The Dean of Satellite Deanery and Parish Priest of St. Patrick, Catholic Church, Ojo, Alaba, Lagos, Fr. Francis Ike, C.Ss.R, has called on parents, and institutions to wake up to their duties of bringing up their children/ wards, and young people in their custody in the proper way. Fr. Ike who gave the charge during the 2021 Feast Day celebration of Mother of Perpetual Help, with the theme, “Mary, Our consoler in grief and afflictions”, held at Ss. Michael, Raphael and Gabriel Catholic Church (The Archangels’ parish), Satellite Town, Lagos urged parents and institutions, to look inwards, and see where they have failed in the training of their wards. Speaking on negative behaviours exhibited by young people, Fr. Ike said it is not just a problem of the home, but also of the society. “The society has a great role to play. The society is almost in shambles; the poverty in the society, the moral decay in society. So, apart from being the problem of the society, I think it’s also a problem from the home. Teachers and parents have their roles to play.
The Church has a role to play”, he said. On the trending story of the young lady Chidinma, and the man who was killed, he said: “I wouldn’t go deep into the story of Chidinma and the man who was killed because investigations are still on. But it only shows something is wrong somewhere. To me, it’s a clarion call and a wakeup call for all parents, for all institutions to look inwards and see where they have failed.” On men being unfaithful, he said: “Well, I don’t believe that men cannot be faithful. It’s a problem of both the male folk and the female folk. All we need is discipline, and moral rectitude. Advising young people, especially ladies to be careful, Fr. Ike said: “Rome was not built in a day. Don’t be envious. Don’t look at the kind of things; clothes or dress or phones you friends carry. Sometimes, you are influenced by these things. You do not know where they have gotten them from. So, take your time, a step at time. “If you love an Iphone, you want a car, you want your own house; take your time.
When that time comes, you will get it. Work hard. Remember in the 70s, in the 80s, it wasn’t as bad as this, but it’s terrible now. So, for me, everybody should wake up; parents, men, everybody inclusive. Speaking on the significance of the feast, he said: “Today, the Archangel Parish is celebrating the Feast of Mother of Perpetual Help. It’s actually a general feast, but because today is Sunday, 13th Week in ordinary time, it’s not celebrated in all Parishes, just few parishes that have great devotion to Our Mother Mary like Archangel Parish. So, we are celebrating the help of Our Mother Mary. The role she has played in the salvation of man, and the role she continues to play as intercessor, carrying our petition before God. “It’s just like the relationship between a mother and the child. Sometimes, when you ask a child for something, you find it difficult to get it, if you go through the mother, you can actually get it. That’s exactly what we are celebrating. We cannot claim to love Jesus and don’t have recourse to His mother. So, both of them work hand in hand.
Of course you know the story of the wedding feast at Cana. He was not ready, it was not his time to begin performing miracle, but because the mother asked, and she didn’t just talk too much, simply, she just said, ‘Son, they run out of wine, and Jesus told her, ‘My hour has not yet come.’ But then, she still believed that her son will not turn her down. She went back and said, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Elaborating on the theme, he said: “The Parish has chosen the theme, ‘Mary, our consoler.’ She consoles us in our affliction. The world and humanity at the moment is faced with lots of problems, afflictions; the COVID-19, bad governance, sickness, kidnapping, problem of herdsmen, among others. So, at this point in time, while we are praying to Jesus, we should remember to talk to his mother because the role of his mother can never, never be over emphasized.” When asked if he thinks the country needs help, Fr. Ike said: “Of course, every country needs help, but I think Nigeria needs a deeper help. We need more help in Nigeria because our own situation is very peculiar. No doubt, Nigeria is in the forefront of the world.
If you go to the US, if you go to the UK, any part of the world you go to, Nigeria is always in the beam light because what we are experiencing at this moment, we have never experienced before.” In his homily delivered during the Mass celebration, Parish Priest, Ss. Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, Rev. Fr. Gabriel Achu, C.Ss.R noted that destitution, diseases, refugees, among others, are afflictions and challenges faced in the society today. He said: “Affliction has become a reality, due to the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve. They distorted the plans of God, and they brought into our lives these afflictions. This was not the original plans of God. “Consequently, when the world was afflicted by sin by our first patents, God prophesied that the Blessed Virgin Mary will become the comfort of the afflicted. God is always having a plan for us, and that plan will never fail.” He noted that if there is anybody on this earth, and in heaven that has experienced sorrow, it is the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He said that the very first people that Mary interceded for, was the couple at the wedding in Cana, adding that when the couple ran out of wine, she saved them from embarrassment. She went to her son and told him. He urged the people to emulate the virtues of Mary. ‘These virtues of Our Mother Mary, do we even try our possible best to look into them? The Blessed Virgin Mary has fundamental virtues, beautiful virtues of humility, the virtue of someone who can always give you the right words to hear, she is always ready to console us”, he said.