Catholic Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese, Bishop (Dr.) Peter Kayode Akintoyinbo has given a pass mark to the ongoing anti-corruption crusade led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Odetoyinbo applauded Buhari’s move against corruption during his visit to Catholic Church of Transfiguration, Arepo, Ogun State, and other Catholic Churches within Arepo environ.
Speaking to journalists during his visit to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Isheri Olofin, Ogun State, Odetoyinbo said, the country is blessed to have someone effecting the needed change in the saddles of leadership.
Stating further, the Bishop was elated that the nation now has a leader who wants the country to get thing right. He also stressed that the family should be at the forefront of the war against corruption if it must achieve meaningful result. “I am happy Nigeria has someone telling us to do it right and the voice of all Nigerians is that they want to get it right. Now it is a war against corruption, it starts from the family, if the family gets it right, the Church gets it right, the society will also get it right,” he assured.
Odetoyinbo who was ordained a Bishop in 2004, told Newswatch Times further that, “Children are born who do not know the good days of Nigeria. If the Churches, the schools are not teaching morals, nothing can be done. I believe that the fight is on, let us cooperate, let us be sincere, my worry is that who sustains it.”
Going down memory lane, Odetoyinbo remembered President Buhari’s regime as a leader between 31 December 1983 and 27 August 1985, when Nigerians were made to observe discipline as a national policy. “All of us remember when he was military Head of State. Nigerians were made to do things right, but what happened after him?” He therefore enjoined Nigerians to support the President who is bent on reforming Nigeria. “Let us not leave him alone, let us support him in this drive to sanitise the system.”
According to the Bishop, “The Catholic Church has reached out to President Buhari. Bishop Kukah has spoken, we also reached out to him during our conference in Port Harcourt. The problem is not that the anti-corruption war is on, but it must be sustained to achieve maximally.”
On the life of comfort being preached by some Christians, the Bishop in his sermon said, the life of a Christian is a life of sacrifice and Christians must adhere to the teachings of Christ on the subject.
“St. Ignatius of Antioch who is being celebrated today, lived a life of sacrifice, he was the second Church leader after the Apostle Paul in Antioch where the disciples were first called Christians. The apostles lived a life of martyrdom but it is sad today Christians do not want to live like Christ,” he observed.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Isheri Olofin, Ogun State, started as a Mass Centre under the watchful eyes of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, Akute, which seed was sown in 2006. Today with over 300 worshipers, the centre is set to erect a modern worship centre to serve Catholics within the area.
Welcoming the Bishop to the Isheri Olofin parish, Mr. Sylva Mbaogu on behalf of the Church Council, he however acquaints the bishop with the overview of the church.
In his speech, he stated how the Church began. “Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathlic Church, Isheri Olofin, stated as a Mass Centre under th wathful eyes of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church Akute.” He also took gave the various stages of development of the church as well as the early challenges faced. “The following were the early challenges we faced at the early stage of our development: Rising cost of land in Isheri Olofin, inaccessible location, low attendance at Mass, membership inconsistency and slow pace of physical and spiritual development.”
The Church however appealed for assistance in its building project. “With the land in place, the need to build a befitting church auditorium and father’s house for the community has become paramount. To achieve the objective of completing the building project in a record time, we have fired all arsenals in our internal revenue generation drive yet the dwindling economic fortune in the country has not made our case easy,” Mbaogu said.
Another request of the Church was a parish status as it requested its own priest to oversee the spiritual affairs of the parish since the parish is capable of catering for any priest posted to shepherd it.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 80 Catholic members of Catholic Church of Transfiguration Arepo, (CCTA), Ogun State were last Sunday, given the sacrament of confirmation by the Bishop Odetoyinbo in a spirit-filled Confirmation Mass and Thanksgiving.
The lucky faithful were conferred with the sacrament after passing through rigorous chatecheism training and tests before the arrival of the Bishop who was on a canonical visit to the Parish.
Administering the sacrament on the parishioners at a well attended mass, Most Rev. Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo, urged the parishioners to change from their old ways as the sacrament being conferred on them requires them to live the rest of their lives as worthy followers and apostles of Christ.
According to His Lordship, “You are now confirmed as a worthy ambassador of Christ, your attitude, conduct and behavior must henceforth be Christ-like. You are also to be at the vanguard of evangelism, winning souls for Christ,” Odetoyinbo charged.
Earlier in his homily, Odetoyinbo, who quoted extensively from the Holy Bible, Mathew chapter 18, verse 18 – 20, urged the faithfuls to go out like the apostles and preach the word of God. His words “As newly confirmed, you should go out as missionaries of God and evangelise. You should participate actively in Church activities by belonging to the various Christian societies. You should allow your faith to be more deeply rooted as you are now soldiers of Christ.”
He stated that participating more actively in all the Church activities by the faithfuls is one of the many ways to allow the Church of God to remain alive and grow from strength to strength.
Lamenting the crisis and challenges being faced by Christians in the Northern part of the country, where insurgency has become a threat to daily human existence, Odetoyinbo observed that Christians in the South West and other areas where there are no cases of insurgency have no cause to be unsteady in their faith.
He specifically expressed his sympathy and prayers for all Christians facing persecution because of their faith, adding that God Almighty will continue to strengthen them and grant them freedom from their persecutors.
The Bishop who expressed joy and gladness at the spiritual and physical development of Catholic Church of Transfiguration Arepo, commended the Parish Priest, Rev. Father Charles Soyombo for a job well done as he equally praised all parishioners for living as a community of God’s people. He noted that his three-day visitation has enabled him to see how cordially the parishioners live as members of the family of Christ. He urged them to continue to live together as happy and united family of Christ, saying that is the way the church wants them to live.
In his own remarks, Father Charles Soyombo expressed joy and happiness towards the administration of the sacrament of confirmation by His Lordship, Rev. Peter Odetoyinbo.
He stated; “We thank God and His Lordship for this visit. We now have eighty newly confirmed faithfuls. Now, we have a better equipped Christians in Arepo who have become soldiers of Christ”.
He stated that it was a thing of great joy to have this great number of people conferred with the sacrament of confirmation, urging the faithfuls to use the new gift of confirmation very well by using their faith in fighting on the side of Christ.
He expressed appreciation to the Bishop for finding time out of His busy schedule in visiting the Parish, adding that the entire Parish and the Parishioners are hugely indebted to the Bishop for granting them an audience.
Commenting further on the import of the visit, Rev. Father Charles Soyombo said the visit offered the Bishop the unique opportunity to know and acquaint himself with the Parishioners who also had the opportunity to interact with the august visitor as they were able to deepen their faith while enhancing their spiritual growth.