Posted on: 2018-01-15
Source: Fr. Martin Badejo

The thanksgiving Mass for the 47th Coronation Anniversary of the Alaafin of Oyo, His Imperial Majesty Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, was celebrated with so much joy as it deserved. The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Oyo, wore its usual bright and beautiful look, as the Alaafin with his entourage including the new Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams and many other kings and chiefs, were welcomed by Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo in the company of Rev. Fr. John Oyekunle, the Cathedral Administrator. At the Mass, the Bishop called the mind of the entire congregation to reasons why thanksgiving is always necessary for God’s creatures, especially for one like the Alaafin who still after 47 years on the throne is still able to recount how much God has done. He never failed to challenge the king that it is high time he spoke out more loudly for the unity of the Yoruba people and that he should use his position to call people in leadership positions in the country, to do the right things for which they have been elected. Among those present at the Mass of thanksgiving was the retired Methodist Archbishop, Ayo Ladigbolu. He gave kudos to the Catholic Church for her constant lead in the issues of faith and culture and proudly mentioned that Oyo is really taking the lead in the understanding of how faith is built into the culture. In his own words of appreciation, the Alaafin acknowledged the support of the Church since he was crowned the Alaafin of Oyo. He credited the Church for helping him to be a disciplined person, having grown up and trained in a Catholic school. He encouraged all, especially young people to take the Church seriously, for she is still one institution that never wanes in her speaking truth to power.


On a personal note, I wish to share this little reflection as a rider to the foregoing report. Useful for everyone, but directed especially to the youth. We live in times when there is so much mish-mash between faith and culture. Recent times have given birth to ideas in many young people and even adults who pitch tents on various extremes. Such extremes include on the one hand, a complete jettisoning of the Christian faith under the guise of going back to traditional beliefs, or on the other hand, a funny, baseless and rather sanctimonious condemnation of traditional religion while claiming that even Jesus will do that. Upon these premises we can raise some questions. Can we see the sense in what the Alaafin came to do at the Catholic Cathedral in Oyo? He decided to come to Church to have a thanksgiving for his coronation anniversary. Even though he is a Muslim, yet he has great respect for the Church.  Mind you, he chose to come to the Catholic Church. Here we can shed some light on the meaning of dialogue, and indeed as the Church puts it, Inter-Religious Dialogue. It furthers the respect between people through communication, meeting, discussion and even friendship, without prejudice to their beliefs. What has been reported above, is a fruit of continuous dialogue between faiths. I even dare to say, between particular persons in our Church (e.g. our bishop, some lay faithful e.t.c.) and the Alaafin himself, for which he continues to respect the Church. Indeed, here is a lesson for us all and especially for young people that we should seek to dialogue with one another rather than condemn. This will bear fruits.


One more thing. As evident in the picture reportage, we see the new Aare Ona Kakanfo also in Church, standing with the Alaafin to be blessed by the Bishop? That is a pointer to the fact that nothing else can compare with the blessings of the Most High God. Attention please...even His Imperial Majesty accepts this. I make bold to say that we can look at ourselves with some pride as Catholics and thank God for giving us the opportunity to belong to the fold. However, we should not stop at that. We must take up the challenge of growing in the faith. We should be proactive. Not minding the lack of depth in faith-understanding which surrounds us today, such which has increased the loose interpretation of the word of God and its impact on our society, we should continue to learn our Catholic faith, and thus be harbingers of truth anywhere we find ourselves. Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well. If we must be Catholics, then we must be conscientious and active. We must be a light bringing others to Christ. We ought to be Catholics the Lord himself can be proud of any day, anytime. Start off now.