APRIL 2020 DIOCESAN CIRCULAR

TO ALL PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS WORKING IN THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF IJEBU-ODE, AND THE LAY FAITHFUL

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:

Welcome to the month of April. At the beginning of this fourth month of the year, I have the privilege to address you once again to remain strong and hopeful in the face of the global health pandemic/ COVID-19 which has virtually paralyzed every aspect of public life and economy. I know how strange and difficult for us not to be able to go to Church, work or school. Travelling, visiting families and friends have become almost impossible due to social distancing regulation.

Fear and anxiety are not the best approach to the situation we are facing. We must keep hope alive and trust that God will heal us and our land. Let us call to mind the Word of God in Isaiah 41:10, “do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” These words should console us that God is interested in our situation. Let’s remain strong and courageous during this crisis. I invite you to intensify your prayer life and not give in to fear.

In addition, I encourage you dear people of God to respect the injunctions of the government and medical practitioners concerned with the control of this pandemic. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose if you must go out, maintain social distance and most importantly, stay at home and do not spread the virus. It is tough but with our cooperation, we shall be free of this virus in no distant time. May this month of April be a blessed and fruitful one for each and every one of us. Amen.

1: The Season of Easter: This month we conclude the season of Lent and begin the celebration of the special season of Easter. At Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. We celebrate the victory over sin and death. The Easter celebration this year will be celebrated in a different way, which reminds us of the first Easter which was celebrated in the midst of fear among the Apostles and followers of Jesus. This special season lasts for 50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. May the joy of Easter bring us glad tidings and God’s blessings.

2: Pope’s Intention for the month of April 2020: Freedom from Addiction: We pray that those suffering from addiction may be helped and accompanied. Added to this intention, we are called to pray for those currently being treated for COVID-19.

3: Lenten Reflection 2020: We thank the Social Communications Commission of the Diocese for putting in place Lenten reflections for the year 2020. These reflections can be followed on the following Social media handles:

Kindly log in to any of these platforms and listen to the inspiring messages from the Priests working in the Diocese. Also, tune in to Lumen Christi Television on DSTV Channel 350 every day during Lent at 7:15pm to listen to the reflections.

4: Divine Mercy Novena: As a continuation of the call for monthly Novena for the sake of our Diocese, and for healing and deliverance of our world from Corona Virus pandemic, I invite you all to take up, for this month of April, the Divine Mercy Novena. This 9 days novena will start on Good Friday, April 10 to Saturday before Divine Mercy Sunday, April 18, 2020. This is expected to take place in all Catholic families, Rectories, Houses of Formation and Convents across the Diocese simultaneously. Kindly join this prayers from your homes.

5: Holy Week Ceremonies: In a special circular issued on March 27, 2020, I addressed some issues as it pertains to changes in liturgical celebrations due to COVID-19 pandemic. I explained the modalities for the celebration of the Holy Week in the Diocese (cf. the decree: In time of COVID-19 (ii) by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments). Every Priest is expected to celebrate the Holy Week in the Parish church while praying for the intention of the Parishioners who will not be able to attend due to the lockdown in the state. Only the Chrism Mass is postponed to a later date which will be communicated later. All other activities of the Holy Week is expected to be performed according to the liturgical instructions presented in the special circular of March.

  • Priests are expected to bless the quantity of palms that they would need for Ash Wednesday of 2021.
  • At the Mass of the Lord’s Supper which will be done without the lay Faithful, there should neither be washing of feet nor procession with the Blessed Sacrament at the end of the Mass. The Blessed Sacrament remains in the Tabernacle.
  • Good Friday and Easter Vigil: This should also be done without the presence of the Lay faithful.
  • The Easter Sunday is also to be celebrated without the presence of the Laity. There will be no Easter Monday or Galilee day celebration.

6: New Religious Foundation in the Diocese: I appreciate your continuous collaboration with the Clergy, Religious and Laity in the Diocese. I encourage you to remain focused on your prayer life, apostolate and charism, as we await directives from the Propagande Fide on the way forward.

7: Pastoral Responsibility to the Faithful: I want to commend Parishes that have found ways of ministering to the Faithful during this crisis, by paying attention to their spiritual needs through the Sacraments of healing (Anointing of the Sick and Penance) and reaching out to their material needs also. May I remind Parish Priests that our Churches are to remain open during the day for private prayers and devotions. Priests should be available to minister to the spiritual needs of the faithful while taking appropriate cautions and maintaining social distance.

8: Cathedraticum Mass 2020: This is to appreciate all the Priests, Religious and Lay Faithful of Ogbere, Esure, Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode Deaneries for your generosity and kindness during the Cathedraticum Masses celebrated at the above listed deaneries across the Diocese. May God reward you abundantly. Amen.

9: ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Meetings and gatherings of every societies, organizations and committees that are expected to take place this month remains postponed till further notice.
  2. The following Diocesan activities are equally postponed till further notice:
    1. Cathedraticum Mass of Ijebu-Igbo Deanery
    2. Mass of the Chrism 2020
    3. Formation of new Diocesan Pastoral Council
  3. Episcopal Ordination Anniversary: I kindly request your prayers as I mark my Episcopal Ordination Anniversary on April 25. Keep me in your prayers that I may be faithful to God’s call of Shepherding the people of God entrusted to my care. Amen.

Thank you as I wish you a blessed and fruitful month of April.

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