Posted on: 2013-12-09
Source: Communications Dept., Oyo Diocese

e give thanks to Almighty God the Father of us all as all roads went to Tede on Friday, 6th December, 2013 for the Oyo Diocesan annual pilgrimage at the Marian shrine, Tede in ATISBO Local Government of Oyo State. The Catholic faithful in Oyo Diocese and beyond, non-Catholics and many non-Christians were present for this pilgrimage and God indeed made wonders in the life of many through the intercession of the Blessed Mother Mary.
The Catholic bishop of Oyo, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin (the Archbishop elect of Ibadan Archdiocese), priests, religious and people of God gathered for the opening ceremony of the pilgrimage at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, Tede.
The opening ceremony of the pilgrimage started with the service and during this service, the preacher, Rev. Fr. Michael Falade said that Mary our Mother was the first Evangelizer following the theme of this year’s pilgrimage (MARY, MOTHER EVANGELIZER). Being the first evangelizer, after receiving the Good News from Angel Gabriel, went as quickly as possible to share that joy with Elizabeth; she introduced the couples at the wedding in Cana to Jesus and interceded for them, she shared the passion of Jesus with him to the point of death and she whom was full of grace was present with the disciples at the upper room to receive the fullness of the Holy spirit. To conclude his reflection, he quoted the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his homily of the Mass celebrated with Evangelizer on the 16th October, 2011 to tell us what we can learn from Mary as evangelizers that “...May the Virgin Mary, who was not afraid to answer “yes” to the Word of the Lord, and, after having conceived Him in her womb, went out full of joy and hope, always be your model and your guide. Learn from the Mother of the Lord to be humble and at the same time brave, simple and prudent; balanced and strong, not with the force of the world, but with that of truth. Amen.”
The Catholic bishop of Oyo, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Badejo welcomed all to the pilgrimage. He welcomed and congratulated His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel Abegunrin, the Archbishop of Ibadan. He congratulated the Emeritus Bishop of Oyo, Baba Adelakun for the pilgrimage as well as all the priests, religious, the king of Tede Oba Abdulrauf Oladoyin (Onitede of Tede Land) who was represented by the group of chiefs and the people of God present.
On behalf of the King, the high chief Muritala Adekunle (the Agoro of Tede Land) welcomed all to Tede land and said “we thank the Catholic Church for the developmental work the Church is doing in Oyo diocese and in the world at large”. He prayed that God will continue to bless His Church.
The blessing of the candles for procession was given by Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin after which the procession to evangelise the town started and ended at the hill of the shrine.
Arriving at the hill of the pilgrimage called “Oke Maria” (The Hill of Mary), the order of the blessing of the new Marian Grotto was introduced by Most Rev. Dr. E. A. Badejo while Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel Abegunrin gave the blessing. After the blessing of the Grotto, archbishop Abegunrin congratulated the Catholic Diocese of Oyo for the many works of development that are ongoing at the pilgrimage centre and added that God has actually blessed and answered all our prayers.
There was a short break and after the break, the prayers at the shrine continued as the children of Mary and Joseph led the prayer of the Rosary with Marian hymns after each decade by the choir. This was followed by the penitential service led by Rev. Fr. Paul Olawoore. The following readings were taken before the reflection: Ex. 9: 27-35; Ps. 51:10-13 and Lk. 15:11-24. Then the individual confession followed.
The healing service followed the Individual confession and it was led my Rev. Fr. Michael Isola. The readings were Is. 53:1-5 and Mk. 16:15-20 and the reflection was taken by Fr. Solomon Oke followed by the blessing of the oil by all the priests present and then, people were anointed.
Furthermore, Benediction (Adoration of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament) was led by Rev. Fr. Jude Awua, followed by the Stations of the Cross, led by Fr. Michael Oyedare and the USOA Sisters.
The pilgrimage was concluded in the following day with the celebration of the Holy Mass of the Immaculate conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin as the Chief celebrant. The readings for the Mass were from Gen. 3:9-15, 20; Ps 97; Eph. 1:3-6. 11-12; Lk. 1:26-38 (from the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
In his homily, Bishop Ade Badejo, the Bishop of Oyo Diocese, said “What else can we say to God than to say Thank you for given us a fruitful and successful pilgrimage.” He then thanked God for Baba Adelakun (the Emeritus Bishop) for joining us for another pilgrimage and Archbishop Abegunrin for joining us at this first pilgrimage since his new appointment.
In addition, he said “today, we are meditating around the theme: Mary, Mother and Evangelizer”. Being a Mother and being an Evangelizer are synonyms because a mother will always say good things about her children. There are three levels of motherhood: (1) mother that gave birth (2) the kind of mother we see in the religious which reminds us that it is possible to be childless but not barren (3) someone said to Jesus, “Blessed is the womb that bore you” and in another place, “your mother is looking for you” and the reply of Jesus to both cases was “more blessed are those who do the will of God” and also that “those who do the will of God are my mother”. It is possible for a man to be a mother if he does the will of God. These three levels of motherhood are seen in Mary. God has given us Mary as Mother and as Evangelizer. All of us as evangelizers should become transformers of our society (to change the face of the society to God).
After the reception of Holy Communion and the Post Communion prayer, there was a general thanksgiving as people danced forward with what they had to give thanks to God for His abundant mercy and blessings received during this year’s Oke-Maria Pilgrimage. The blessing and burning of Intentions was done by Fr. John Oyekunle after which, the Bishop appreciated all those who made the preparations and participated actively: the committee, the Engineers in charge of the grotto and power supply, the person who built the new Marian Status, Rev. Srs. in charge of decoration, the choir, Catechists, Prayer leaders, Alter Servers and all who devoted their time, energy and wealth for the success of this pilgrimage. He added that the grotto is a place of prayer and people should come always to pray there and if they are with a priest, Mass can be celebrate there.
The Blessing of water and religious articles was done by Rev. Fr. John-Paul Olaniran followed by the Final blessing by His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Lele Abegunirin and all departed with joy and gladness to their various places.