CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF IJEBU- ODE CONCLUDES 2022 ANNUAL MARIAN PILGRIMAGEAnthony Adetayo
Rev. Fr. Henry Obiagbalasi
The Covid-19 reality which brought all the sectors of the world to a radical turn-around is still here with us. It is now two years as the religious and spiritual gathering commonly known as the “Iwopin Pilgrimage” which is an annual vigil of every first Friday of February. The program was usually a spirit filled exercise and journey to Iwopin; water side area of Ogun State which was attended by all the priests, religious and lay faithful of the Diocese of Ijebu- Ode before halt in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, in the 2021, this religious program, for the salvation of souls, had to continue. It was done on Parish level, following the requirements necessary for controlling the spread of the pandemic.
This year also, from 4th -5th February 2022, all the parishioners, priests and religious gathered at their different deanery centers, due to the Covid- 19 restrictions for the same Annual Marian Pilgrimage while observing every requirement for controlling the spread of Covid-19. The 2022 Annual Marian Pilgrimage took place in the following centers in the deaneries:
- Esure Deanery: Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Esure
- Iloti Deanery: Christ the King Catholic College, Odolewu
- Iperu Deanery: Our Lady Undoer of Knots Grotto, Iperu
- Ogbere Deanery: Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Orita J6
- Ijebu- Ode Deanery: St. Sebastian Catholic Cathedral, Odo-Egbo, Ijebu-Ode
- Ijebu-Igbo Deanery: Oke-Maria Center, Ijebu –Igbo
- Sagamu Deanery: City of the Immaculate.
The theme of the year 2022’s Annual Marian Pilgrim was “Mary, our Mother and Comfort of the Afflicted” (Maria, iya wa ati itunu awon oniponju). In deed this theme is apt owing to our current socio-economic crisis which has bedeviled our country Nigeria; ranging from insecurity, inflation, economic crisis, secession, etc. Trusting in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she did at Cana, wherefore she prevented the affliction of lack and shame which would have come upon the wedding host (John 2: 1-11), the Church in the Diocese of Ijebu- Ode lifted her voice to the solace and comfort of the afflicted for her intercession once again.
The spiritual exercise which started with the opening Mass across the deaneries at the evening hours of the 4th of February continued all through the night and ended with closing Mass in the morning hours of the 5th of February, 2022. It was filled with testimonies, power packed message on the theme of the 2022 Marian Pilgrimage, Intercessory sessions, confessions, rosary prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and all sorts of spiritual exercises for the liberation and salvation of the souls in the Diocese of Ijebu- Ode.