AUGUST 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:

1: The Month of August: Welcome to August, the eight month of the year. This month is usually noted for pilgrimages and vacations. However, due to the on­going COVID-19 pandemic, many of these may not be possible, and if it is, we must always ensure to keep safe at all times and never lose sight of our spiritual growth.

In this month, the Church offers us with Solemnities, feasts and memorials of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary and some of the saints to assist us in our spiritual growth. Notable among these celebrations are the feast of the Transfiguration (6th August) which gives us a foretaste of the beatific vision and the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (15th August), which reminds us of the fact that our true dwelling place is in heaven. Other notable Saints whose feasts and memorials are celebrated this month include: St. Alphonsus Liguori (1st August); St. John Mary Vianney (4th (August); St. Dominic (8th August); St. Lawrence (10th August); St. Clare (11th August); St. Maximillian Kolbe (14th August); St. Bernard (20th August); Queenship of Mary (22nd August); St. Bartholomew (24th August); St. Monica (27th August); St. Augustine (28th August) and Beheading of St. John the Baptist (29th August). In the celebration of the feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints, we are reminded that our heavenly reward is sure for those who persevere to the end. May the Lord grant us that Spirit of perseverance till the end. Amen.

2: Pope’s Intention for the month of August 2020: The Maritime World: We pray for all those who work and live from the sea, among them are sailors, fishermen and their families. In the same vein, we remember those in the riverine areas of our Diocese and those in the region of Niger Delta, that they may treasure the gift of God that water, is, and with the help of Government, avoid continuous pollution of our water ways.

3: Update on Resumption of Public Masses in the Diocese: Last month I encouraged you to keep praying that our Churches might be re-opened for Sunday worship. We thank God that the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has finally listened to the aspiration of Christians and Muslims and has decided to re-open places of worship in the state as from the weekend of Friday, August 14, 2020. He made this statement in his address on July 29, 2020. State guidelines have been provided to guide us in the full re-opening of Churches and I expect every Priest, Religious and Laity in this Diocese to comply with the directives. As our Churches re-open for Sunday Mass, serious caution must be observed due to COVID-19 pandemic. We must always remember that we have the duty to keep ourselves and those around us safe. A circular will be released on the 5th of August, 2020 which will contain Diocesan guidelines for the re-opening of Churches.

4: Novena for the month of August: In continuation of the request for a monthly Novena for the intention of our Diocese and indeed the whole world as we battle the pandemic of COVID-19, and also in preparation for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may I invite you to take up the Novena in honour of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This Novena will begin simultaneously on Thursday, 6th August to Friday, 14th August, 2020 in all families, Rectories, Houses of formation and Convents.

5: Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: This Solemnity will come up on 15th August, 2020. It is a Holy Day of obligation. Catholics are obliged to attend Mass on this day. Being the first day of a congregational Mass, after five months of lockdown, I request that Pastors offer special prayers on this day for the world, our country Nigeria and the Diocese, imploring the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to deliver us from the misery of COVID-19 pandemic. The prayers composed by Pope Francis to Mary during the month of May should be said in all parishes during the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass.

6: Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center, Iwopin: During our annual Marian Pilgrimage in February 2020, I made a passionate appeal to all the pilgrims and indeed, to all of us to contribute generously to the renovation of the Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center. As a follow-up to this request, I am pleased to announce to you that a special Bank account dedicated to the Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center is now in operation. I invite you as individuals, families, societies/groups, parishes and stations to support this course of rebuilding our Pilgrimage center with your kind donations. Remember, God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). The account details is as follows:

  • Account Name: Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center, Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode
  • Account Number: 1022812598
  • Bank: United Bank for Africa (UBA)

7: Social Communications Commission invites us to follow the Diocese and her activities, on any of the following social media:

8: Update of Diocesan Directory for 2021: A new directory for the Diocese will be produced before the end of the year. All Parish Priests and Chaplains are to check the 2016 edition and the website www.ijebuodecatholicdiocese.org to see if there are any addition that needs to be made in the new one. Kindly forward your updates or observation to Fr. Augustine Adetola or any member of the Social Communication Commission.

9: Appreciation: I want to thank and appreciate all Priests. Religious and Laity of this Diocese for your condolence messages, prayers and active participation during and after the burial of Late Msgr. Valentine Awoyemi. The death came as a shock to us all but we have to accept it like people of faith who believe in the Resurrection. May the soul of our beloved Msgr. Valentine Olanipekun Awoyemi continue to rest in God’s peace. Amen.

10: Resumption of Schools: In line with the directives of the Federal and state Governments instructing that all schools in the country be re-opened for J.S.S. 3 and S.S.S. 3 Students as from 4th August, 2020, all our Catholic Schools in the Diocese will be opened for the afore mentioned students. Our Catholic Schools have been preparing for re-opening for months. All Principals and staff are to ensure that necessary safety measures are kept and that our students are safe in the school compound.

