……As Agege Deanery, St. Cyprian mark Cultural Day
“Our diversity as a nation is not a cause for division! We have been brought together in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and our union with Christ makes us one in faith through Him who reconciled us to God…we are one family, irrespective of race, colour, culture or ethnicity…” This was the declaration of Very Rev. Fr. Jude Abulu, Chaplain, Agege Deanery Laity Council penultimate Saturday at the 2023 Agege Deanery Cultural Day with the theme: “One Spirit, One Faith, Many Tongues” Act 2: 4, hosted by St. Thomas Catholic Church, Onilekere, Lagos. Fr. Abulu who is also the Parish Priest of St. Catherine Catholic Church, Alakuko, noted that the Unity Torch of the festival that had earlier been taken around the 14 Parishes that make up the deanery would have, in his words, ” inflamed the heart of our worship, knitting each parish in a cord of unbroken union together within the deanery…”
He congratulated the Deanery Laity Executives, who he said worked harmoniously with the Parish priests and Very Rev. Fr. Sebastian Ngene, Dean of Agege Deanery to make the event a huge success. Similarly, Mr. Hyacinth Anosike, Agege Laity Council Chairman, reminded the faithful not to ignore their culture, by bringing up their children and wards to understand the local dialects. According to him, “our African culture teaches us good values, teaches us decent dressing, respect for elders and discipline.” The event which began with Mass and Thanksgiving, had the 14 parishes well represented and colourfully dressed in the traditional attires of ethnic groups assigned to each parish. The high point of the occasion was the investiture of Patrons and Patronesses, cultural display, entertaiment and launch of bus.
In attendance were, Very Rev. Fr. Sebastian Ngene, Dean, Agege Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Richard Fasuyi, Very Rev. Fr. Sebastian Appiah- the host, among other priests, and prominent lay faithful, including Mr. Julius Ezeifedi Ugonna, Archdiocesan President of Laity Council. In another celebration, a Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Aladesiun has stated that until Nigerians, and indeed, Catholic faithful recognise the place of culture as the antidote to the negative influence of the so-called Western civilisation, the country would continue to sink deeper into moral decadence and deprivation. Fr. Emmanuel Aladesiun made the submission in his homily recently at St. Cyprian Catholic Church, Oko-Oba, Agege, as the Church marked its Patron’s Saint, St. Cyprian Feast Day and Cultural Fiesta.
Stressing on the importance of the nation’s cultural heritage, Fr. Emmanuel Aladesiun identified and praised the rich culture of Nigeria, though diverse in nature, linking it to the parable of the vineyard, and indeed, the readings and gospel of the day, where the culture of integrity, sincerity and truth are emphasised. He said the good citizens, as St. Paul pointed out, hold on to what is noble and honourable; just and pure, insisting that God has given man the vineyard to protect, and if he fails to do so, He (God) will take it away from him. Fr. Aladesiun noted that Saint Cyprian “we are celebrating today should be emulated. He left everything, including his enormous wealth and used same for the sake of the kingdom by winning souls for Christ.”
Addressing parishioners, invited guests and well-wishers at the event, Fr. Fasuyi wished them a happy celebration, just as he was ushered into the arena with a horse, symbolising the culture of the northern region, host of this year’s cultural fiesta. The faithful were grouped into zones – northern, South-south, Southeast, Southwest zones, all beautifully decked in traditional attires of their respective regions. High point of the occasion was the recognition of Engr. Chuks Nzei’s special award conferred on him by His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins for his contributions to humanity and Church growth in the Archdiocese of Lagos and beyond. The event also witnessed dancing competition, local delicacies, with host society, Ss. Peter & Paul, representing the northern zone, emerging as overall champions.