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.
⦁ The Month of March: Welcome to the 3rd month of the year 2021. This month we launch ourselves fully into the season of Lent. Our Lenten journey invites us to draw closer to God through the 3 pillars of Lent: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. During this month, we shall be celebrating the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary (March 19) and the Solemnity of the Annunciation (March 25). These solemnities call us to reflect on the lives of Joseph and Mary whose obedience to God brought us salvation and redemption. In the life of Joseph, we have the example of a selfless and responsible father to emulate as we celebrate the year of St. Joseph. Mary’s FIAT at the Annunciation teaches us to always surrender our will to God for he has a better plan for everyone.
⦁ Pope’s Intention for the month of March 2021: Sacrament of Reconciliation: Let us pray that we may experience the Sacrament of reconciliation with renewed depth, to taste the infinite mercy of God.
⦁ Bishop’s Intention for the month of March 2021: For Priests, Religious and Lay People: That Priests, Religious and Lay people may collaborate in service to the community without giving room to discouragement.
⦁ 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:
YouTube: Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode Nigeria
Facebook: “I-partner Ijebu-ode” and “The Partner Newspaper”
Kindly log in to any of these platforms and listen to the inspiring messages from the Priests working in the Diocese.
⦁ Year of St. Joseph (8th December 2020 – 8th December 2021): The Holy Father recently in his Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” proclaimed the “Year of Saint Joseph” which will hold from 8th December, 2020 to 8th December 2021. This is to mark the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
During this celebration of the Year of St. Joseph, we call the attention of the Faithful to opportunity of obtaining a Plenary Indulgence that the Church has made available during the course of the year. The plenary indulgence is available to all the faithful who recite any legitimate approved prayer of act of piety in honour of St. Joseph on the following days: Every Wednesday, the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the 19th Day of each month and in particular March 19 (the feast of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary) and May 1st (Feast of St. Joseph the worker). This indulgence is granted to faithful who fulfills the conditions of sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and Praying for the Pope’s intention.
⦁ Novena to St. Joseph: As a continuation of the call for monthly Novena for the intentions of our Diocese, healing of our world from Covid-19 pandemic, and as part of commemorating the year of St. Joseph, I invite you to take up the Novena to St. Joseph. This Novena will begin on March 10th – 18th, 2021. The Solemnity of St. Joseph, Husband of Mary comes up on March 19, 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.
⦁ Liturgical Directive: In accordance with the directive of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, “one” is to be removed before “God, forever and ever” in collects and other prayers. This directive comes into effect in Nigeria as from the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021.
⦁ Increase in Harvest Cathedraticum from 12% – 15%: In view of the increasing financial responsibilities of the Chancery as a result of the improved welfare package for both priests and lay personnel of the Diocese and other increase in our expenditure due to several other Diocesan obligations arising from our new approach to administration and pastoral activities, the Chancery has been left with no option than to seek for more revenue in other to remain responsible and be able to maintain all our existing structures well. As a result of this reality, we have found a need to increase cathedraticum on Harvest proceeds in all parishes from 12% to 15% with effect from 1st January 2021. By harvest proceeds, we mean all harvest related collections which include but not limited to family harvests, youth harvests, all societies harvest, stations harvest, parish harvest, general harvest and so on. All Parish Priests and Priests-in-charge should take note.
⦁ Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center, Iwopin: We appreciate all those who have contributed to the renovation of the Marian Pilgrimage Center with their kind donations. This is our project to rebuild, we therefore 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)
⦁ Construction of a Diocesan Chancery Building: The building of our Diocesan Chancery has commenced and the foundation work has been completed. We thank God for the success of the foundation laying ceremonies which took place on February 19, 2021. We thank all those who made out time to attend the ceremonies. We call 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
⦁ Diaconate Ordination: The Diaconate Ordination of Mr. Obiagbalasi Henry Eberechukwu and Mr. Igwe James Smiles will come up on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Oru-Ijebu by 10:00am. Let us remember to pray for these young men that God will make them his worthy ministers.
⦁ Special Collections: Let us remember to collect these special collections for the month of March:
⦁ Youth Special Collection – March 28, 2021 (Palm Sunday)
⦁ Emergency Fund Collection – March 21, 2021. The Emergency Fund collection is managed by the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria to assist people in emergency situations in the country.
⦁ The Lenten special collection is to be taken every Sunday and during the Stations of the Cross during the Lenten Season.
Priests should kindly ensure that these collections are well publicized, collected and remitted to the Chancery for proper collation.
