Posted on: 2015-01-18
Source: Comms Dept, Oyo Diocese

From every nook and crannies of the Catholic Dioceses of Oyo and Osogbo, came together the Christ Faithful on the 9th of January, 2014 at Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral, Asogo, Oyo, to honour and pray for the repose of the souls of the Four Missionaries who worked assiduously in the land, sowing the seed of faith. These etched in mind and focused missionaries are: Rev. Fr. Leo Delemarre M. Afr., Rev. Fr. P. Oskar Genatowski M. Afr., Sr. Mary Raphael Swan O.S.F and Sr. Mary Emmanuel Gallagher O.S.F.  

At the memorial Mass which was presided over by His Grace, Archbishop Gabriel 'Leke Abegunrin, the Metropolitan See of Ibadan, were present, the Chief Host, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo, Most Rev. Dr. Julius Babatunde Adelakun, the bishop emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, the Missionary of Africa priests (Rev. Frs. Erasto and James Nghayi) and brothers, 38 priests from within and outside the Diocese, the male and female religious and the lay faithful.

The homilist at the memorial Mass, Rt Msgr Emmanuel Bolaji Yakubu, making the book of Ezra his starting point, established that the celebration is that of the meeting point of the old and the new. Recounting the memorable achievements of these great missionaries in the areas of pastoral engagements, catechesis, education and health, he attributed them all to their singleness of purpose, focused mindedness and perfect division of labour. Rev. Fr. Leo Delemarre he said, worked as parish priest in many parts of the old Oyo Diocese (Ilesa, Otan-Ayegbaju, Ijio, Inisa, Iseyin, Saki, Iganna and Ede), and helped to establish and build some churches and was involved in grass root evangelization. Fr. Delemarre he added, was a Director of Religious Education for many years. Rev. Fr. P. Oskar Genatowski on his part while in the Diocese did pastoral work is several parishes (Iganna, Otan-Ayegbaju, Oloruntedo etc). He is being described as a calm and discrete pastor. Eulogizing Sr. Mary Raphael Swan however, Msgr E. B. Yakubu said she was a great educationist as her works at Oyo, Ilesa, and Osogbo are still testifying to this. Educating the communities, she served as headmistress of St. Clare's Nursery & Primary School, Osogbo, she also started the Continuing Education Centre, Osogbo (CECO) and Our Lady and St. Francis Catholic College, Osogbo. Sr. Mary Emmanuel Gallagher who arrived in Osogbo in 1962, the homilist said, was the first matron of Our Lady of Fatima hospital, Jaleyemi for twenty four years, a very homely and down-to-earth woman. Sr. Mary Emmanuel Gallagher according to the homilist was truly loving and accommodating, saved many abandoned children and put smiles on the faces of many people. Due to her contribution to the development of health care in Osogbo and the surrounding areas, 'Iya Immanu' as she was popularly called was installed with the chieftaincy title of 'Iya Abiye' of Osogbo, by the then Ataoja on the 3rd of December, 1982. The homilist concluded by inviting all and sundry present, to dry the hay while the sun shines, to imitate these fathers and mothers in faith to establish God's kingdom on earth.

At the Mass, the chief celebrant, Archbishop Gabriel 'Leke Abegunrin and the chief host, Most Revd Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo recounted their own personal encounters with each of these late great missionaries and how that helped in their own formation in life. They prayed that their gentle souls may continue to rest in Abraham's bosom. In appreciation of the organization of the memorial Mass arranged by the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Sr Cecilia Adaji (the representative of the Franciscan sisters) and Rev. Fr. James Nghayi (the representative of the white Fathers) rendered their heartfelt gratitude.  

Just after the Mass, there was a short reception in Bishop Adelakun's hall which was concluded with closing prayer and benediction by His Grace, Most Revd Gabriel 'Leke Abegunrin.