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By Romanus N. Egbulefu

A good number of Catholic faithful including the clerics and the religious converged at St John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Ladipo – Oshodi on Saturday 19th January, 2019 to witness the solemn dedication of the church building. His Grace, Most Reverend (Dr) Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of Metropolitan See of Lagos graciously celebrated the Church dedication Mass and was assisted by Reverend Monsignor John K. Aniagwu, a Vicar General who also performed some of the dedication rites.

During the homily, the Chief Shepherd extolled the pioneer priests of the church building projects namely Very Reverend Monsignor Philip Hotey in, Very Reverend Fathers Stephen Enearu, Francis Ike with Patrick Obayomi and parishioners of the parish for building a befitting place of worship.

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Archbishop Martins said the dedication of the church is an indication of the devout and material blessing of God bestowed on His creatures who have contributed immeasurably to the completion of the magnificent place of worship.

Among the priests that have worked in the parish that graced the occasion were Very Monsignor Philip Hoteyin, Very Reverend Fathers Stephen Enearu and Francis Ike. Other priests seen were Reverend Fathers Melvin Mayaki, Charles Obinna, Morris Iwu etc. A good number of bishops and other priests sent in goodwill messages and some attended by proxies.

The amiable Parish Priest in the person of Very Reverend Father Patrick Obayomi who is also the Dean of Ikeja Deanery during his address commended his predecessor – Very Reverend Father Francis Ike who was said courageously demolished the old church through the blessings of Anthony Cardinal Olubumi Okogie when he was the Archbishop of Metropolitan See of Lagos. Very Reverend Father Obayomi interestedly praised Very Reverend Father Ike for his cooperation at the time of needs. Father Obayomi was seen in joyful mood and sang impressive song during his appreciation. He said that Father Ike duly collaborated with him which contributed to the timely completion of the church.

Anthony Cardinal Olubumi Okogie who paid a canonical visit to the parish from 8th to 10th April, 2011 during which he laid the foundation of the building was also present in the dedication Mass. The demolition of the old church and its rebuilding was not by accident but by God’s will. It could be remembered that during the foundation laying stone of the church, then Parish Priest – Reverend Father Francis Ike made a tentative request from the Cardinal through his welcome address. He said that through the efforts of Young Shepherd Vocation Group, that St John the Evangelist Catholic Church had produced the highest number of Priests and Religious among other parishes in Lagos Archdiocese.

As a result, the reverend gentleman made a passionate appeal to His Eminence to be implemented after the completion and dedication of the church. He politely appealed that the parish should be considered as a venue for priestly ordination especially when the church building project is completed. Father Ike also then thanked the Cardinal for the recommendation of some few parishioners for Papal Medalists and knighthoods. He then requested that the parish should be given the opportunity to recommend further some of their parishioners for such befitting and courtesy honours.

Above all, the completion of the church building project has influenced the worshippers “hiss sigh of relief” and hopefully would properly address the need of space, adequate seats for the teeming population of the parishioners and tackle the periodic floods formerly encountered by the parish.

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