande.
He urged them to continually carry their crosses just like the death of their spouses that has made the load of two to be for one person and that no matter the situation, we should believe in the resurrection of Jesus who is the power of Christians. Special prayers were also offered for the widows and widowers who were present at the previous year but during the course of the year and for all the deceased.
The reception took place at Bishop Adelakun Hall after the Holy Mass. There was Health talk by Mr Anthony Adetoro on how to manage one’s health after the death of spouse, coping and adapting with the sudden change, the proper way to exercise and many more. The talk was followed by series of questions and clarifications. Free medical test/check up by medical personnel took place while the talk was going on. The widows and widowers who were almost 200 (Christians and non-Christians) benefitted from free drugs, food items and many others that were distributed to them.
You are examples to your followers – Bishop of Oyo Diocese tells Kings
“You serve as example to your followers and when you respect God, your followers will do the same. If you humble yourself, God will raise you up” – Bishop Emmanuel Badejo said this while addressing the Kings and faithful gathered at the funeral Mass for the late Amunijio of Ijio Land – Oba Gabriel Okunade Adegoke Adeola Arijeteleoye.
Monsignor Emmanuel Yakubu in the homily after rendering a brief history of Ijio Land made mention of how significant the life of the late king was as he made great impact in the growth of the Kingdom developing the towns under it till the number reached 15 towns and also installed 12 High Chiefs. A large amount of considerable development had also been recorded in Ijio during his 20 year reign and despite being the first Royal Highness of Ijio (as the previous ones were all Baales) and a King he humbled himself to the service of God as he was a lay reader in the Church while he was alive. He was also cheerful, jovial and generous to people during his lifetime.
Monsignor Yakubu implored the people that they should let the funeral symbolise the end of mourning as the book of Wisdom says “there is joy over a righteous youth that died young” so the people should not be sad because the late king was privileged to receive the sacrament of the anointing of the sick after the accident that took his life as Frs Peter Akinola and Phillip Onifade who were travelling on the same route arrived at the scene before he died.
Bishop Badejo while speaking to the people after the mass endeavoured them to live good exemplary lives so that great things will be said about us just like is being said of the late king and so that they will be able to receive the heavenly reward.
Present at the funeral to give the last respect to the late Oba Gabriel Adegoke Adeola were people from all works of life, kings from neighbouring towns and villages like Igboho, Iseyin, Iwere, Baasi, Itasa, Ayegun, Ilaji-Ile, Ayetoro, Otu, Okeho, Eruwa, Tede, Owo, Iganna and many others, government officials, clerics, indigenes and non-indigenes from far and near and many others.
HISTORIC VISIT AT FIDITI
It was remarkable and historic today at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Fiditi, as "Simple Visit turned historic".
The Local Ordinary, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo at the early hour of this day, 2nd of January, 2019 alerted the Parish Priest - Rev. Fr. Benjamin Jolasun
that he may in the evening time come and say hi to his sheep in Fiditi as the new year begins.
In deed, God is all knowing. God really has his plans for our lives. Usually on a day like this, the youths of the church come together with the Parish priest to say Vespers and Compline. It was in the mood of this spiritual exercise that the Local Ordinary came in in company of the Metropolitan See of Ibadan, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel 'Leke Abegunrin. Rev. Fr. Dr. Joyzy Pius Eegunjobi - one of the sons of the soil, Rev. Fr. Clement Isola - the Bishop's Secretary, Rev. Sr. Augustina Adeleke and some other young ones were also witnesses.
In his words of admonition, Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin submitted that since he last stepped into Fiditi Church in 1984, this happened to be another occasion which he said was really destined by God to come this way. As he thanked the faithful for maintaining the Church Structure and keeping it neat even though it is an old edifice, he called on them to keep it up.
On behalf of the Church, the Parish Pastoral Council Chairman, Mr. Peter Oyelami exclaimed that in the history of the Parish, it had never happened having Bishop and Archbishop at the same time in the Parish. He added that it is a sign of prayers answered and signs of so many good things to come in the New Year, 2019.
Bishop Badejo called on the youths of the Parish to keep up with the good work in faith and never grow weary, for rewards are awaiting all.
Present also at the historic event were some elders of the Church both males and females.
