The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins has urged Catholics to pay attention to the word of God that is proclaimed on the altar, as well as allow the Word to find a place in their heart, and impact their lives positively. Archbishop Martins who gave the charge recently, during the dedication of St. Andrew Catholic Church, Ilemba, Lagos further urged the people to allow the word of God, to guide them in all they do. While calling on the people to be kind to one another, Archbishop Martins said the people will encounter Jesus in one another, when they come to Church. For Rev. Fr. Clement Odoemene C.Ss.R, Parish Priest, St. Andrew Catholic Church, Ilemba, it was great joy, as he thanked God for making the church dedication a reality. “It is indeed with great joy that we give God all the glory and thanksgiving, as we move into His house with songs of joy. In the book of exodus 25:8, the Lord commanded that a sanctuary be made for him, so that he can reside among the people. The temple became the dwelling place of God.
It became the holy place of sacrifice. Solomon built a beautiful temple for God, where Israelites upon dedication were filled with joy, and God’s blessings descended upon them. “Today, we rejoice, as we go into the house of the Lord, to dedicate His dwelling place. Psalm 122:1 states, ‘I rejoice that they said to me, let us go to the house of the Lord.’ What the Lord started, he has brought to completion. As the scripture states in Phil 1:6, he who began a good work in you, will carry it onto completion.” Giving a history of the parish, he said: “In 1996, the foundation of the church building as an outstation of St. Patrick, Alaba, was laid by His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, with Fr. Patrick Scott, C.Ss.R, the then Parish Priest of St. Patrick, Alaba. For the past 25 years, St. Andrew Catholic Church had undergone series of construction. “In November 2007, St. Andrew was elevated to the status of a parish, and the pioneer Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. ThankGod Ihejirika, C.Ss.R, with his Pastoral Team and Council, started the process of reconstructing and remodeling the church building.
This remodeling continued with subsequent Parish Priests; Rev. Fr. Jude Gibah, C.Ss.R and Rev. Fr. Desmond Ebulue, C.Ss.R, with their respective Pastoral Team and Council. Their efforts and missionary zeal gave rise to what we celebrate today. Indeed, it has been a great and steady journey. We thank God for His sustainability.” Also speaking on the occasion, Elder Peter Odafe Brosu, Chairman, Dedication Planning Committee recounted their blessings, as the aim to build a dwelling place for God has come to reality in St. Andrew Catholic Church, Ilemba. He commended the Dedication Committee members, the Pastoral team, and the parishioners for their various inputs to the success of the occasion, as he prayed that God will reward their efforts. “Many in the past have contributed their quota to the growth of this community, and are not alive to be part of the celebration, may God reward them even in death. For those who have relocated or too old or probably sick, and could not be with us now, be sure that your reward will not elude you”, he prayed. The relics of three saints were deposited beneath the altar, namely, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Clement Hofbauer and St. Gerard Magella.