It was a very bright day which rose with an early morning sun shining brightly on the entire community of Shaki town the headquarters of Shaki West Local Government area in Oyo State. The beautiful presence of the Lord was felt in a very special way in this community as on the 15 day of March, 2020, the entire members of St. Lawrence’s Catholic Parish gathered with other Catholics in the town to celebrate the blessing of the new tabernacle and the new Marian grotto at the parish.
The Holy Mass began at 8.30am with the Catholic bishop of Oyo diocese as the chief celebrant and assisted by Very Rev. Fr. Michael Onyeneke Eke, the parish priest of St. Lawrence.
In his homily Bishop Emmanuel Badejo stressed that the presence of the Lord is the soul of every Christian community. Hence every community which has the opportunity to have a tabernacle installed and blessed for the repose of the body of Christ must remain eucharistic in every aspect. According to the prelate, St. Lawrence Parish in Shaki is lucky to have a focused parish priest, Parish Council, and various committees, especially the building committee who have worked tirelessly to see such growth and development in the community in recent times. He exhorted all the members to keep being generous with their time, energy and treasure, so as to make sure that the parish will continue to growth spiritually and physically. The evidence of God’s kindness which is made manifest in the work of the Priests in the parish with the cooperation of all the parishioners must not be taken for granted. He made it clear that it is not a coincidence that the tabernacle of the church and the Marian grotto are being blessed and commissioned on the same day. This affirms the fact that the mother and her son are inseparable, and indeed, the mother leads us to her son. He charged everyone especially the youth to create time to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and his mother at the grotto.
With the blessing of the new tabernacle done during the Mass and the blessing with the commissioning of the Marian grotto done immediately after the Mass, the joy in the hearts of the parishioners was visible on their faces as they sang sonorously and danced joyfully. Speaking at the celebration, the Parish Priest Very Rev Fr. Michael Eke thanked the Bishop for making out time to come and bless the tabernacle and the grotto. He appreciated the efforts and cooperation of his assistant, Rev. Fr. Anthony Anyawike and all the parishioners especially the building committee members. He did not fail to mention that the grotto was donated by one person who has never even visited Shaki, yet believes that kindness to the Church, the body of Christ must be taken seriously. Also present at the celebration was Rev. Fr. Martin Badejo, the parish priest of St. Mary Magdalene, Tede and Rev. Fr. Augustine Olayiwola, the Parish Priest of Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Shaki.