Saints Peter & Paul Major Seminary
Bodija, Ibadan, Nigeria
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Thursday, November 11, 2021

The celebration of the Mission Sunday was held on the 24th of October, 2021. Mission Sunday is a Sunday, the penultimate Sunday of October, set aside every year on which the Universal Church celebrates and recommits herself to the mission entrusted to her by Christ. The Holy Father, Pope Francis, themed this year’s mission Sunday “We Cannot But Speak About What We Have Seen And Heard” (Acts 4:20). The Seminary Community was not left out in the celebration as a statutory Mission Outreach programme was organized to mark the event. This year’s Mission Sunday Outreach Celebration is the 8th of its kind in the history of the Seminary of Saints Peter and Paul, Bodija, Ibadan. The Outreach is usually graced by Youths from various parishes in Ibadan Archdiocese and Representatives of Religious Houses of Formation. However, with the new reality occasioned by the Corona Virus Pandemic, this year’s celebration was exclusively for in-house Seminarians and selected representatives of religious communities. The whole celebration was conducted with strict compliance to Covid-19 restriction protocols.

At the Mass, the chief celebrant, Very Rev. Fr Hubert Opara, in his homily, said that this year’s mission Sunday is a universal call to Christ’s faithful to pray for and engage in mission. He cited Matt. 28:20 where Christ commissioned his disciples to take the gospel message to the ends of the earth. We are all called to be ambassadors of Christ’s message to our ailing and broken world. We receive this call at our baptism. Despite the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic and persecutions of all kinds, we must keep speaking about the gospel of Christ. Creation is messed up by sin and will be redeemed by the gospel. He concluded by saying that we all have roles to play in mission, either we give to mission by going or go to mission by giving. At the Mass, prayers were said for missionaries and for mission.

The second part of the celebration was the Talk on Mission held in the Seminary’s Auditorium at 12pm. The Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Most Rev. Gabriel ’Leke Abegunrin was present at the ceremony. After the opening prayer and the singing of the Papal Anthem and the Seminary’s Anthem, a welcome song was rendered by the St Gregory Choir of Saints Peter and Paul Major Seminary, Bodija Ibadan. In his address, the Rector, Fr. Anthony Ovayero Ewherido welcomed all present. He said that at every edition of the mission Sunday outreach, we are called to attune ourselves to the need for mission in the Church and our world that has grown hostile to the Gospel. This hostility should move us to follow the mandate of Christ in Matt. 28:19-20. We are beneficiaries of God’s love and are called to share this love with others and this is an imperative from Christ. He concluded by saying that despite the challenges posed by covid-19 pandemic and persecutions, the theme of this year’s mission Sunday should reinvigorate us for effective mission enterprise. After the rector’s address, there was a solemn ceremony of blessing and passing on of the Bible and the Crucifix. It was a way of renewing our commitment to the work of Mission.

The Mission Outreach Talk was delivered by Rev. Fr. Jerome Ajakaye. The title of the talk was “The Role of Compassion in Mission”. He defined mission as “an important assignment given to a person or a group of people, which may involve travelling abroad”. He said that our baptism mandates us to preach. Hence, by our baptism we have been sent to proclaim Christ’s gospel. On a day like this, we need to re-evaluate our readiness to perform this mandate. We see in the incarnation of Jesus, his love and compassion for us and the need to bring us closer to himself. He cited Matt. 9:36, Matt. 19:11-13, among others where Jesus showed compassion to the people. We must be compassionate like Christ when we go out on mission. He concluded by stating that evangelisation is best effectively done when understood and carried out within the context of family. The concluding remarks were given by the Archbishop, Most Rev. Gabriel ’Leke Abegunrin. He reiterated the words of the speaker and reminded all of the need to take up their crosses daily, for it is the heart of our Christian call. He encouraged seminarians to use their knowledge to improve liturgical lives in parishes and to be focused. The dean of the pastoral department, Very Rev. Fr Damian Ilodigwe, in his vote of thanks, appreciated God for the success of the mission outreach celebration and all those who by their contributions and participations made the day fruitful. After the closing prayer, there was a group photograph by all present.



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