In deed, it becomes an unforgettable event especially in the life of the youths of the Parish.
All departed the Church joyfully jubilating having received the blessings of God through our Shepherds.
OYO DIOCESE CELEBRATES CHRIST, THE REASON FOR THE SEASON WITH TRIPLE CAROLS
As part of the annual activities of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, the Bishop of Oyo Diocese Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo together with priests, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese gathered to rejoice and celebrate the 2018 edition of the yearly triple carols which includes the Oyo Deanery Christmas Carol, the Inter-Diocesan Carol and the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) Carol.
Sunday 16th of December began the carol chain as the Catholic churches in Oyo area gathered on the field of St Bernardine Owode to have the Oyo Deanery Christmas Carol which featured song presentations by the churches in the Deanery, readings and lessons, drama and Christmas messages. The Dean of the Deanery - Very Rev Fr Boniface Wuraola urged all to rejoice and be glad, sing and dance despite the situation.
The choirs from the St Anthony Ashipa in the Archdiocese of Ibadan and St Benedict Cathedral in Oshogbo Diocese praised the Lord and thrilled the audience together with the Choirs of St Anthony Awe and St Patrick Fiditi of Oyo Diocese at the Inter-Diocesan Carol on Tuesday 18th December at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Cathedral, Asogo, Oyo. Rev Fr Peter Akinola, the parish priest of St Joseph, Iwere-Ile gave the Christmas message after which Rev Fr Ferdinand Olabode, the parish priest of St Theresa Ijio rendered a traditional Christmas poem (Ewi). The Bishop appreciated both the invited choirs and the host choirs as he gifted drums to them.
The Carol of the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) of Oyo Deanery came up on Wednesday 19th December at the Bishop's House as the women all sang carols parish by parish before presenting gifts to the Bishop who in turn presented gifts to them in return. There were special carol presentations by the Catholic Men Organization (CMO) of Christ the King Catholic Church, Isokun and the Children of the Holy Childhood. In his welcome address, Bishop Badejo used prayer filled hymns to pray for the people and encouraged them to dance and sing well as that will mean praying twice to the new born king. Most Rev Julius Adelakun - the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese also graced the occasion and gave the final blessings.
OYO DIOCESE HOLDS ANNUAL MARIAN PILGRIMAGE
Thousands of people flocked the town of Tede for annual spiritual pilgrimage to the Oke Maria Pilgrimage and Retreat Centre, Tede in ATISBO Local Government of Oyo State. This year’s pilgrimage with the theme ‘nothing is impossible for God’ came up on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December, 2018 with both Catholics and non-Catholics coming together to pray through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to God who made all things possible for his people.
The Bible Service on Friday 7th at St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, Tede started by 3pm with Fr Jerome Ogunleye as the preacher while the same Bible Service was being held concurrently on the Marian Hill for the aged and the sick. The Bible Service was followed by the joyful praise-filled procession of the pilgrims to the Pilgrimage Centre. The procession ended around 8pm with the prayer led by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo – Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo at the Grotto on the Marian Hill.
The programme continued throughout the night with different segments anchored by different priests. It featured Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Stations of the Cross, Sacrament of Reconciliation, Healing and Anointing, Divine Mercy, thanksgiving of praise and worship and many others before finally ending with the Holy Mass early morning of Saturday 8th December, 2018.
In his homily, Rev. Fr Francis Olufunmilayo the parish priest of Divine Mercy Catholic Church Saki, enjoined the people to always be like Mary who became what God wanted her to be and not what she wanted to be because a lot of problem we are encountering nowadays is because people are no longer what God wants them to be but what they want to be since they no longer let the will of God be done in their lives.
Oyo Diocese receives Bishop Olawoore of Ilorin Diocese
The Catholic Diocese of Oyo has with an utmost joy formally received the co-adjutor Bishop of Ilorin Diocese who was once a priest in the host Diocese, Most Rev. Paul Adegboyega Olawoore at the Lady of Assumption, Catholic Cathedral, Oyo , Oyo State on the 5th of October, 2018. The Thanksgiving Mass was presided by the celebrant, Bishop Olawoore with the Archbishop of Ibadan, most Rev. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin, the host Bishop, Most Rev . Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo and the emeritus bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Julius Babatunde Adelakun together with priests within and outside the Diocese.