⦁ Presbyteral Council Meeting: The meeting of all Priests involved in Pastoral work in Ijebu-Ode Diocese will come up on Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at St. Michael Catholic Church, Ilisan-Remo by 10:00am. All Priests are expected to be at this gathering.
⦁ Diocesan Pastoral Council Meeting: The first meeting of the DPC for the year 2021 will come up on Saturday, 27th March, 2021 at the Bishop Anthony Saliu Sanusi Hall of St. Sebastian Catholic Cathedral by 10:00am. All those concerned should kindly take note.
⦁ Chrism Mass 2021: This will be celebrated at St. Sebastian Catholic Cathedral, Ijebu-Ode on Wednesday 31st March, 2021. Further information pertaining those to attend will be given later in the month.
⦁ Priests’ Annual Retreat: All Priests working in the Diocese will be on their annual retreat for the year 2021 from March 1st – 6th, 2021 at Abbe-Louis Bautain Retreat and Conference Centre.
⦁ Annual Marian Pilgrimage 2021: This is to appreciate and thank all Parishes within the Diocese for the beautiful organization and planning of the Annual Marian Pilgrimage that was done on parish level this year. Thank you to all the Priests who were assigned to various parishes to facilitate the pilgrimages. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Light continually shine the light of Christ on our pathway. Amen.
⦁ NCWR Lenten Retreat: The Lenten Retreat of the Nigeria Conference of Women Religious, Ijebu-Ode Area will come up on Saturday, 6th March, 2021 at OLA Community, Ijebu-Ode by 10am. All members should take note.
⦁ Liturgical Commission: The following activities of the Liturgical Commission of the Diocese will take place this month:
⦁ Annual Retreat for all welcoming ministers at St. Louis Catholic Church, Ijebu-Ife on March 6, 2021
⦁ Seminar for Lay Leaders on Lenten and Easter talk and on Liturgical vestments at St. Timothy Catholic Church, Degun on March 13, 2021 at exactly 1o:00am.
⦁ Deanery meeting of Mass servers at the deanery centers across the Diocese on March 13, 2021 by 10:00am.
⦁ General meeting of Diocesan Liturgical Commission at St. Timothy Catholic Church, Degun on March 16, 2021. All members should take note.
⦁ Holy Childhood Association: The following activities of the HCA will take place this month:
⦁ Lenten Retreat for all members of Holy Childhood Association in all Parishes on March 6, 2021. This should be coordinated by the Animators in various parishes.
⦁ HCA Animation visit to St. Francis, Itele and St. Louis, Ijebu-Ife on March 27-28, 2021.
⦁ Family and Human Life Apostolate: The department of the Family and Human Life of the Diocese will be having the following events in the month of March 2021:
⦁ Level One training of Marriage Counsellors at St. Francis Catholic Church, Odo-Aye on March 20, 2021
⦁ The first bi-annual meeting of the Family and Human Life Consultors will come up on March 20, 2021 at St. Francis Catholic Church, Odo-Aye
⦁ Graduation and certification of Level Two Marriage Counsellors will come up on March 28, 2021 at Sr. Francis Catholic Church, Odo-Aye.
⦁ Department of Catechesis and Religious Education: All agents of Evangelization are to take note of the following activities of the Catechetical department taking place this month.
⦁ General meeting of all agents of Evangelization with the Director on March 6, 2021 by 11am at the Catechetical Center, Ilado.
⦁ Lenten Recollection for all agents of Evangelization on March 13, 2021 by 11am at the Catechetical Center, Ilado.
⦁ There shall be a seminar for all agents of Evangelization on Sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons on March 20, 2021 at St. Anthony Catholic Church, Ayegbami, Sagamu by 11am.
⦁ Priestly Ordination Anniversary: We congratulate, rejoice with and request your prayers for Most Rev. Albert Ayinde Fasina (March 8), Msgr. Victor Ajayi (March 8), Frs. Kennedy Ukachi, SMM (March 17), Francis Okposio, SMM (March 17), John Benedict Mary, FI (March 24), Gabriel Udogu, FI (March 25), Vincent Michael, FI (March 25), and John Aruleba (March 28) as they celebrate their Priestly Ordination Anniversary this month. May God grant them fulfillment and the grace of final perseverance. Amen.
⦁ Bereavement: We announce, with deep sympathy the demise of Mrs Fidelia Obiora, the mother of Sr. Caroline Obiora OSC, a member of the Poor Clare Monastery, Ikoto. May God grant her eternal rest and consolation to the family.
Thank you as I wish you a blessed and fruitful month of March.
Most Rev. Francis Obafemi ADESINA
Bishop of Ijebu-ode Diocese.