JUNE 2020 DIOCESAN CIRCULAR

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:

1: The Month of June: Welcome to the month of June. We begin this month with the Ordinary time of the year in the Liturgical Calendar of the Church. This season of the Church takes us through the life of Christ. This is the time of conversion, a time to live the life of Christ. Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ.

During this month, we shall be celebrating the following Solemnities: Solemnity of the Most Blessed Trinity (June 7); Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (June 14); Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (June 19) and the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29). May our faith be strengthened and nourished through these celebrations. Amen.

2: Pope’s Intention for the month of June 2020: The way of the Heart: We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus. Therefore, we are expected to remember in our prayers especially in the celebration of Liturgy, the suffering in our society, community and in the world.

3: Lifting of the Suspension of Public Masses with Congregation in all Parishes and Institutions in Ijebu-Ode Diocese: You would recall that in a special circular titled, “further instructions on liturgical celebrations in light of COVID-19” issued on March 28, 2020, I suspended all public Masses in the Diocese due to the Lockdown rules in the state. However, after listening to the address of the Governor of Ogun State on May 28, 2020, who in his address allows a Religious gathering of not more than 20 persons on weekdays and with the gradual ease of lockdown in the state, I hereby lift the ban on weekday celebration of the Holy Mass only in Parishes and Institutions. This means that as from June 1st, 2020, weekday Masses from Mondays to Fridays are allowed in all Parishes within the Diocese. However, the following conditions must be fulfilled in order to have the Masses.

  • Number of Worshippers attending Mass will depend on the number established by the Civil Authority, which presently stands at a maximum of 20 persons. Therefore, on weekday Masses, not more than 20 persons are to be gathered in the Church for Mass, including the Priest celebrating.
  • Not more than 2 persons are expected to sit on a pew in the Church
  • Holy Communion is to be administered on the hand and the sign of peace is to be omitted during the Mass.
  • Priests are to exercise the faculty given to celebrate multiple masses for the good of the people, especially in Parishes that do have more than 20 persons attending weekday Masses.
  • All worshippers are to wear face mask to the Church for every activity. Those without face masks should not be allowed into the Church. Only the Priest celebrating is allowed not to wear during Mass but he is expected to make sure that physical distance is observed.
  • Parishes are expected to make provisions for checking body temperatures of Parishioners as they enter the church. Anybody with a temperature above 37° Celsius should not be allowed into the Church.
  • Parishes are expected to provide running water and soap for washing of hands at the entrance to the church. Hand sanitizers are also expected to be available.
  • Each Parish must make arrangement for the cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces touched by the faithful. Disinfection that are appropriate are to be used. Kindly contact the Health Director, Rev. Fr. Christopher Ogunnupebi for help in this regard.
  • Celebration of marriages and funerals on weekdays are to follow the above directives and the population including the Priest celebrating must not be more than 20 persons.
  • Due to the lockdown still in place on Saturdays and Sundays, there won’t be public Masses on those two days for now. A further directive on when public masses will resume on Sundays and how it will take place will be given in a special circular this month as we gradually return back to worship.

4: Novena for the month of June: In continuation of the request for a monthly Novena for the intention of our Diocese and indeed the whole world as we battle the pandemics of COVID-19, may I invite you to take up the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the month of June. The Novena will commence on June 10 —June 18, 2020. I encourage you to participate in this novena, trusting that the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus will come to our aid.

5: 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 to support this course of rebuilding our Pilgrimage center with your kind donations. Remember, nothing is too small or too big for God, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). The account detail is as follows:

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

6: Social Communications Commission: We thank the Social Communication Commission of the Diocese for facilitating and showcasing the various activities and publications in the Diocese on Social Media. To follow the Diocese and her activities, log on to any of the following:

7: Policy on Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Persons: As a follow-up to the seminar held on Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Persons in December 2019, I hereby inform you that a Diocesan Policy on Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Persons has been published and in accordance with the directive of the Holy Father, a safeguarding committee has been established to protect minors and vulnerable persons in the Diocese. This policy takes effect on the 22nd day of June, 2020. It is expected that before then, all those concerned will get a copy of the Policy.

8: 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. In a further directive that will come out later this month, there will be an update regarding the following activities of the Diocese which have been postponed since March this year:
    1. Cathedraticum Mass of Ijebu-Igbo Deanery
    2. Mass of the Chrism 2020
    3. Formation of new Diocesan Pastoral Council
    4. Priests day of Sanctification and Recollection
    5. Bishop’s Canonical Pastoral Visitation to Ijebu-Igbo, Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode Deaneries
  3. 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.
  4. Re-opening of the Chancery Office: The Chancery is opened fully for activities on Mondays, Wednesdays and 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. Only those with appointment will be attended to. Kindly ensure that when visiting the Chancery for any purpose, do well to cooperate with directives at the gate of JDPC. The use of face mask is compulsory and physical distancing must be observed when within the compound and the Chancery office.
  5. Priestly Ordination Anniversary: We congratulate, rejoice and request your prayers for Rev. Frs. Peter Ireorji, MSP (June 21); Patrick Nnamani, MSP (June 21); Isaac Shemomo, MSP (June 21); Michael Eninlejie, MSP (June 22); Emmanuel Braimoh, MSP (June 23); Francis Raji, MSP (June 24); John Okwui Anih, MSP (June 24); Eusebius Obasi, MSP (June 25); James Yakubu, MSP (June 26); Leo Awojinrin (June 26); Michael Ogunyinka (June 26); Victor Adigboluja (June 26); Jude Okafor (June 26); Daniel Udofia, MSP (June 27); Joseph Iwobi, CMF (June 29) whose Priestly Ordination Anniversaries occur this month. May God grant them fulfillment and grace of final perseverance. Ad Multos Annos!
  6. Bereavement: We announce, with deep sympathy the demise of Ezinne Sylver Agbapajurn, the mother of Rev. Fr. Cyriacus Agbapajuru, CSSp working at Holy Ghost Model College, Imuwen; Mr Sylvanus Ikoro, the father of Sr. Margret Ikoro, CP; and Mr. Augustine Nwutubo, the father of Sr. Miriam Basil Nwutubo. May God grant the dead eternal rest and consolation to the family.

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

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