11: ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • One Month’s mind for Late Msgr. Valentine Olanipekun Awoyemi: The one month remembrance of Late Msgr. Valentine Olanipekun Awoyemi will come up on August 3rd, 2020 at St. Peter Catholic Church, Imewuro. The Mass will start by 12 noon prompt. Let us kindly make out time to be present to pray for the soul of our departed Priest. There shall be a strict observance of the use of face mask.
  • Mass of Chrism: The 2020 Mass of Chrism which should have taken place on Holy Thursday this year but postponed due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic has now been slated to take place as follows:
    1. Date: Friday, August 7th, 2020
    2. Venue: St. Sebastian Catholic Cathedral, Odo-Egbo, Ijebu-Ode
    3. Time: 10:00am. Attendance will be strictly by invitation.
  • Priests Monthly Recollection for August: The Priests’ monthly recollection will take place on Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 at Christ the King Catholic College, Odolewu-Ijebu starting at exactly 10:00am. The gathering for this month will be to celebrate the day of sanctification for Priests. All Priests engaged in pastoral work in the Diocese are expected to be present at this prayer gathering. While coming, we are to come with our vestments as we shall end the prayer meeting with the celebration of the Holy Mass. The Liturgical commission will contact the functionaries at this event.
  • Cathedraticum Mass for Ijebu–Igbo Deanery: The Cathedraticum Mass of Ijebu-Igbo Deanery which has been postponed since March is now cancelled. This is in connection with the on-going pandemic and the many hardship it has brought to everyone.
  • In due time, there will be an update on the following activities of the Diocese:
    1. Formation and meeting of new Diocesan Pastoral Council
    2. Bishop’s Canonical Pastoral Visitation to Ijebu-Igbo, Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode Deaneries
  • Submission of 2020 Report: This is to inform all Heads of Department, Institutions and Presidents of various Organizations like CMO, CWO, CYON and HCA that there will be need to submit a comprehensive report of activities done in the year 2020. This report is expected to be detailed containing the summary of what was done and pictures to back it up. It will be submitted both in printed copies and soft copies to the office of the Bishop through his Secretary on or before December 10, 2020. This is an obligatory annual report and all those concerned should take note.
  • Re-opening of the Chancery Office: The Chancery is opened fully for activities daily from Mondays to Fridays. If you would like to see the Bishop, kindly contact the Secretary to the Bishop, Rev. Fr. Augustine Adetola, to book an appointment with the Bishop. Kindly ensure that when visiting the Chancery for any purpose, do well to cooperate with the directives at the gate of JDPC. The use of face mask is compulsory and physical distancing must be observed when you are within the compound and the Chancery office.
  • College of Consultors: A new College of Consultors for the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode has been instituted on the 24th July, 2020. The members include:
    • Very Rev. Msgr. Victor Ajayi
    • Very Rev. Fr. Sylvester Onasanya
    • Very Rev. Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi, CICM
    • Very Rev. Fr. Martin-Rita Ogunbanwo
    • Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Balogun
    • Very Rev. Fr. Michael Banjo
    • Very Rev. Fr. Gabriel Oresegun
    • Very Rev. Fr. Albert Igbodipe.
    • We wish them God’s guidance in their new assignments. Amen.
  • Transfers: We thank and appreciate the following Religious who will be leaving our Diocese for another mission elsewhere. They are:
    1. Sr. Lucia Obiora, SJS, former Headmistress of St. Maria-Goretti Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Sagamu.
    2. Sr. Francesco Azuh, OSF, former Headmistress of St. Joseph Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Ikoto.
    3. Sr. Veronica Okpara, SSL, who works at Abbe Louis Bautain Retreat and Conference Center, Ijebu-Itele.
    4. Sr. Cynthia Nwakamma, OLA, who works at Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ijebu-Ode.
    5. Sr Mary Julian Tonje, OSF, a student residing in Iloti community.

They have been working actively in the Diocese for some years and their congregations have decided to send them on another mission. We wish them well in their new apostolate.

  • Appointments: The following Religious have been appointed to fill up some positions as it pertains to institutions in the Diocese. They are:
    1. Sr. Maria Giovanni Mukolu, SJS, Headmistress, St. Maria-Goretti Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Sagamu.
    2. Sr. Mary Juliana Akadri, OSF, Headmistress, St. Joseph’s Nursery and Primary School, Ikoto.
    3. Sr. IreneMaris Matthew-Itodo, SJS, Bursar, St. Maria-Goretti Catholic Nursery and Primary School, Sagamu.
  • Priestly Ordination Anniversary: We congratulate, rejoice and request your prayers for Rev. Frs. John Patrick Ngoyi, CICM (5th August); Peter Puotege, CSSp (9th August); Dominic Okonwa, F.I. (11th August); Januarius Udo Iwuji, SDV (19th August); Patrick Balogun (20th August); Vincent Ajayi (20th August); Paul Oredipe (22nd August); Innocent Ovie, SDV (22nd August); Stephen Ekerin (24th August); Stephen Osinkoya (24th August); Hector Osifeko (24th August) and David-Mary Odunsi (24th August) whose Priestly Ordination Anniversaries occur this month. May God grant them fulfillment and grace of final perseverance. Ad Multos Annos!
  • Bereavement: We announce, with deep sympathy the demise of Madam Josephine Adefunmilayo Ositimehin, the mother of Rev. Fr. Stephen Ositimehin, a Priest of Ijebu-Ode Diocese on mission in U.S.A. The burial ceremonies are as follows:
    • Wake: Wednesday, August 5th, 2020
    • Funeral Mass: Thursday, August 6th, 2020.
    • Venue: St. Anthony Catholic Church, Ejinrin road, Ijebu-Ode.
    • Time: 10:00am.

Let us be aware that not more than 20 persons will be allowed into the venue of the funeral mass. May God grant her eternal rest and consolation to the family. Amen.

Thank you as I wish you a blessed and fruitful month of August. May God heal our land.

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