By Fr. Anthony Adetayo

The Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode had her 2022 Mass of Chrism on Tuesday 12th April 2022 at St. Sebastian Catholic Cathedral, Ijebu-Ode which began at 10:00am. For the first time after the Pandemic lockdown, we have a Cathedral of full capacity attendance as Priests, Deacons, Religious and Laity were able to congregate at this auspicious ceremony. There was also an acknowledgement of the presence of members of the defunct Little Lamb Public Association who have been undergoing integration program to join the pastoral asset of the Diocese.

The Chrism Mass is held during Holy Week in every Catholic (Arch) Diocese. In Ijebu-Ode Diocese, the Bishop chose Tuesday of the Holy Week this year for pastoral reasons. During this Mass, the Priests, Deacons and representatives of the entire Diocesan community gather around the Bishop, who blesses the Holy Oils for use in the coming year. These are: Oil of the Sick, Oil of Catechumens, and Sacred Chrism.

The Bishop Most Rev. Francis Obafemi Adesina enjoined the entire Laity body to thank the Priests and clapping for them. In his homily he said our priests are working night and day, some of them in remote and poor places. “This Mass is a clear expression of our Priestly unity. I thank you for enduring and not giving up on the account of hardship. Thank you for nurturing faith and serving your parishioners to saving their souls, forming children and youths and caring for the sick and elderly. Thank you for celebrating the Holy Eucharist and the Sacraments.” The Bishop warned that “it is not personal ministry or fundraising but only the salvation of souls that should take the central place in the life of the disciples (the Priests and Religious)”

To the laity the Bishop said “Evangelization is not meant for only Priests and Religious. This is the message of the synodality of the Church. You must use your position to support the Church, support the Priests and the entire work of salvation. Or do we just gossip around and jump from one church to the other? Catholics should not go around to attending different churches. The Catholic Church is the head and we should not settle for spiritual mediocrity.”

The Mass continued with the Priests renewing their ordination commitment to the Bishop and the Church. Thereafter the Bishop blessed the sacred oils and the Priests had their thanksgiving joined by the entire faithful. It was a very glamorous day where the 7 Fidei Donum Priests from Issele-Ukwu, Ondo and Nnewi were also introduced.

After the Mass, there followed an official reception session for Priests and Religious with Laity members in attendance.

God bless the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode and our dear Bishop.

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