ISEYIN DEANERY IN OYO DIOCESE HOLDS FAMILY CONGRESS
The Catholics in Iseyin Deanery in the Catholic Diocese of Oyo gathered recently for a Family Congress on Friday 10th February and Saturday 11th February, 2023. The programme which focused on gathering families together to affirm that Family Love is a Vocation and Path to Holiness, had over 120 families in attendance, sharing experiences, learning from one another, listening to discussions from experts and encouraging faithfulness and consistency in the marriage vocation. It took place at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Isalu, Iseyin. All the parishes in the deanery, consisting of St. John the Baptist, Isalu, Iseyin, St. George’s, Barracks, Iseyin, St. Cecilia’s, Otu, St. Julius, Oke Idaho, Iseyin, Holy Family, Iseyin, and St. John Paul the Great, Odo Aran, Iseyin, with numerous outstations participated in the programme.
Giving the Opening Remarks, on the first day of the Congress, Rev. Fr. Martin Badejo, the Dean of Iseyin Deanery, expressed that the family today needs the testimony of true witnesses. He said, it appears that the joy of the so many families who are making the effort to stay true to the tenets of true family life is being drowned in the noise of a world which seeks to projects itself in selfishness. As such, it is important to give kudos to such families who day by day commit themselves to the ideals of the vocation. He further stressed that the “gospel of the family” is a valid reality which needs to be proclaimed more than before, always keeping in mind that family life is a place where “mercy and faithfulness” meet (Psalm 85:10). In other words, it is a place of the presence of God.
The participants listened to a talk titled, “Understanding Each Other in Marriage: A Major Factor for Family Coexistence”. This was delivered by Mr. Augustine Ogunkunle and Mrs. Patricia Bilewomo. The speakers handled the talk from the viewpoint of a husband and a wife in the home. A group discussion took place after the talk, which enabled the participants to understand better and contribute their own ideas to the discussion. This was followed by a session for questions and answers. The moderator at the session, Rev. Fr. Anthony Adepoju commended the effort of those present at the Congress.
The second day of the programme began with a time set out for health check, where all those present had the opportunity to have their blood pressure checked, while the families had counselling sessions with the priests, religious and some experienced family counsellors. Then followed, another talk delivered by Dr. Oluwadamilare Adenekan with the title, “Identifying Depression / Suicide Traits: Effects on Family Life, Prevention and Cure.” The speaker opened the eyes and minds of the participants to the reality of depression, which often results from persistent and unchecked sadness. He made clear that a lot of those who suffer the problem of depression develop it from family challenges, either as husbands, wives, or even children. He mentioned the traits associated with depression such as withdrawal, lack of interest in what the person used to take interest in, to mention a few. Dr. Adenekan explained how depression could be prevented and its cure. After the talk, the speaker, with Rev. Sr. Cecilia Olusanya SSL who moderated the session, entertained questions from the Congress participants, many of which showed that the discussion was an eye opener for them.
The families supped together. They also had other activities and attractions such as bonding games for couples. There was also a question and answer session on Marriage as a Sacrament and a Covenant, aimed at discouraging polygamy and encouraging faithfulness in marriage. The Holy Mass, a special prayer session and the renewal of marriage vows, also formed part of the programme.
Other Priests and Reverend Sisters present at the Congress were, Rev. Frs. Joachim Alade, Benjamin Ogar OSJ (the Congress Planning Committee Chairman), James Ralph Udeme OSJ, Lawrence Afolabi, with Rev Srs. Teresa Peter SSL, Augusta Ozor SSL, and Ruth Orunpegan SSL. It was evident that the families went home happier than they came. The testimonies shared attest to this reality. Truly the family is the seed bed for good human and Christian formation.