My dear Brother-Priests, Consecrated Persons and Laity of Ijebu-Ode Diocese, Peace of the Risen Lord be with you. Alleluia.

  1. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1). With the Psalmist, today, I express gratitude to God for His love and mercy that endures forever. On this faithful day two years ago, I was ordained the third Bishop and chief shepherd the flock of God in the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode. I consider it a divine privilege for my unworthy self to share in the fullness of the Priesthood of Christ. For “No one takes this honor upon himself but he is called to it by God, just as Aaron was” (Heb. 5:4). To be called to serve the Body of Christ as a successor of the Apostles is not a position anyone merits, but an office entrusted by the Grace of God. For this grace and privilege, I give thanks to God.
  2. This time last year, our first episcopal anniversary occurred at a very sobering time, when the whole World was at the heart of the COVID-19 Pandemic which still continues to claim millions of lives even till now. As such, like the first anniversary of my episcopal ordination, the second anniversary will be observed without funfair and expected pageantry. All I ask of you, my dear people of God, is to offer prayer for my intentions and that of our Diocese. May the love of Christ continue to urge us on! Amen.
  3. On this joyous occasion of my second episcopal Ordination, I would like to thank you, dear people of God in the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode for the ways and manner you witness to your Catholic faith despite the challenges of poverty, insecurity and depressing situation of our country. In these years, you have continued to show me love, support and cooperation in my episcopal ministry. If there are experiences of pastoral and administrative renewal in our Diocese today, it is because of your active participation and collaboration with us in our pastoral assignment.
  4. To our beloved emeritus Bishop Albert Ayinde FASINA, our dear Monsignori, Episcopal Vicars, Priests and Consecrated Persons, I say “thank you” for the wonderful, joyful ways you exercise your priestly ministry and discharged your apostolates within the Diocese. I express profound gratitude for your collaboration and fraternal love. I look forward to a more active and responsible collaborative ministry with you, especially in the areas of pastoral expansion and fostering of genuine vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life in the Diocese.
  5. To our dynamic Lay Faithful, Benefactors and Benefactresses, of the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-ode, thank you for your love, support and encouragement. I equally recognize and appreciate the support received from the Sons and Daughters of Ijebu-Ode and the Friends of the Diocese within and outside Nigeria. You have never failed us whenever we call on you and without your kindness, we could not have been where we are today. On this joyful day of our episcopal ordination anniversary, I would like to renew my appeal to you to join us in the construction of a Diocesan Chancery and the renovation of the Ave Maria Pilgrimage Center. These twin projects are very dear to my heart and they are indispensable for development of the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode. May God abundantly reward your generosity towards rebuilding and repositioning our beloved Diocese within Lagos Ecclesiastical Province and Nigeria. Amen.
  6. The inauguration of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, which took place in August, 2020 is a giant step forward in the pastoral administration of our Diocese. The Diocesan Pastoral Council has come up with a well-articulated and organized Diocesan Pastoral Plan to guide pastoral activities in the Diocese for the next 10 years (2021-2031). The title of the Pastoral plan is “Moving Forward with Faith and Action” (Exodus 14:15). In this new Pastoral Plan, we intend to Dock onto the Divine plan of the Universal Church and the wonderful pace and progress already established in the Diocese. The Diocesan plan remains a unit in the Divine plan of salvation, “bringing all things together under Christ.” Therefore, I enjoin you all to actively participate in implementing the Diocesan Pastoral plan for the growth of our Diocese.
  7. Today being Good Shepherd Sunday dedicated to preaching and praying for vocations to the sacred priesthood and religious life, the Holy Father Pope Francis invites us to reflect on “A Call to a service after the manner of St. Joseph”. He encourages us to ponder on three key words that summarize the life of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus: Dream, Service and Fidelity. As Catholics, how do you relate to the Dream of our Diocese as enshrined in our Diocesan/Parish Pastoral Plan? Are you available for selfless service of the promotion of the Gospel? In your pastoral engagements, are you faithful to Christ and the Church – what is the quality of your fidelity? Be reminded of the task the Holy Spirit placed on my shoulders at my episcopal ordination two years ago and I expressed in the following words: “…To continue to promote evangelization and renewal of the Catholic faith in the Diocese as embarked upon by our venerable predecessors. We shall through the collaboration of our dynamic Clergy, Religious and Laity insist on Catechetical and Liturgical formation, on the Apostolate of trained Laity, on integration of faith in action, active solidarity among Priests, Family Life Apostolate, proper Education of the Youth, mutual collaboration with the Consecrated Persons, harmonious relationship between Catholic and non-Catholic communities and the Promotion of reciprocity of rights and duties.” This is our pastoral focus and this is what the new Pastoral plan set out to achieve. I repeat, “I cannot do it alone”. Everyone must get involved and become passionate about our Diocesan Pastoral Goals. Our love for Christ and the Church must be expressed in the quality of responsibility and witnessing we give in the pastoral assignments entrusted to us.
  8. Once again, I thank all of you, members of Christ Faithful in the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode for your continued prayers for me, for your unflinching support and unwavering collaboration with the office of the Bishop. I look to the future with renewed confidence and hope in God that you will not fail in your love and support for our ministry. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Church, intercede for us. May Christ the King, the Patron of our Diocese, keep us united and joyful in his Divine Love, Amen.

Given this day 25th day of April, 2021, the occasion of my 2nd Episcopal Anniversary.

Most Rev. Francis Obafemi ADESINA

Bishop Catholic Dioceses of Ijebu-Ode.

Click here to download a pdf copy of the Bishop’s Address.

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