Fr. Michael Falade, the homilist, made it known that man should never betray his sense of gratitude, no matter the situation and so when God calls, it is best to put everything into the hands of he who assigned for he can never fail. God in his wisdom has been preparing Bishop Olawoore for the great task, he said, and now it has come to fulfillment. He described the celebrants as a man of prayer, a true shepherd and pastor, ever ready to serve God in trying times and a special son of Mary, Queen of the Apostle.
Bishop Olawoore was said to have held various positions in the Catholic Diocese of Oyo amongst which are, the Diocesan secretary /chancellor under Bishop Adelakun the emeritus bishop of Oyo Diocese, once parish priest of St. Bernardine’s Oyo, St. Mary Magdalene Tede, St. Andrews Akinmoorin, Our Lady of Lourdes Ogbomosho, principal of St. Francis college, Oyo, chaplain of Federal college of education, Oyo ,Diocesan canonist /judicial vicar, zonal chaplain of Catholic women organization, Oyo and Ogbomosho zone, dean of Oyo and Ogbomosho deanery, principal of Maryland grammar school Ogbomosho up to the time he was appointed as co-adjutor bishop of Ilorin Diocese.
He further described Bishop Olawoore as a man who believes trusting and obeying God is the key to live a life pleasing to God and so he encouraged the celebrants to continue the good work and to put all situations into God’s hands for he knows all.
The celebrant, thanked God for the new Diocese he has been appointed to and from where he is coming from. He said his appointment is that which he can not explain but that it is God’s will and every situation is a preparation for something we are not aware of but clearly known to God. In his words, he thanked specially the Emeritus Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Julius Adelakun who have brought him up in the way of the Lord and for all his wonderful teachings .He then enjoined all to always give ears to the teaching of God and endeavor to follow it for that is where the goodness and mercy of the Lord comes. And to the youths he encouraged, to work for the Lord and not for anything else, especially now that election is at hand, not to act as miscreants, who would sell their birthright but rather listen to him who created them and represent him anywhere they find themselves In preserving the future.
The metropolitan see of Ibadan, Most Rev Gabriel Abegunrin, congratulated the celebrant and described his case as whatever God has planned no one can stop it. He said as individual, we have been assigned one work or the other from God and so when it is revealed, it is best to do it and trust in God. We must never be tired of the Cross, he said, we must bear it till the last day and as priests of God, we must not forget our vows, to know him and serve him to the end. He then encouraged bishop Olawoore not to be afraid, to carry his Cross and lean on him who chose him.
Most. Rev Emmanuel Badejo, the host Bishop, in his words at the reception said God’s will has truly be done and there is no controversy therein. He appreciated the celebrant for honouring the invitation, he then admonished him to see Oyo, Ilorin and other Archdioceses and dioceses under the province as one for that is the beginning of God’s wonderful works.
The chairman, organizing committee, Rev .Fr Dr. Francis Oladiipo thanked all who have come specially to rejoice with Bishop Emmanuel on the formal reception of Bishop Olawoore. He also appreciated the presence of some of the priests from Ilorin Diocese that accompanied the celebrant and prayed for journey mercy for all.
Bishop Badejo commissions a micro finance multi-purpose investment
The Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo commissioned and unveiled the Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited (AMMIL) at the new building, opposite UBA bank, Owode, Oyo, Oyo state on the 18th of September,2018. The Micro Finance institution which was regarded as a herald of a new dawn in the history of the Diocese is aimed at creating wealth, through advisory service, investment and loan facilities to eligible individual and groups irrespective of gender, age and religion.
The event commenced with the Holy Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Ibadan, His Grace, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin as the Chief Celebrant, the Catholic bishop of Oyo diocese Most. Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo who is also the legal holder of AMMIL (Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited), Monsignors and priests within and outside the diocese as co-celebrants. The homilist of the day, Monsignor Emmanuel Yakubu described the establishment as the essence for which Christ has created the Church, which is re-creating the world, contributing to the development and lifting up of human life. He analyzed the evangelization format into two dimension which are the anthropological and theological dimension and of which the Micro-finance Bank is based on the anthropological dimension, that is the social study of humanity, caring for the needs of others as Christ as rightly said ‘’if you do these to the least of my brothers, you do it to me’’ (Matthew 25:40). He said the aim of the Church towards re-ordering the world has been made manifest in the establishment of the Ave Maria Micro-Finance Institution, which is intended to enable more people have access to common resources and to live a good and happy life; that is reaching out mostly to people at the grass root level. He then enjoined everybody to see this as a great instrument of evangelization, reaching out to people in promoting human dignity and to always put-on the armour of prayer which is the theological dimension of the evangelical format.
