News : Bishop of Oyo Visits Save Land in Dassa-Zoumè Diocese of Republic of Benin

Posted on: 2014-12-25
Source: Fr. Peter Akinola

It was with great excitement that the Catholic community of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Save in Dassa Diocese of the Republic of Benin welcomed the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Ade' Badejo as he arrived with his entourage comprising of the Vicar General of the diocese in person of Rt. Rev. Msgr Emmanuel Bolaji Yakubu and two other priests of the diocese, Rev. Frs. Paul Olawoore and Peter Akinola, to the parish for the events marking the 90th anniversary of the parish.

In company of the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Arnauld Adjeran and other priests in the locality, the faithful greeted the arrival of the bishop with beautiful dancing steps and inspiring music as they led the Bishop's entourage into the parish church after the symbolic traditional rite of water pouring on the path of the August visitor, a sign that represents the people's heartfelt desire that the Bishop's visit should bring peace and blessings to the community.

In his welcoming speech, the parish priest on behalf of the faithful thanked the bishop for making it a day with them, pointing to the fact that the Yoruba speaking people of Save in Benin and those of Oyo, Nigeria are brothers of a common root and ancestry. In line with the Parish Priest, the Parish Council Chairman also thanked the Bishop for honouring their invitation as he traces the historical link between the people of Save and Oyo, which was geographically tampered with in the unwitty division of Africa by European colonial masters who did not put into cognition the historical bonds of the people and thereby created countries of strange bedfellows. After comes the address of a representative of the Nigerian community in Save who asked of the bishop to always remember them in prayers.

In his response, the bishop also thanked his hosts for the thoughtfulness of inviting him from Nigeria, an action that he said should signal the beginning of greater bonds between the two dioceses comprising of people of common historical descent. He thereafter prayed for the people and blessed their land.

After the short Church ceremony and a little refreshment, the bishop's entourage moved to the diocesan bishop's house at Dassa where Bishop Badejo met with the diocesan apostolic administrator before visiting the diocesan Marian Pilgrimage Centre. At the bishop's house, the diocesan administrator, Msgr. Benoit Goudote requests from the bishop of Oyo diocese for a greater collaboration between the two dioceses especially as it concerns the parishes at the boundary. After the visit to the Marian Pilgrimage centre, the bishop's entourage retired to bed in anticipation of the following day's programs.

The second day's activities began around 9:30am with a visit to St. George's parish, Kilibo after which followed visits to other parishes and churches in the environs. It was with great joy and in large crowds that the Catholic faithful of the visited communities came out to welcome the bishop into their midst. Apart from St. George's, other communities visited include St. Michael's Tisi, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Kokoro, St. Peter's Alaafia and Christ the King Catholic Church Kaboua where Mass was celebrated presided by the Bishop and concelebrated by all the priests of the environ. In the evening, as part of the program lined up, the bishop's entourage together with other visitors were treated to the entertaining Gelede dance to end the day. 

The 13th of December which also doubles as the 90th anniversary celebration's day of St. Joseph’s Save saw all legs trooping to the Parish for this historic celebration. The program for the day commenced with a Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Bishop of Oyo diocese. In his homily during the culturally animated celebration, Bishop Badejo expressed his delight for having been considered to be the chief celebrant in the anniversary celebration. He prayed that the anniversary would bring peace, joy and progress to the entire Save land. Furthermore, he admonished the people to be appreciative of God's goodness and to remember always the good works of those who sowed the seed of faith in Save land and not allow the flame of faith to grow dim. He thanked the priests and religious of Save land for the good works they are doing and asked the people not to look down on themselves as nobody is so small that God cannot use him or her for His glory, moreover it is the humble that the Lord exalts while He drives the rich away empty.

Continuing in his homily, the Bishop encouraged the faithful to allow themselves be prompted always by the aim of spreading God's kingdom of love and righteousness on earth and to be able to do this, he says faith, prayer and deeds of charity should not be found wanting in the lives of the people as these are the hallmarks of a true Christian life.

Present at the Mass are priests and religious of Save descent, Church and state dignitaries and many other faithful who came to appreciate God's goodness in the life of the community. After the Mass, the people were treated to a sumptuous entertainment.