The Catholic Diocese of Oyo on the 18th of September 2020 welcomed a new religious congregation, the Oblates of St Joseph, to the diocese to collaborate in the pastoral work and the mission of the Church. The entourage of five priests of the congregation was led by the Provincial Superior of the congregation, Fr Ethelbert Arua, OSJ. They were warmly received by the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo in his office.
In his words of welcome, Bishop Badejo said it is a thing of joy that your congregation is now coming to set its foot on the soil of Oyo diocesan and to work with us. Two priests have been assigned to the diocese, Rev Fr Benjamin Ogar who hails from Ikom in Cross River State and Fr Raphael James Udeme who hails from Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.
The Congregation of the Oblates of St Joseph has been in contact with the Oyo Diocese for a number of years. It was founded in 1878 by St Joseph Marello and arrived in Nigeria in 1990. Their formation house is in Ibadan. Incidentally, Bishop Emmanuel Badejo has ordained a number of their candidates to the sacred orders in the last ten years. One of the indigenous sons of Oyo Diocese, Fr Stephen Adedeji who hails from St Mary Magdalene Parish, Tede was also ordained as a priest of the Oblates of St Joseph in 2019.
After they were welcomed to the Diocese at the Bishops Office, the Diocesan Pastoral Secretary, Rev. Fr Benjamin Jolasun acquainted them with some of the Diocesan policies and major events in the Diocese. They were then accompanied by their Provincial Superior to their place of assignment.. For now, they will work in the Ogbomoso area of the diocese while they get used to the diocese, the terrain and also the method and strategies of pastoral work in our diocese, the Bishop had said.
The Local Ordinary also expressed his gladness at the beauty of religious congregations in the church which is their international universal character that makes it possible for anybody from anywhere to work in any place where the Church has need for them as a sign of the Churchs universality which shows that the church is a family of God irrespective of tribe, ethnicity or background.
In the correspondence containing the short profile of the two priests, the Provincial Superior of the congregation, Fr Ethelbert Arua, OSJ assured the Bishop of continuous commitment to the service of God in the apostolate to be entrusted to the confreres by the local church and prayed that God should keep them faithful to the mission entrusted to them.
Speaking about his hope and expectation, the Bishop also added; Fortunately, the two priests are young, they were ordained just a few years ago and so we are hoping that they will have a great impact on the life of our youths. They will have a lot of interest in our young people and will also be another dimension, another type of model for our young people to follow and hopefully they will also engender vocations among our people as Fr. Stephen Adedeji has joined them.