After the celebration of the Holy Mass, various remarks were given from those who constitute the board of members and from the various customers of the financial institution which includes the Okada riders, food vendors, Onimaalu in which all commended the effort of Rev.Fr Gabriel Adeleke, the coordinator of JDPM and the staffs for their foresight in creating the remarkable intervention program. They further expressed their assurance that the institution will go a long way in improving the life of the people in the diocese, Catholics and non-Catholics.
AMMIL which was previously known as Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) is an integral part of Justices, Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) and is registered with the corporate affair commission (RC. 158760). Investment opportunities open to customers includes Floating, Gold, Platinum, My kids investment and the likes. Other available services are LOAN PROJECTS such as Kowope, Basiri, Project Financing Scheme and other products.
Bishop Badejo in his words said the Church through the establishment is merely fulfilling her responsibility towards the realization of the will of God and not competing with any business establishment and that is what the Church does all over the world and Oyo will not be an exception. The coordinator of JDPM, Rev.Fr Gabriel Adeleke, also made it known that the Ave Maria Institution is established to collaborate with the government, helping and supporting the people, youths who have ideas but does not have the financial ability, that is promoting human dignity which is the aim of the Church.
The managing director of the financial institution, Mrs Orebiyi Oyekunle Taiwo said the financial institution aim at modernizing those at the grass root level, to enhance local operators by creating various activities for them and helping them financially, providing advisory services which are the sole aim of the institution. The vote of thanks was given by Rev. Sr Victoria Dada SSMA, who on behalf of JDPM of the diocese acknowledged the presence of all who witnessed the program after which the commissioning and unveiling was done by Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo together with all present.
EXCERPTS FROM THE COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF NIGERIA
THEME: DO NOT BE AFRAID, DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED” (Deut 31:8).
DATE: 6 To 14 SEPTEMBER, 2018.
VENUE: PINNACLE GUEST INN AND RESORT, SOKOTO, SOKOTO STATE.
By: Rev. Fr. Benjamin Jolasun.
In the face of the prevailing crisis, tensions and anxiety, all Nigerians are invited to put their trust in God, while working hard to build a harmonious and peaceful nation. Deu. 31:8 is a message of assurance.
The thousands of our internally displaced compatriots should be helped by the Government to return to their homes and their land restored to them as quickly as possible and the life and property of every Nigerian citizen should be defended.
Governments at all levels should respect the rights of citizens and groups to practise their religions unhindered.
All should avoid acts of religious fanaticism in order to promote peaceful co-existence and harmony. Religion is a matter of conviction, not coercion.
All forms of pursuit of national interest should be guided by the rule of law and respect for human dignity and development. The legislatures are to enact good laws and abrogate bad ones, so as to ensure order, safety, good conduct and safeguard the Common Good and judiciary should not allow itself to be used as an instrument of subjugation, oppression, discrimination, and injustice.
As we look forward to the elections of 2019, all registered voters are encouraged to ensure that they are equipped with their voter’s card, reject and denounce the illegal practices of selling and buying of votes.
Let all be attentive to the aspirations of the young people, especially those among them who are poor, internally displaced, victims of exploitation, orphans, and migrants. The evils of human trafficking, slavery, drug abuse, war, disease, disability, and illiteracy should be shunned and eradicated.
In the face of the trying moment for the Church, Clergy and Religious should be mindful of their obligation to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven (Matt: 19:12, Can. 277, 1).
It is still possible for all Nigerians to join hands across religious, ethnic and political divides in order to build one, united and robust Nation that all of us would be proud of.
Rev. Fr. Zachariah SAMJUMI of the Catholic Diocese of Yola is the new Secretary General for the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria.
