“Many people have the misconception about the apostolate of of the religious, ‘they do nothing’ – some would say, being ignorant that they are the engine of the church… ” those were some of the words of the Local Ordinary of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo – Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo in his homily at the celebration of the World day of Consecrated Life which was also the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ at St. John the Baptist, Isalu, Iseyin on Sunday 2nd February, 2020.
The mass was celebrated by His Lordship, Most Rev Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo and con-celebrated by the Vicar of the Religious in the Diocese, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Eke CMF, the Parish Priest of St John the Baptist, Iseyin, Rev. Fr. Joseph Adejumo and that of St Georges Barracks, Iseyin, Rev. Fr. Benedict Joshua started at 10am.
Further in his homily, Bishop Badejo said, “February is recognized world wide as the month of love but now, it has been further recognized as the month of the supreme sacrificial love with the dedication of its 2nd day for the celebration of consecrated lives by Pope John Paul II in the year 1987, portraying the fact that the Religious have to live a life of total sacrifice and a life of glory ” with this, he tremendously commended the efforts of the consecrated lives in the history of the church, “their work cannot be overlooked even though many tend to be ignorant of their significance in the church and in the society at large” – he said.
“You are called to be the light in the world’s darkness through your services, relentless prayers and tolerance for all because it is not possible to serve God without losing something. You must be ready to serve Him with all its implications”, he continued. He told the religious that there is more to the call to their vocation other than teaching in schools, health care or community service but to device a means of being the light in the world most importantly the darkness in the heart of mankind being obvious that the darkness in the world has escaped into the heart of men with the present situation of our country and the world at large. Therefore, the light must be lit where it is needed though the human temptation might compel them to act according to their comfortability because they are not a picture but the icon of the church. Thus, an icon speaks to the people more than a picture does and tells more about what it represents.
To the congregation he said “we are all represented at the presentation of our lord Jesus Christ and by the virtue of our baptism, we have all been consecrated for God’s work, parents should try more in bringing their children closely to God for them to see and be drawn to the work of God. Charity begins from home, children should be brought up and guided in the way of the Lord while choosing their profession. Although there are many professions in life, but to have the deeper sense of God, we should be willing to sacrifice our lives and to do so, parental input is very essential. Prayer to St. Theresa of the child Jesus could be of help in drawing the hearts of young ones to the work of God”, he admonished.
Shortly after the homily, all the religious led by the Vicar for Religious proceeded to the altar where they made the renewal of consecration vows and after their thanksgiving, each congregation of the religious in the diocese -The Franciscan Sisters of Immaculate Conception (OSF), Sisters of Saints Michael the Archangel (SSMA), University Sisters of the Assumption (USOA), Sisters of St. Louis (SSL), The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), The Passionist Sisters of St. Paul of the cross, The Daughters of the Holy Spirit (DHS) and the Claretian Missionaries (CMF) spoke to the hearing of the congregation, their history, apostolate, their symbols of identification and requirements for joining in order to help any of the intending young ones in making their choices.
As part of the appreciation of the presence and the works of the religious in the diocese, the religious were received after the Holy Mass by the host parish in a love feast where they exchanged gifts among themselves and were entertained by the Ajobata Jesu cultural troupe of the parish, fishermen dance by the pupils of St Joseph School, Iseyin, Calabar dance by the members of the National Association of Catholic Corp Members (NACC), Ewi presentation by one of the Sisters of St Michael the Archangel (SSMA) and a cross congregational dance by some of the religious. The celebration was also graced by the Diocesan CWO President – Mrs Juliana Alade and some of the Diocesan CWO executives.
After the cutting of the cake with the Bishop, CWO, CMO, Youth, Children of Mary and Joseph and others, the Bishop again addressed the gathering and led the live band in the singing of melodius music that the religious, priests and all others danced to.