Bishop JULIUS BABATUNDE Adelakun celebrates 50 years of Episcopacy
It was with joy and a grateful heart that the Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Rev. Julius Babatunde Adelakun with priests, Religious, members of the Bishop Adelakun Foundation and the lay faithful gathered to celebrate his 50 years of Episcopal Ordination on Saturday, 11th February, 2023 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Bishop Adelakun Area, Oyo.
Monsignor Emmanuel Yakubu during the homily relayed how fervently the Bishop has worked in the past years which is bearing fruits now. He recalled how back then, Bishop Adelakun was so determined to have Oyo Diocese carved out of Osogbo Diocese and how he did not hesitate when he was given the option by the Pope to come down to Oyo. According to the preacher, Bishop Adelakun was so selfless that he chose to start the new Oyo Diocese, in spite of the meagre resources available to him in the face of the huge duty of evangelization.
Monsignor Yakubu said that the dream of this present Oyo Diocese was brought to reality in the year 1995 when it was approved by the Pope John Paul II, as Osogbo Diocese was carved out. Hence, with just 5 priests, Bishop Adelakun left everything at Osogbo and came down to Oyo to commence the work of evangelization in earnest, which has indeed produced fruits. As at today, the diocese has well over 50 priests, many religious working in the diocese, 35 seminarians in formation, many Catechists, some primary and secondary schools, among other things to be thankful for. For Monsignor Yakubu, these show that God can use anyone and can grow his work as long as we cooperate with him. This is what the life of Bishop Julius Adelakun has taught us.
The celebrant, Most Rev. Julius Babatunde Adelakun was thankful as he joyfully asked the congregation to join him in singing a song of praise to God who has brought him thus far. He thanked God for the gift of life and especially for the grace of a long life. He recalled that he was just 38 years old with 8 years of experience as a priest, when he was called to be a bishop. He said that he was only a young bishop in 1971 and God kept him through thick and thin.
He expressed his thanks to God for his family. He made it clear that his mother, was a Moslem until his priestly ordination when she was converted to Catholicism. Coming from a poor family, fathered in a polygamous family, he was grateful to God for counting him worthy of the gift of priesthood. He then made a point that God does not work in the ways humans do and it is only Him that makes one worthy of the vocation as he is not better than any other person outside the vocation.
Baba Adelakun as he is fondly called, registered his heartfelt gratitude to everyone who found time to celebrate with him. He implored all and sundry to help and support his intention in seeing to the care of the physically challenged, the blind, deaf and dumb, which include their upbringing and education and also the care for the widows through the Bishop Adelakun Foundation (BAF). He sought out for more people to join, prayed that God would bless everyone with good health in body, mind and soul.
Mr. Anthony Femi Adetoro, a prominent member of BAF appreciated the effort of those who were present and buttressed that the foundation needs help from everyone with just a contribution of a thousand naira or more in a year to support the good work.
The Mass which was celebrated by Monsignor Anthony Olawumi was concelebrated by the Vicar General of the Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Francis Femi Oladipo representing the Bishop, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, who was away at the meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. Also present were Monsignor Emmanuel Yakubu, the Deans of Oyo and Ogbomoso Deanery, Very Rev. Frs Boniface Wuraola and Samson Ojo respectively with some priests within the axis of Oyo Deanery.
At the end of the Mass, the message of the Holy Father Pope Francis from the Vatican City on the occasion of the 50th Year Episcopal Ordination Anniversary of His Lordship, Most Rev. Julius Adelakun was officially read to the celebrant and the congregation by Rev. Fr. Samson Ojo. Notable it is that the anniversary has been put in view to be celebrated in a grand style in June 2023 as Oyo Diocese would also celebrate the 60th anniversary of her erection.
– Felicia BABAJIDE