Church at various levels, parishes and families, should intensify the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary, practice other forms of devotion to save our country and continue say the “Prayer for Nigeria in Distress,” especially as we approach the Election Year. There is power in Prayer.
THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF OYO UNVEILS AND COMMISSIONS AVE MARIA MULTIPURPOSE INVESTMENT LIMITED
The Justice, Development and Peace Movement of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo commissions and unveils Ave Maria Multipurpose Investment Limited,a microcredit Institution with three basic objectives: To provide microcredit services to the active poor in our society.To align with and support Government in achieving 2020 financial inclusion target of millions of Nigerians that are financially excluded.Lastly To float a sustainable project that will sustain the good works of JDPM,Oyo and the Diocese of Oyo as a whole. This will be done by the local Ordinary of the Diocese Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo beginning with the Holy Mass on the 18th of September, 2018 at the Venue. Join us as we evangelize through this means
CATHOLIC PRESENCE AT IGBO OLOGUN, SAKI OYO STATE
The untiring labour of Rev. Frs Michael Eke, Martin Badejo and Benedict Joshua to propagate the Catholic faith near and far Saki axis was given a Diocesan stamp when His Lordship, Most Rev Emmanuel Ade Badejo, (together with Frs Olufunmilayo Francis and Martin Badejo), sets his feet on the ancient land of Igbo-Ologun, a town on the hill-top of about 5 minutes drive from Saki. Based on the ardent faith of the family of Pa & Mrs Joseph Akano who had been in contact with Catholicism in Ikirun since their youthful days and upon returning home has secured a piece of land for the church's uses.
Owing to the proximity of the town to Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Wewe in Saki, St. Lawrence's, Saki handed it over to them for easier pastoral care, this was received with joy.
Tuesday 4 September, 2018 was a memorable day of joy, happiness and fulfilment not only for the family of Akano but the entire town of Igbo-Ologun as the Baale, Ologun of Igbo-Ologun together with the Shehu of the town welcomed the entire members of Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Wewe into the town.
Songs of praise, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary and the celebration of the Holy Mass were held right infront of Pa Akano's house which is just a stone throw away from the land given to the Church. Prayers were said for the town, the Baale, the Shehu and the Muslim community as well as every soul in the town. It was a great launch of the Catholic faith in the town and to be continued with intense evangelization.
SECAM LAUNCHES GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATION IN KAMPALA
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) will launch the continental celebration of its Golden Jubilee at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kampala (Uganda) on the 29 July, 2018.
SECAM was born out of the desire of African Bishops during and after the Second Vatican Council of 1965 to establish a forum in which they could speak with one voice on matters pertaining to the Church in Africa. As a result, in July 1969 in Kampala-Uganda, during the visit of Pope Paul VI, the first by any pontiff to Africa, SECAM was formally launched.
The year-long Jubilee celebration scheduled for the period, 29th July, 2018 to 28th July, 2019 will have as theme; “Church: Family of God in Africa, Celebrate your Jubilee! Proclaim Jesus Christ your Saviour!”
In celebrating the Golden Jubilee of SECAM, each faithful, and every Christian community in Africa and Madagascar, is invited to let the call to this mission resonate in him/her and respond to it with zeal. It will be a time to celebrate in thanksgiving, God’s wonderous deeds, to reflect on the progress made by the Church so far, to seek repentance and conversion in the Continent, and afford all a time for renewed commitment to witness to Christ in Africa and Madagascar.
The Launch of the Golden Jubilee Year will be led by the President of SECAM, Most Rev. Gabriel Mbilingi, Archbishop of Lubango, Angola, and the SECAM Standing Committee. They will be joined by the Bishop Presidents and Secretaries General, of SECAM’s eight regions, theologians and the Church leaders and lay people from the host country Uganda.
The launch will be replicated in all dioceses, parishes and churches across Africa, Madagascar and the adjacent islands. A comprehensive program contained in the working document (Instrumentum Laboris) on the celebration shall be widely circulated to animate the celebration down to the grassroots of the Church in Africa.
Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, who is the President of SECAM’s Episcopal Committee on Social Communications (CEPACS) will also represent Nigeria at the launching.
