By Constaincia Uruakpa
The Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Matins has tasked all priests, and religious working in the Archdiocese of Lagos, as well as the lay faithful, to be mindful of the second wave of the Covid-19 that is sweeping through the country, as he urged them to individually take safety precautions to overcome the disease. The Chief Shepherd who gave this charge in a Special Circular dated January 13, 2021, while noting that Lagos remains the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria with the highest number of cases, urged the people to do all that is necessary to stem the spread of the virus, which include wearing of face mask, washing of hands frequently, as well as maintaining the required physical distancing.
He said: “Dear Msgri./Frs., Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, some important information as we begin the New Year: The Covid-19 Second Wave: with the second wave of the Covid-19 sweeping through the country, it is important to renew our call to all Priests, Religious and lay faithful not to let down our guards. We must individually take personal responsibility to help overcome this pandemic by taking the protocols and the safety precautions more seriously and at all times.
“It is clear that the City of Lagos remains the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria with the highest number of cases. We must therefore do all that is necessary to stem the spread of the virus.
“We must wear the face mask properly, wash our hands frequently, maintain the required physical distance and avoid going to places that we do not really need to be. We noticed that the practice of using the face mask properly has been on a steady decline and so we encourage everyone to wear the face mask even if inconvenient.
“A little inconvenience is a price worth paying for keeping oneself and others safe from the virus. “In this regard, we hereby direct that priests and other ministers on the sanctuary should henceforth wear the face mask even while celebrating Mass and other sacraments within the Archdiocese.
“It is important that we pay attention to this precaution not only as a safety precaution to curb the spread of the virus, but also as a symbol to demonstrate the need for everyone to do the same.”
The Archbishop also announced further appointments in the Archdiocese. “You will recall that in the Special Circular of December, 2020, we indicated that there were other appointments that would be made in the year,” he stated. The Chief Shepherd further disclosed that Rev. Fr. Simeon Irabor and Rev. Sr. Doris Gali, SHCJ, have been appointed Director, Pontifical Mission Society and Coordinator, Holy Childhood Association in that order.
The appointments also included 8 new Chaplains – Very Rev. Fr. Francis Ike, Chaplain, Catholic Men Organisation/Catholic Confraternity of Christian Fathers; Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Anokerie, Chaplain, Association of Papal Knights and Medalists, Rev. Fr. Anthony Okoro, Chaplain, Board of Lectors and Rev. Fr. Alexander Oboh, Chaplain, St. Jude Society. Others are Rev. Fr. Andrew Abhullime, Chaplain, Blue Army; Rev. Fr. Jude Uche, CM, Chaplain, Society of St. Vincent de Paul; and Rev. Fr. Augustine Oni OFM Cap, Chaplain, St. Pio Prayer Group and Rev. Fr. Gabriel Fatoye, Chaplain, Guild of St. Anthony. To complete the placements of Priests, Very Rev. Fr. Matthew Ogunyase, Rev. Fr. Fidelis Umole and Rev. Fr. Anthony Okoro were appointed Parish Priests of St. Christopher, Oke Odo, St. Timothy, Ojodu and Mother of Perpetual Help, Ijegun-Imore. On the list of postings of the Associate Parish Priests are Rev. Fr. Callistus Afangideh and Rev. Fr. Joseph Okafor assigned to St. Benjamin’s, Olowora and Holy Redeemer, Shibiri. Archbishop Martins on a final note said that the creation of new Deaneries announced at the Priestly Ordination held on 18th December, 2020, the jurisdictions of Deaneries in the Archdiocese have been redefined. The Archdiocese now has 20 Deaneries – Agege, Ajah, Apapa, Badagry, Epe, Festac, Iba, Ijanikin, Ijede, Ikeja, Ikorodu, Ilemba, Ipaja, Isolo, Lagos Island, Lekki, Maryland, Satellite, Surulere and Yaba Deaneries.