MAY 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 May: Welcome to the 5th month of the year. May is a time of spring, a time when the flowers bloom and the sun is warm. We begin this month with the celebration of workers Day. May St. Joseph the worker intercede for all workers and grant success to the works of their hands. Amen. In this month of May, the Church continues the Easter season and ends it with the celebration of Pentecost on the last day of the month. We are called to remain steadfast in hope and be witnesses of Christ’ Resurrection in our world. Though the times may be hard and many live in fear and anxiety over what the future holds for them due to COVID-19 pandemic, Christians must be living examples of hope to a world filled with fear and anxiety.

2: Pope’s Intention for the month of May 2020: Praying for Deacons — Permanent and transitory: That deacons may be faithful in their service to the Word and the Poor, and he an invigorating symbol for the entire Church

3: Month of May: A time to pray the Rosary: In the Catholic Tradition, the month of May is a month dedicated to the daily recitation of the Rosary. The Holy Father in his letter to the Faithful for the month of May published on 25 April 2020, encouraged everyone to rediscover the beauty of praying the Rosary at home in the month of May. While it is still difficult to gather in the Church to pray the Rosary together due to COVID-19 pandemic, we must make out time as individuals and as families to pray the Rosary. The Holy Father tells us that “contemplating the face of Christ with the heart of Mary our Mother will make us even more united as a spiritual family and will help us overcome this time of trial.” The Holy Father has provided us with two prayers to Our Lady which is to be recited at the end of the Rosary. We shall provide a Yoruba translation of this prayers on the Diocesan platform which will be shared later.

First Prayer

O Mary, You shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who, at the foot of the cross, were united with Jesus’ suffering, and persevered in your faith.

“Protectress of the Roman people”, you know our needs, and we know that you will provide, so that, as at Cana in Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us. For he took upon himself our suffering, and burdened himself with our sorrows to bring us, through the cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God; Do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from every danger, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin.

Second Prayer

“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.

In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.

Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.

Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.

Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.

Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone. Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.

Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.

Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.

Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.

To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.

4: Good Shepherd Sunday: The 4th Sunday of Easter is known and called the Vocation Sunday. On a day like this, Ministers are expected to preach on the Sacraments of Vocation, that is, the Sacrament of Holy Orders and Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. In these Sacraments of Vocation, the recipients have a special call, a call to serve the other person. A call to be ministers of God’s love and mercy. In the Holy Matrimony, the couple are expected to be committed to the service of love. The love between the spouses is expected to be mutual and self-giving. The same is true for the Priest. He is expected to offer his life in total service for God’s people. As we celebrate the Vocation Sunday this year, I enjoin all parents to support the young ones to embrace faithfully the Sacraments of Vocation. For those who decide to serve God by becoming Priests or Religious, let us not hold them back but support them. We must remember that every Priest is taken from a family (cf. Heb. 5:1).

5: Family and Human Life Department: The Apostolate of Family and Human Life, Ijebu-Ode Diocese has come up with a mobile friendly programme titled, “Family prayers and Devotions.” This programme is meant to serve as guide for daily morning and evening prayers in the family during COVID-19 pandemic. The mobile friendly family prayers and devotions is being shared on all WhatsApp platforms. You can request your Priest to send you a copy.

6: Novena to the Holy Spirit: As we prepare for Solemnity of Pentecost, we are reminded of the nine days Novena to the Holy Spirit which will start on Friday after Ascension Thursday and will end on Saturday before Pentecost Sunday (22 May — 30 May, 2020). The Novena to the Holy Spirit is expected to take place in every Catholic family, Rectory, House of Formation and Convent across the Diocese simultaneously. Kindly participate in the Novena by praying from your places of residence and remember to pray for the intentions of the Diocese and for deliverance from Corona virus. May the Lord heal our land. Amen.

7: Lenten and Easter Reflection 2020: We thank the Social Communications Commission of the Diocese for putting in place Lenten and Easter reflections for the year 2020. Special thanks to the Priests who participated in reflections. We also thank all those who made out time to listen to those special messages from our Priests. May the words of Christ sow seeds of eternal life. Amen. Endeavor to check the social media handle for exciting posts about the faith and special messages from the Bishop.

Kindly log in to any of these platforms to read and know more about the Diocese.

8: Pastoral Responsibility to the Faithful: I commend Priests, Parishes and institutions that have found ways of ministering to the Faithful during this crisis, by paying attention to their spiritual needs through the Sacraments of healing (Anointing of the Sick and Penance) and providing some material needs to the Poor. May I remind Parish Priests that our Churches are to remain open during the day for private prayers and devotions. Priests are requested to be available to minister to the spiritual needs of the faithful while taking appropriate cautions and maintaining social distance.

9: ANNOUNCEMENTS

  1. Ijebu-Ode Diocese will clock 51 years on May 29. Let the Holy Mass be offered on every Parish Altar on this day, however private, to pray specially for our Diocese and her chief Shepherd.
  2. Meetings and gatherings of every societies, organizations and committees that are expected to take place this month remains postponed till further notice.
  3. The following Diocesan activities remain postponed till further notice: Cathedraticum Mass of Ijebu-Igbo Deanery
    1. Mass of the Chrism 2020
    2. Formation of new Diocesan Pastoral Council
    3. Bishop’s Canonical Pastoral Visitation to Ijebu-Igbo, Sagamu and Ijebu-Ode Deaneries
  4. Priestly Ordination Anniversary: Kindly remember to pray for and with Rev. Fr. Michael Ogunniyi, SDB (May 26) as he marks the anniversary of his Priestly Ordination. May God grant him more fruitful years in the Lord’s vineyard. Amen.
  5. Sincere appreciation for your prayers and good wishes on the occasion of my first Episcopal Ordination Anniversary last month. May the Lord uphold us in His ministry and bestow His blessings upon you always. Amen.
  6. Bereavement: The entire Diocese commiserate with Sr. Matilda Adeboye, SSL, Principal of Louisville Girls High School, Ijebu-Itele on the demise of her beloved mother, Late Mrs. Martina Adeboye, who died on April 18, 2020. She will be laid to rest in her home town in Oro, Kwara State on ist of May, 2020. May God grant her eternal rest and grant the family she left behind, the fortitude to bear the loss. Amen.

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

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