Otan Ayegbaju Catholics commemorate centenary anniversary with multi-million naira projects
Sons and daughters of Otan Ayegbaju, headquarters of Boluwaduro Local Govwernment Council of Osun State, will from Sunday November 29 to Sunday, December 6, 2015, celebrate the grand finale of 100 years that the Catholic faith landed in the ancient town.
The town, which has gained local and international prominence partly due to its strong Catholic community and the Oke Maria (Marian Pilgrimage Centre), is already in celebratory mood for the centenary.
Various landmark events that seek to further promote evangelisation, deepen the spiritual and economic growth of the church and members and recognise individuals and groups dead and alive have been lined up.
Furthermore, some multimillion naira physical projects are currently going on in different parts of the town most of which are due to be completed and inaugurated on or before the 6th of December 2015.
The Otan Catholic Church Centenary Anniversary Planning Committee, which was constituted about three years ago had in conjunction with and support of the Catholic faithful, friends and associates, has been working assiduously since that time.
According to the Chairman (Diaspora), Otan Ayegbaju Catholic Centenary Planning Committee, Dr. Segun Aina (OFR), one of the major highlights of the physical development aspect of the activities is the Catholic Church Centenary Centre, which is planned to be a modern facility that will cater for the spiritual and physical needs of Catholic faithful and non-Catholics alike in the town and beyond.
Work is progressing rapidly on the large expanse of land acquired for the Centre along Eripa Road, Otan Ayegbaju, which is designed to accommodate various facilities and buildings such as a new church, multipurpose auditorium, a vocational and skills acquisition facility and others.
The auditorium is designed to be a multi-purpose events place for the use of the Catholic community and others in Otan Ayegbaju and surrounding communities. The foundation laying ceremony of the project was performed by the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan and Apostolic Administrator of Osogbo Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin. On completion, it will host conferences, seminars, retreats and meetings as well as serve as a conducive arena for religious and social events.
One of the outstations of the main parish, scheduled to move from its current mass centre location to the new Catholic Centenary centre is planned to be a 400- four hundred -seater Church and will on completion be the third Catholic Church building in Otan Ayegbaju.
A vocational and skills acquisition facility where young and old people will be taught different skills is also under construction at the CCCC. There, various vocational skills like dress making, bead making, events planning and venue decoration, fashion designing, soap making, carpentry, masonry, candle making, cosmetics production etc. will be learned by interested parishioners and members of the community and surrounding areas.
Aina said, “Work is almost completed on the extensive refurbishment of the mother church, St. Nicholas Catholic Church, Otan Ayegbaju. The main church building has served the faithful for many decades and is still considered as an architectural masterpiece due to the dexterity of its original designers and builders.
“As a result, the Centenary Planning Committee resolved not to extensively change the building but to improve upon certain elements of the iconic church by providing some missing facilities, replacing old facilities and introducing some form of modernity. The refurbishment of the St. Nicholas Church is almost completed and it is expected that the formal dedication of the Church building will take place as part of the major grand finale events.
A new Church Hall next to the St Nicholas Church building is nearing completion as well as the Centenary Tower, which on completion will be an iconic structure welcoming guests to the main Parish, St. Nicholas. Earlier to kick start the commemorative events, a Marian Grotto was built near the church building about two years ago and dedicated by Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin.
The Centenary Planning Committee resolved that the completion of the new and modern Rectory Complex to provide accommodation for priests and visitors, office facilities, chapel and meeting rooms which was started by the parish over a decade ago will be one of the major tasks to be accomplished as part of the Centenary activities.
The construction of the modern and befitting rectory for the Priests has been ongoing for many years. The pace of work has been stepped up and a brand new Reverend Fathers’ house is almost set for inauguration.
A 16-chapter commemorative book on 100 years of Catholicism in Otan Ayegbaju is presently being written by a group of eminent authors and scholars from the town. Also Centenary Awards are to be given to 100 individuals (dead and alive), organisations and groups who have contributed to the growth of Catholicism in Otan Ayegbaju in the last one hundred years.
The last three days of the one week major grand finale programme starts on Friday, December 4, 2015, with tree planting in the morning as well as unveiling of photo exhibition and gallery/centenary museum, centenary symposium and book launching; while in the afternoon, the centenary awards/tributes and luncheon will hold.
On Saturday, December 5, 2015, most of the completed projects will be inaugurated, the highlight of which will be the final dedication of the refurbished St. Nicholas Catholic Church. The centenary thanksgiving Mass for the Feast day of St. Nicholas and special harvest thanksgiving are scheduled to hold on Sunday, December 6, 2015 to round off the weeklong celebration.
Aina praised the commitment of the immediate past and current Parish Priest, members of the Centenary planning Committee and the various individuals, families and societies, who have been sponsoring the various projects, and called on others who have not contributed to write their names and those of their families in gold.
He also appreciated the great spiritual leadership of His Grace Rt. Rev. Dr. Gabriel Abegunrin, the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo particularly for his encouragement, special interest and support for the Catholic Church in Otan Ayegbaju and for the celebration of the Centenary.