ST. MARY MAGDALENE PARISH, TEDE CELEBRATES MARIAN PILGRIMAGE
The entire Tede community in ATISBO Local Government Area of Oyo State sounded the trumpet of joy as the experience of the usual annual Marian Pilgrimage took a new turn. The annual diocesan Marian Pilgrimage comes up every December. But the members of St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Tede inspired by their priests, have now taken the initiative to start celebrating the pilgrimage on parish level once more in the year. They decided to take the opportunity of the end of the first half of the year to thank God, while also putting the second half in the hands of God for his direction, graces and blessing.
This is why all the members of the parish including members from the fifteen outstations gathered between the 29th and 30th of June to celebrate together. The pilgrimage began on the Marian hill where there was Bible service led by the parish priest, Rev. Fr. Martin Badejo. The reflection was given by Rev. Fr. Anthony Abegunde on the theme of the pilgrimage, “The Family: A Credible Gospel for Our Community”. In the reflection Fr. Abegunde focused on the example of the Holy Family of Nazareth, in which everyone played the necessary role and especially the Blessed Virgin Mary who did not ever forget her self-dedication to the cause of human salvation, sacrificing her own human comfort to serve God as she bore and took care of Jesus till the end. He challenged the families in the parish to cultivate the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity for these are the means by which they can become credible gospels to their environment. He emphasised that the each family must be focused on living a life of prayer so that they can have a constant link with God and through which they will not find it hard to bond together as members of the same parish, thereby preaching the good news with all they have and are.
After the bible service at the Marian shrine, there was a procession with candles lit, while prayers. Marian hymns and other songs were sang in honor of the Blesssed Mother and in the praise of God. The procession was terminated in the church of St. Mary Magdalene, Tede where there were prayerful activities all through the night. The programme of activities through the night were rosary prayer led by the member of the Holy Childhood Association, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament led by Rev. Fr. Benedict Joshua, the Stations of the Cross led by Rev. Fr. Stephen Oguntoye, Penitential and Healing Service led by Rev. Fr. Peter Akinola, and the Divine Mercy prayers led by Anthony Elias. There was also a special session for catechesis during the night, with group discussions on the theme of the pilgrimage and further questions on some other doctrines of the Church. The pilgrimage was concluded in the morning with the Holy Mass in which Fr. Martin Badejo, delivered the homily encouraging everyone present to take the Blessed Virgin Mary home and do to her what the apostle John did to her after they left the foot of the cross. This according to him is a very good way to strengthen the bond within each family, for where the Blessed Mother is present and revered, faith hope and love always grows strong.
--- Report written by Joseph Adetayo, Raymond Ogunkunle and Bridget Adekunle
CYON OYO DIOCESE HOLDS DIOCESAN BEST TEAM SUMMIT
The Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) of Oyo Diocese organised the 2018 edition of her annual “Your Best Team Summit” a competitive program designed to improve the youths intellectually on Saturday 7th of July, 2018 at Saint Anne Catholic Church, Iganna, Oyo State.
The program had as contestants four representatives each from Awe, Iseyin, Ijio, Ogbomoso, Oyo and Saki Zones. The participants contested in three different segments. The first was the paper presentation on the topic “The Catholic Youth: The way towards co-responsibility for salvation”, the second was the debate question “In the light of contemporary challenges of self-acclaimed pastors, the Catholic Priesthood has become moribund: A fact or fantasy?” and the third was the off-paper presentations on topics picked by the contestants.
The Communications Director, Sr Eunice Olusola Ikufisile, OSF and Rev. Fr Matthew Ijuo the assistant Parish Priest of St Anne Catholic Church, Iganna were the judges of the Summit. Some of the things that were considered and judged included the diction, appearance, comportment, content, grammar etc.
The assistant Youth Chaplain and Zonal Coordinator of Awe, Rev. Fr John’Toye Olayiwola also made additional corrections on some of the errors made during the competition. All youths present were advised to continue training and developing themselves academically, intellectually and spiritually.
At the end of the Summit, Awe Zone came 1st with 85.3 points, followed by Ogbomoso Zone with 79.8 points and Iseyin with 77 points came 3rd. With 74.5 points Saki came 4th while Oyo and Ijio came 5th and 6th respectively with 66.8 points and 66.7 points. Certificates were awarded to the zones that took the first, second and third positions.
