HomeNewsMasses in Honour of St. Josemaria Escrivá in Nigeria

Masses in Honour of St. Josemaria Escrivá in Nigeria

June 21, 2011

Tags: June 26, Holy Mass, Nigeria
A Solemn Mass in honour of St. Josemaria was said at Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Ilupeju on 25th of June. Ilupeju is in the Mainland area of Lagos, close to Ikeja, a densly populated area of Lagos and quite some distance away from Lekki, where the Mass of St. Josemaria is usually said on the occasion of his feast day.

Some people in Opus Dei had approached the Parish Priest, Fr. Iwu to ask him to say the Mass and he agreed, promising to find material about Opus Dei himself. He went ahead to research Opus Dei on the internet, particularly EWTN’s website. He began the homily by saying that we all were there to celebrate our Founder’s Day. He explained that Opus Dei meant “Work of God”, and for the benefit of visitors, “What Opus Dei is not”, what Opus Dei is, and a brief profile of the Founder. According to him, the website stated that Opus Dei had 87,000 members, a figure that would become obsolete after this Mass, because the congregation would be moved to join Opus Dei after Mass. He also said that we should not be afraid of suffering, but that we should strive to be holy in whatever circumstances we found ourselves in.
By the end of the Mass, there were about 200 people, many of whom went for Communion. After Communion, Mrs. Helen Eboigbe said a few words of thanks to the parish priest and congregation. Then in true Nigerian style, there was a second thanksgiving collection, while the choir rendered choruses and people danced to the altar to bring their gifts.

After Mass, we were invited for some refreshments which provided an opportunity to talk to people and to distribute prayer cards of St. Josemaria. Five members of Ripples Club, a secondary school club, went to the Mass and gave out flyers of “There be Dragons”, which will premiere in Nigeria this year. The Club coordinators also made new friends and re-connected with old friends, like Ogechi, one of the choir, who had rendered the Responsorial Psalm during the Mass.
It was quite a good experience to have the Mass in Ilupeju. Even those organising the Mass did not expect such a turnout, as the leaflets they had printed for the Mass could not go around. Next year’s will be even better.

Chinelo Ujubuoñu lives a few houses from the Pacelli School for the Blind and usually attends Mass there with her family. Over the past months many different people were aiming to try and organize a Mass in honour of our Father in their different parishes around the city, and for those travelling to their country homes outside of Lagos as well. Chinelo was excited about the possibility of organizing the Mass in Pacelli as it is fondly called by those who frequent the activities of the School. After consulting with the chaplain of the School, it was agreed that a Mass in honour of our Father would be held in the Chapel on Saturday July 9, 2011. Pacelli is run by Nuns and caters for young girls and boys with visual challenges.

The Mass was attended by over a hundred families and friends. It was touching to see Chinelo’s young sons running about and distributing prayer cards and Mass booklets to everyone as they entered the chapel. Even her three year old son was determined to help out in arranging a few extra chairs that were needed. Chinelo’s husband took up the job of setting up the banner of our Father behind the altar and of taking photographs during the Mass.
All the students of the school attended the Mass in their feast day uniforms. They took the readings and formed the choir. One student took the readings in Braille, she did it so well, it was touching to hear. The choir was very good and at one point got everyone swaying in their seats during the offertory with their drums and rattles. The chaplain gave a beautiful homily where he explained the need to be holy in ordinary everyday life.

After Mass, everyone gathered in the foyer for refreshments and to meet their friends. It was a unique moment and one that we will remember for a long time.
Belinda Nwosu