Posted on: 2013-11-17
Source: Communications Dept., Oyo Diocese

The celebration of Holy Mass which took place at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, Asogo, Oyo, began at about 10:15 am; the Mass was introduced by Rt. Rev. Msgr. E.B. Yakubu, the Chief Celebrant. After the first reading (Isiah 7:10-16), the Pslam (Ps 16), and The Second Reading (Romans 1:1-7), the Gospel was taken by Rev. John Olayiwola from the Holy Gospel according to Mathew 1:18-24 and this was immediately followed by the homily.
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Francis Adesina, The Rector, SS Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Ibadan said that the celebration of today has two-fold character namely: (1) thanking God for the gift of faith and the year of faith and (2) the birthday of Msgrs. Emmanuel Yakubu and Anthony Olawumi.
He added that the year of faith was introduced by Pope Benedict XVI in the encyclical “Portal Fidei” released in October 11, 2011. The year of faith actually began in October 11, 2012 and officially ends on the Solemnity of Christ the King, November 24, 2013. For the homilist, the celebration of these our fathers in faith not just mark the end of the year of faith but also the gift of their lives and the gift of their Priesthood.
All the three readings direct our attention to our Faith. In the Gospel, Joseph the husband of Mary is presented to us as an icon of faith. The Scripture sees him as a just man, because he never wanted to disgrace Mary following what was written in Deut. 22:23-24. Faith grows and matures in anyone who loves and who makes sacrifices for others. Rather than counting many events in this year of faith, what he said we should do is “to ask ourselves how deep and strong is our faith? How many lost Catholics have I brought back? There is no retirement in the work of salvation of soul.”
In the second reading, St. Paul, the apostle and evangelizer spoke freely about his relation with Jesus Christ. He said his faith was a gift from God and he does not worth it. This his faith he celebrated in Rom. 8:36-39 “ ... For your sake we are in danger of death at all times...who will separate us from the love of God? ... There is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours though Jesus our Lord.” How many of us can say in this year of faith before God and man that nothing can separate us from the love of God and Holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith? St. Paul is a true model.
The first reading teaches us how not to behave. This is to say that God does not need faith pretenders like King Ahaz. God wants people like Abel (Gen 4), Noah (Gen. 6), Abraham (our father in Faith), Enoch, Joseph (husband of Mary) and St. Paul. Ahaz, the king is weak and in need of help; he asks God to help him yet he did not believe the word of God through Prophet Isaiah. He pretended to be humble but God who sees the heart of all made a promise. The Good News is that “what Ahaz, the king of Judah forfeited, God made true in the Mary’s fiat” (Lk. 1:38). Emmanuel, the sign given to Ahaz is our strength. When God is with us, who can be against us?
“To the celebrants, the Psalmist says ‘our life span is seventy and eighty for those who are strong’. You have served the Lord for seventy years and we join you to thank God and wish you long life”, said Fr. Adesina. 70 is simply in the Bible the combination of two perfect numbers:7 and 10. It is a sign of completeness, wholeness and perfection. 70 is a sign of consolation and peace of mind.
He concluded his homily by praying for the celebrants that God who has called them and helped them to this stage in life will continue to uphold them and bless them in His vineyard.
There was a general thanksgiving to God, led by the celebrants and the bishops, the Priests, Religious and lay faithful also joined them in thanking the Almighty God. The Bishop Emeritus, Julius Babatunde Adelakun prayed for them at the thanksgiving.
Also present was the Emeritus Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Rev Dr. Felix Alaba Job, represented by Very Rev. Fr. Felix Ethapemi and the Archbishop of Ibadan, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel Abegunrin, represented by Rev. Frs Thomas Popoola and Augustine Olayiwola. Other Priests from outside Oyo Diocese, the Traditional Rulers present, and other state officials, were introduced. The event was also attended by members of CAN, Oyo State, Christian Brigade from Ibadan and Islamic Religious leaders.
After the vote of thanks by Msgr. Anthony Akinola Olawumi, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo thanked all and sundry for making this day a success. He reminded us that in this year of faith, we had our Oke Maria pilgrimage, Bishop Adelakun’s 40th Episcopal Anniversary, the 50th anniversary celebration of the Diocese, the 25th anniversary of first profession of 3 of our Religious Sister’s and now we conclude with what the homilist, Fr. F. Adesina called “Perfect Number”.
After the Mass, a brief reception took place at the Bishop Adelakun hall in the Cathedral Compound.