The Holy Father, Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Fr. Joseph Olawale Ogundipe, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria among six new consultors to the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCDI). Rev. Fr. Ogundipe, until his appointment was the Director of the Interreligious Dialogue Commission (IRDC) of Oyo diocese. The news of the appointment was received on March 9, 2020.
The appointment letter which was joyfully delivered by Most Reverend Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Bishop of Oyo Diocese reads in part: “I have the honour and pleasure to send you here enclosed, the document by which you are informed that the Holy Father has appointed you, for a period of five years, as Consultor to the Commission for Relations with Muslims”.
“As you know, the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus on the Roman Curia (1988) makes provision for this Commission within the ambit of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, under the guidance of the President of that Council. The Commission normally meets once a year and the agenda provides for communications from individual Consultors on the situation of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations in their respective countries. The principal purpose of the Commission is to provide time for reflection on the Church’s relations with Muslims”.
After delivering the letter of appointment to Fr. Ogundipe, Bishop Badejo congratulated him for the commitment and initiative with which he has so far served in Oyo diocese especially in the field of interreligious relations. He then urged him to do more to justify the confidence with which the Pope Francis has appointed him to the exalted position. Many priests of Oyo Diocese who were present at the joyous moment rejoiced with and prayed for Fr. Ogundipe that he may be granted wisdom and humility to give a good account of himself in the new position.
Born on August 19, 1976, Rev Fr. Ogundipe attended Baptist Primary School, Koso-Iseyin and St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Isalu-Iseyin, both in Oyo State, Nigeria. For his Secondary Education, he attended St. John’s Grammar School, Isalu-Iseyin and St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary, Oke-Are, Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. He had his Priestly formation at St. Peter’s Spiritual year Seminary, Eruku, Kwara State and the Seminary of All Saints, Ekpoma, Edo State. He was ordained on 11/ 08/2007 by Most Rev. Julius Babatunde Adelakun (Emeritus Bishop of Oyo Diocese) and has worked in a number of parishes in Oyo Diocese, especially at St Theresa Parish Ijio where he earned a community award for his effort in interreligious harmony and conflict resolution. He holds a B.A in Philosophy from the University of Benin, Edo State, B.Th. from the Pontifical Urban University, Rome: Diploma in Arabic Studies from Dar Comboni, Cairo, Egypt; and a Licentiate in Arabic and Islamic Studies from PISAI, Rome. He is currently the Chaplain of St. Thomas Moore Catholic Chaplaincy, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria and will continue his assignment as Director of the Ecumenical and Intereligious Dialogue Commission for the Diocese of Oyo.
IRDC was revived by Bishop Emmanuel Badejo in 2008, as one of the organs of evangelization in Oyo Diocese owing to the fact that the diocese sits in the midst of a majority Muslim population, Christians of other denominations and adherents of ATR. Fr Joseph Ogundipe was appointed director in 2008 by the Bishop and he has been working under the guidance of the Bishop and with diocesan priests, Religious and lay members of the IRDC as committee members. He was given a title, Okanlomo Agbesinga of Ijio in the year 2012 as a sign of appreciation of his work in St Teresa Parish, Ijio. He has organized several local and international conferences on dialogue with the support of the Bishop. He likes meeting people and reading, and has authored many books on religious freedom and harmony like Religious Freedom: the Challenges of our time and Searching in the Shadow.
Sr Eunice Olusola Ikufisile OSF
Director of Social Communications
Catholic Diocese of Oyo