News : Archbishop Abegunrin Receives the Pallium

Posted on: 2014-07-03
Source: Fr. Martin Badejo

The day received its brightness from the heavens as early as the fifth hour, and as the crowds trooped into the square of the St. Peter's Basilica, the joy of entering into the basilica to celebrate the Mass of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul carried with it lively, yet prayerful sentiments that the newly appointed Archbishops who will receive their palliums (pallia), will receive also, the courage to act more like the apostles whom they represent. Being a ceremony carried out on the 29th day of June, every year, the conferment of the palliums in 2014, witnessed the flavour and the special joy of the people of God from the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province (Nigeria). Most Rev. Gabriel 'Leke Abegunrin, the metropolitan of Ibadan Archdiocese, Nigeria, along with 23 other Archbishops were conferred with this symbol of the jurisdiction delegated to them by the Church, to be used in their ecclesiastical provinces.

In his homily, Pope Francis concentrated on reminding the prelates and indeed everyone present of the need to remain confident in The Lord. To the prelates he particularly said, "the witness of the apostle Peter reminds us that our true refuge is trust in God." He further stated that every security we need must be sought in The Lord and not in worldly powers, gratification or recognition. Stressing the fact that The Lord does not leave his messenger uncared for, the Holy Father noted that God's fidelity is always greater than our acts of infidelity and stronger than our acts of denial. This is the reason why he asks everyday, just in the same way he asked Peter, "do you love me?", and he further demands, "follow me."

The ceremony had a taste of a Nigerian tongue, as one of the intentions of the prayer of the faithful was rendered in Yoruba language. The liturgy was overwhelming, with the sonorous voices of the choir and the active response of the entire congregation giving a wonderful experience to all who were present.

Amidst many other cardinals, archbishops, bishops present, Francis Cardinal Arinze, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop Emeritus Felix Job, Bishop Emeritus Francis Alonge and Bishop Emmanuel Badejo were quite prominent. With priests numbering up to five hundred, about a hundred represented Nigeria and Ibadan Ecclesistical Province to be specific. Worthy of mention are the members of the lay faithful who also were in attendance from Ibadan Archdiocese, Osogbo diocese and Oyo diocese. Some people also came from the United Kingdom and the United States of America to rejoice with the new Archbishop.

After the Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, a brief reception was held in honour of Archbishop Abegunrin at the Collegio San Paolo, Roma. It featured speeches, dance and song presentations and those who were in attendance had a light refreshment.