The Catholic Diocese of Osogbo on Wednesday marked the grand finale of its 25th anniversary celebrations which started in May last year.
As part of activities marking the anniversary, the diocese distributed food items as palliative to indigent people in Osun state.
The COVID-19 Response Team of the diocese under the chairmanship of Prof. Olu Aina said the effort was to cushion the hardship that the lockdown occasioned. The food items distributed to both indigent Catholics and non Catholics across Osun included rice, beans and garri.
Meanwhile, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. John Akinkunmi Oyejola has appealed to the Federal and State Governments to be transparent in the management of Coronavirus in the country.
Bishop Oyejola gave this charge in an address to mark the 25th Anniversary of Catholic Diocese of Osogbo on Wednesday.
Oyejola who titled his address “Gratitude, Formation and Mission; Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled,” also said the efforts at containing the deadly disease should not become an alibi for denying the people freedom of communal religious worship.
The bishop said hearts of many Nigerians had been troubled since the outbreak of coronavirus because the scourge worsened the economic and financial challenges of the average citizens.
While commending the efforts of governments at containing the spread of the disease, the Chief Shepherd of the diocese urged them to be transparent with the management of the disease and assured that COVID-19 would be defeated in no distant future.
He said, “We commend the civil authorities for the spirited efforts they have put into the fight against corona virus pandemic since its outbreak. Our passionate and frank appeal to them is that, the management of this pandemic should wear genuine human face, must be transparent and should not become an alibi for denying the people freedom of communal religious worship beyond what is reasonably necessary.
“The covid19 pandemic – a natural evil which is spread by human error will become a footnote in the history of mankind, like other pandemics before its appearance in no distant future. We, however, must remain strong and deeply rooted in our faith in God who does not fail us, even when we do not have a complete understanding of some events in our human experience in this ephemeral world, our hearts must not be troubled because we have Christ.
“Undoubtedly, since the outbreak of corona virus pandemic hearts have been troubled, because businesses have been stalled and freedom; including that of worship have been curtailed significantly, in all these, the master himself assures us that we should not let our hearts be troubled.
“Similarly, the words of prophet Habakkuk hold a prime place to strengthen and comfort us in the COVID-19 period. In the words of the prophet, even though the fig does not blossom, the vines empty of fruit, the olive crop disappoint and the fields yield no fruit; the sheep vanish from the fold and no cattle in the stalls. Yet, I shall rejoice in Yahweh. I shall exult in God my saviour. Habakkuk 3 :17 – 18. I urge you to be resolute and firm in our trust in God, who is our refuge, shield and protector.”
Speaking in the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diocese, Bishop Oyejola said the Church has witnessed spiritual, numerical and physical growths since its creation.
According to him, “we looked back over our shoulders at the past twenty five years of the existence of Catholic diocese of Osogbo, with gratitude to God for the labour of love of the first Bishop, Most Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin, to our dedicated priests, committed religious congregations and our highly esteemed laity.
“We stand today as witnesses to the sacrifices of the present generation to make the local Church, self reliant and sufficient, to remain a relevant and living religious organization spiritually, pastorally and a credible collaborator with the civil society by providing standard education and quality health care delivery system in Osun State.
“To the glory of God in the recent time, we have opened new Nursery and Primary Schools in Ede, Owode Osogbo and Ila-Orangun. New secondary schools were opened at Ifon-Ilobu, Oke-Bale in Osogbo, a Vocational Training Center was opened in Ibokun and Polytechnic, Imesi-Ile, is now under the care and ownership of Catholic Diocese of Osogbo. As a body of Christ we keep our eyes focused on the future and look beyond the horizon of yesteryears; for our tomorrow to be better than today, we have done and still doing the needful today.”