FEBRUARY 2021 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:

Grace and Peace of the Lord be with you.

1: The Month of February: I heartily welcome you to another month of the
year, the month of February 2021, a month rich in both liturgical and spiritual activities. We begin the liturgical activities with the Feast of the Presentation (February 2), where the Church calls us to re-dedicate ourselves to God, following the example of Mary and Joseph who took the Child Jesus to the temple for dedication.

In the later part of the month, we will begin the Season of Lent with the ASH WEDNESDAY (February 17). The ashes we receive on our foreheads reminds us of two things: that we are sinners in need of God’s mercy and it reminds us of the fact that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. Hence, the Season of Lent is meant to be a time for spiritual renewal and growth through the acts of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. It is a time to turn back to God and ask for mercy and forgiveness. During this season of Lent, the colour will change from Green to purple, to depict the penitential nature of the season.

2: Pope’s Intention for the month of February 2021: Violence against
Women: We pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded.

3: Bishop’s Intention for the month of February 2021: For Catechists, Lay
leaders and Evangelizers: That all lay teachers of faith in the Diocese may be renewed in their commitment to spread the gospel message of Christ and the Catholic doctrine.

4: Lenten Reflection 2021: The Social Communications Commission of the
Diocese has put in place Lenten reflections for the year 2021. During the season of Lent, we shall be opportune to listen to edifying, nourishing and deep spiritual reflection on each day during the season from the Bishop and Priests working in the Diocese. This reflections will be posted 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. I enjoin all Priests that will take part in this spiritual exercise to make themselves available on February 3rd and 4th, 2021 for the recording which will take place at the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, Ijebu- Ode, starting at exactly 9:00am on both days.

5: Cathedraticum Masses: The Cathedraticum Mass this year will take place the same day with the Chrism Mass. All Parishes are expected to monetize their support to the Bishop to aid his work of charity to the poor and needy.

6: Priests’ Annual Retreat: The Priests annual retreat for the year 2021 will come up from March 1st — 5th, 2021 at Abbe-Louis Bautain Retreat and Conference Centre. This is a statutory retreat which every Priest must partake in every year. As such, it is important for all Priests engaged in pastoral work in this diocese to be a part of this spiritual exercise. Priests are encouraged to see Fr. Matthew Oguleru or any member of the Pastoral Planning and Operations Committee and make necessary payments.

7: Annual Marian Pilgrimage 2021: Following the challenges posed by the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 Annual Diocesan Marian Pilgrimage to Iwopin will not hold. However, we shall as a Diocese observe our Marian devotion at parish level in place of the Pilgrimage with the following details:

THEME: The Theme for Our Devotion this year is “OUR LADY MOTHER OF LIGHT.” This theme will be used in all parishes for their devotion.

NATURE OF THE PROGRAMME: The programme will take the exact format of the annual pilgrimage but on parish basis.

PARISH GROUPING: Parishes in the Diocese will be grouped into three and will hold their own devotions at three different weekends. This is to allow for an effective distribution of priests for pastoral coverage at each parish event.

  • Group 1: February 12/13: Parishes of Ijebu-Igbo and Esure Deaneries
  • Group 2: February 19/20: Parishes of Sagamu and Ogbere Deaneries
  • Group 3: February 26/27: Parishes of Ijebu-Ode Deanery

ANIMATION/COLLECTIONS: Parishes are to divert the effort and resources usually spent on transportation to Iwopin to animate and support local transport that will facilitate good attendance from all the stations under each parish. Note that, all Church collections taken at this Parish Marian devotion should be paid into the account of Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center, UBA, 1022812598. The collections will be used in renovating the Pilgrimage center for the Diocese. Thank you in anticipation.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: All Parish Priests are to ensure that all Covid-19 protocols for public gathering are strictly observed at the event. These include but not limited to; a) Wearing of face masks by all in attendance. b) Washing of hands before admittance into the venue of the programme, c) Use of sanitizers as already directed and especially before receiving communion in the hand, d) Ensuring safe social distancing in the seating arrangement of the venue.

REPORTS: Parish Priests are to submit a detailed report of the event to the office of the Vicar for Pastoral Affairs within one week of holding the event.

8: Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes: As a continuation of the call for monthly
Novena for the intentions of our Diocese and healing of our world from Covid-19 pandemic, I invite you to take up the Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes which will begin on February 2nd — 10th, 2021. The feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes is on February 11th, 2021. May I enjoin all Parish Priests, Superiors and Chaplains to kindly ensure that this novena is carried out in all Parishes, schools, convents and formation houses across the diocese.

