Posted on: 2017-05-22
Source: Comms Dept, Oyo Diocese

One of the distinguished beauties of the Catholic worship is honouring of the most highly blessed and favoured Virgin Mary our Mother. This was brought to limelight again as the Bishop, priests, Religious and the entire Lay Faithful from the nooks and crannies of the Diocese came together to formally kick-start the Marian Year and the Centenary – Year – commemoration of Our Lady’s Apparitions at Fatima in Portugal.    

Prior to this prayerful overnight gathering from Friday 19th – Saturday 20th of May, 2017 at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Maryland, Ogbomoso, daily recitation of rosary and novena prayers in honour of Our Lady of Fatima and success of the inaugural ceremony were said in all the parishes in the Diocese.

The historic event in the Diocese with the theme: And Mary said: ‘They have no wine’ – John 2:3 started at the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso – Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade III who gladly gave his royal support and gave his welcome address through his representative High Chief S.S. Otolorin – the Are-Ago of Ogbomoso. At the palace, powerful reflection on the topic: The Significance of Marian Year and the best way to honour Mary was given by Rev. Fr. Joseph Ogundipe – the chaplain of St. Thomas More Catholic chaplaincy, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso.

Moreso, prayer petitions for restoration of peace in our troubled country and eventual re-consecration of Nigeria to Immaculate Heart of Mary followed. The Local Ordinary of the Diocese, Most Revd Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo addressed all, stating the significance of the celebration and the role played by our Mother Mary in the economy of salvation. He thereafter blessed the wreaths/flowers presented purposely by the different groups in the Church, the candles and the Marian Year statue of our Lady of Fatima. The entire faithful embarked on a solemn and prayerful candle-light procession, singing, rejoicing, honouring Mary and flagging their banners along the road, to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Maryland, Ogbomoso. At the grotto in the venue was a reverent laying of garland, wreaths and flowers around the neck and at the feet of the statue of our Mother Mary by the representatives of the children of Mary and Joseph, youths, CWO, CMO, Legion of Mary, St. Anthony of Padua, Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Sacred Heart, Religious and Priests. 

The all night celebration further featured rosary prayer, talks on the event and message of Fatima and the role of Mary in the economy of salvation and the human history, penitential service/confessions, special musical renditions by different groups, congregational singing of Marian anthems and hymns, drama presentations, blessing with oils and anointing, Exposition of the blessed sacrament, meditation and adoration, Divine Mercy prayer, blessing of articles and intentions and Holy Mass during which the Marian Year Prayer was recited by all.

In his homily during the Inaugural Mass, the Bishop exhorted the priests, religious and the lay faithful to deepen their devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in this Marian Year and beyond. He further enjoined all and sundry to pray more for peace in the world and our country Nigeria as corruption is already eating deep into the fabrics of every sector. He reiterated the lack of wine – lack of fundamental things - lost of the sense of shame, sins, hatred, peace etc in the world and the need to seek for the intercession of our Mother Mary. He connected the work of the Holy Spirit with the faithfulness of our Mother Mary and called on all to constantly beg God for His outpouring. He urged all to pray the rosary daily for peace in the world and to do penance. He emphasised that this ceremony is inaugural as the celebration continues in the Diocese till December 2017 at Oke Maria, Tede.

Present at the ceremony were the King of Ogbomoso ably represented by High Chief S.S. Otolorin, Priests, deacon and religious in the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Mathias Agossou from Dassa Diocese, Benin Republic and well wishers.

It was indeed a spirit-filled occasion as there was a large turnout. It was a remarkable celebration as the entire faithful had a special encounter with Our Mother Mary as there was a short time but heavy down pour.