- Festus Oyelakin
OYO DIOCESE ORGANISES QUIZ COMPETITION FOR SCHOOLS
“Catholic education is above all a question of communicating, of helping to form Christ in the lives of others.” Pope John Paul II
In view of this, the Directorate of Religious Education of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo organized bible and religious education quiz competition for all Catholic primary and secondary schools within the diocese with the aim of encouraging both students and pupils to develop more interest in the bible and in religious educations matters. Also the program was designed to test students and pupils ability in our various Catholic schools on the knowledge of the bible and religious education matter.
The quiz competition was in two categories for both Primary and Secondary schools. The zonal completion was held in the various zones on the 20th of June, 2018 for both Primary and secondary simultaneously while the grand finale was on 27th June, 2018 at St Francis Atiba catholic Nursery and Primary School, Oyo and on 28th June,2018 at St Francis Catholic College, Oyo for both Primary and Secondary Schools respectively.
Speaking at the beginning of the event, the Director of Religious Education, Sr Mary Assumpta Taiwo, SSMA welcomed everybody and gave a brief introduction of the program and encouraged the participants to be open minded. She also encouraged the participants to always read their bibles constantly and to know more about the catholic doctrines.
The Primary and Secondary grand finale was moderated by the Director of Social Communications, Sr Eunice Ikufisile OSF who implored both the pupils and students to see the competition as healthy one and an avenue to learn about the bible and catholic faith and, also to learn from one another. At the end of the completion, St Joseph Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Iseyin came first, while Maryland Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Ogbomoso came second and St Francis Abiodun Atiba Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Oyo came third at the primary school level.
On the 28th of June at exactly 11:00am prompt, the grand finale competition for secondary schools started among 5 schools. St Mary Catholic Secondary School, Igbeti became first with 16 points while Christ the King Catholic College, Saki and St Francis Catholic College, Oyo came second and third respectively.
The winners were given cash prizes. Trophies were given to the schools who took 1st, 2nd and 3rd while the other contestants got consolation prizes.
In conclusion, Sr Mary-Assumpta Taiwo SSMA, the program coordinator and the Director of Religious Education commended the Bishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo for his support. She appreciated the efforts and sacrifices of all the schools management and staff; she equally thanked all the pupils and students for their active participations. In the same vein, she thanked the various donors for their financial contributions while also appreciating the presence and support of Social Communications office and the Youth Office.
HOLY FAMILY PARISH AT 10
History was made on Sunday 10th of June, 2018 as Holy Family Catholic Church, Iseyin, Oyo State - the baby which was conceived in 2008 by the then Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo in his dream of advancing the land into a befitting house of God while residing in Iseyin held its tenth year anniversary celebration.
While delivering the homily, Bishop Badejo in his appreciation to God for His mercies and benevolence shared the experience of how it all started with a 9-man committee who came together at the first inaugural meeting held on 15th March, 2008 at the Conference room of Corner Motel, Malete, Iseyin and with generous hearts, the members were able to realize about Seven hundred thousand naira (#700,000.00) for the establishment of the new church. The following Sunday, there were contributions from various people including children; I remember two children from the Adesokan family that contributed One hundred and fifty naira each.
The Prelate frankly opined that to set up a Catholic Church and make it survive is not an easy task as it is the work of the Holy Spirit. Although, the Holy Spirit has been given to everyone but not everyone bears the fruits. He praised the efforts and sacrifice of all those who have contributed to the growth and development of the church in the past 10 years.
The Holy Mass was followed by the Reception where the guests and parishioners were entertained by different presentations from the Holy Childhood, Bata dancers, cultural dancers, etc. Donations were made for the continued growth of the church and the cutting of the anniversary cake. Some individuals (priests, religious and lay faithful) who had worked previously and some who were still working in the parish were also given awards.
The activities marking the tenth anniversary celebration began with an opening mass on Wednesday 6th of June while Lecture on the Family: The Hope of Restoration of Peace in Nigeria came up on Thursday and delivered by Rev. Fr. Martin Diipo Badejo followed by Visitation to the Less Privileged on Friday 8th of June that led to the 10th Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass on Sunday 10th of June were some of the activities organized by the Parish to mark the anniversary.
Compiled by Johnpaul Bolaji & Festus Oyesakin