9: Day of Consecrated Persons: The Feast day of Consecrated Life is
celebrated worldwide on February 2nd every year. A diocesan celebration will take place as follows:

  • Date: February 2nd, 2021.
  • Venue: St. Anthony Catholic Church, Ayegbami, Sagamu
  • Time: 10:00 am.

The Bishop will preside at the Mass. Other events follow after the Mass. All Priests and Laity in the Diocese are invited to join the Consecrated Men and Women working in the Diocese in this special celebration.

10: Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center, Iwopin: We appreciate all those who have contributed to the renovation of the Marian Pilgrimage Center with their kind donations. As we prepare for another Pilgrimage this year, we remind individuals, families, societies, parishes and stations to support this course of rebuilding Ave Maria 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)

11: Construction of a Diocesan Chancery Building: The building of our Diocesan Chancery has commenced and the foundation work is on-going. As such, I am calling on all Parishes, Institutions, families and benefactors both within and outside the Diocese to financially support this project. To support this project of constructing a befitting Chancery for the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, kindly make your donation to the following Bank Account:

  • Account Name: Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode 
  • Account Number: 0131027016
  • Bank: FCMB

12: ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • NCDPA Meeting: This is to inform all members of the Nigerian Conference of Diocesan Priests Association, Ijebu-Ode Diocese of their meeting which will take place on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at St. Anne Catholic Church, Itasin-Imobi by 10:00am. Those concerned should take note.
  • Special Collections: Let us remember to collect these special collections for the month of February: Holy Childhood (February 7), Laity (February 14), and Pontifical Mission Society (P.M.S.) National Office (February 21). Priests should kindly ensure that they are remitted on time to the Chancery for proper collation. The Lenten collection is to be taken every Sunday and during the Stations of the Cross during the Lenten Season.
  • Presbyteral Council Meeting: The meeting of all Priests involved in Pastoral work in Ijebu-Ode Diocese will come up on Tuesday, February 26, 2021 at St. Michael Catholic Church, Ilisan by 10:00am. All Priests are expected to be at this gathering.
  • Diocesan Lectors Board: The annual retreat for all Lectors in the Diocese will come up on February 26th — 28th February, 2021 at the City of Immaculate, Aiyepe, Sagamu. All Lectors in the Diocese are expected to attend this statutory retreat.
  • CYON: There shall be a meeting of the Diocesan executive council and General meeting of the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria, Ijebu-Ode Diocese on February 13th 2021 in Sagamu Deanery. All concerned should take note.
  • Holy Childhood Association: The following activities of the HCA will take place this month:
    • HCA Animation visit to St. Mary Ogbere               February 6-7, 2021
    • HCA Animation visit to Our Lady of Fatima, J6 February 6-7, 2021
    • HCA Animation visit to St. Thomas, Agbure         February 27-28, 2021
    • Love Outreach (Valentine visit to Children Home) February 13, 2021.
  • Family and Human Life Apostolate: The level one training of Marriage Counsellors in Ijebu-Ode Diocese will come up on February 20, 2021 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Odo-Aye.
  • Posting of Priest: Fr. Anthony Adebambo — Assistant Cathedral Administrator, St. Sebastian Catholic Cathedral, Ijebu-Ode and Chaplain, St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, Ijebu-Igbo.
  • New arrivals and Departure from the Diocese: We heartily welcome the following Religious who have just been posted to the Diocese to join in Pastoral work:
    • Sr. Bamisaye Brigid, SSMA — St. Felix Nursery and Primary School, Esure.
    • Sr. Lelia Barikpe, OLA — Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ijebu-Ode.

In the same vein we thank and appreciate Sr. Theresa Ajayi, SSMA for her commitment while working at St. Felix Nursery and Primary School. She is on transfer to another community and we wish her the best in her new assignment.

  • Bereavement: We announce, with deep sympathy the demise of Mrs Josephine Ofuani, the mother of Rev. Fr. Jude Ofuani, CMF, the Postulate Director of Claretian Postulate House, Ibefun. May God grant her eternal rest and consolation to the family. We equally announce, with deep sympathy the demise of Mrs Mary Obi, the mother of Sr. Veronica Obi, SSL, who works at Louisville Girls High School, Ijebu-Itele. May God grant her eternal rest and consolation to the family.

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

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