A remark made by Most Rev. Francis Obafemi Adesina, the Catholic Bishop of Ijebu-Ode Diocese at the Ijebu-Ode Priests monthly recollection on 10th November, 2020 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Imomo.

My dear brother Priests, may I sincerely thank you for your faithful attendance at the monthly recollection in the Diocese. The monthly recollection is a time to re-connect with God and re-examine our Priestly work and call. Aside the fact that we are able to socialize by meeting ourselves regularly, it offers us opportunities to be reconciled back to God through the acts of Penance and prayers.

For those Priests who have made it a point of duty to always absent themselves from this gathering, we must re-awake in them the spirit of recognizing the importance of such gatherings and event. The monthly recollection of Priests working in Ijebu-Ode Diocese is a valuable tradition that must be sustained. It must never be heard that the zeal of attending such gatherings has gone down in some priests. Nobody should attend such a prayer gathering with the hope or desire of impressing the Bishop. The purpose of coming is a personal one – to reconnect with God, who we are working for in his Vineyard.

As a fall-out from the above, I would like to reflect with you today on the theme “Priestly Dedication.” One thing that made St. Johnbosco stand out in his ministry was his dedication to the youths around him. His dedication made him go extra length to look for ways to help the youths and make them grow. His dedication made him overlook the various challenges and setbacks. This same dedication is what we are expected to have in our Priestly ministry.

To be dedicated means to be committed, focused, to stand fast, to sustain positive enthusiasm, to be disciplined, to make sacrifices, to be resolute, to be an achiever and not a quitter and so on. We need to be dedicated to a particular or valuable cause and the cause here is our Priestly ministry. How dedicated or committed are we to our Priestly work in the Diocese of Ijebu-Ode? Everyone is dedicated to something. The question is what are you dedicated to? This is the question we need to ask ourselves. As Catholic Priests, are you dedicated to Priestly ideal and Christ’s mission? What occupies your minds as Priests, the mission of Christ or your personal comfort?

It is a pity that some priests are so committed to other task and duty that brings in money to their personal pockets. As Catholic Priests, Is the pastoral care of the people of God under your care a concern to you or all you care about is self-care? Salvation of souls or damnation of souls? To build, unite and heal the body of Christ or to inflict more injuries to the Body of Christ? We need to examine ourselves and ask the above questions.

We need dedicated Priests in Ijebu-Ode Diocese. Priests that will be willing and ready to go any length in spreading the good news without counting cost. Priests that will be ready to think more of the souls under their care than their personal gains. Hard work and dedication to one’s duty does not kill but it yields great result and a bountiful harvest. The book of Ecclesiastes 9:10 says: “Whatever your hands finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Also, St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians 3:23-24 says: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving.”

Being dedicated to the Priestly duty is a sign that we know truly the work we have accepted. To be dedicated is to fulfil the mission of Christ in looking for the lost souls and bringing them back to the fold. There is certainly a great reward for Priestly dedication. Proverbs 12:11 says: “Those who work, their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.” Also, Proverbs 14:23 says: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Dear Brother Priests, do not be tired in doing what is right for God. Be dedicated to your Priestly ministry at all times and do not be discouraged even when the Bishop does not notice you. Remember that whatever you do, you do it not for man but for God. As such, our dedication must not be done for the Bishop to applaud but for God to say weldone, good and faithful servant.