By Fr. Anthony Adetayo

Cross section of Priests and Religious

Since 1997, Pope Saint John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd. This Feast is also known as Candlemas Day; the day on which candles are blessed symbolizing Christ who is the light of the world. So too, those in consecrated life are called to reflect the light of Jesus Christ to all peoples.

In the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, this feast was celebrated this year 2022 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Ogbere Ijebu beginning with the Holy Mass. Religious, both Male and Female from various congregations were there in huge number in various habits. The Priests also graced the occasion led by the Bishop. who was ably represented by the Vicar General, Very Rev. Msgr. Victor Ajayi.

The homilist, Rev. Fr. Eusebius Obasi MSP addressed the theme from three perspectives; Being present to God, being present to the community of our religious vocation, being present to the Diocese. “To be present is to be in connection with the author of our vocation without whom we can do nothing. If this connection is not there, if care is not taken we become mere social workers”

At the presentation moment, many Religious brought their different gifts like fruits and natural object as symbols of their dedication to God. All the consecrated Persons present said the prayer for consecration to Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Vicar for Religious, Very Rev. Fr. Tunde L. Alabi CSSp appreciated all who contributed to the success of the day’s activities. He thanked the Bishop of the Diocese ably represented by the Vicar General. He particularly mentioned that he was amazed to see the cooperation the Religious received from the Priests as huge number of them came out to celebrate the Religious.

There was a reception at the end of the Holy Mass where Religious were entertained with cultural display and light refreshment. The Vicar for Pastoral, Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Balogun delivered the message titled ‘The mind of the Bishop.’ He said the Bishop appreciates the efforts of the Religious with his whole body. “We cannot fully arrive at pastoral progress in Ijebu-Ode Diocese without the Religious, starting from how they established communities and built churches in Ijebu-Igbo deanery.”

God bless the Religious in the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, God bless the Religious all over the world!

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