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At St. Lawrence, CMO savours joy of fatherhood

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Last Sunday, June 18, was the third in the month. Another Father’s Day. The celebrations were everywhere all over the world: churches, hotels, event centres and even in homes. And as it has been celebrated every year, for almost a century, daddies took a dip in entertainment waters, coming out in droves for their feast.

At St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Paiko, Idimu, Lagos, the event was a roller coaster, with breathtaking dances and twists. Fathers showed of their rhythms, metres and verse on the dance floor, which were widely applauded by the large crowd of communicants, who came to be entertained.

Held between 12pm and 4:30pm, the celebration was a perfect escape from the hustles and bustles of Lagos. The church offered traditional outdoor meals — ‘swallows’, rice, and a variety of chips, drinks and canapé — and a broad range of Christian and secular music.

The Disc Jockey played a wide selection of classic and old school music, including Naija Jamz. Everybody danced and was soaked in quality entertainment. In fact, the upcoming artiste and Oluwa crooner, DJ Ochai, thrilled guests with his freestyled songs, which members of the parish’s Catholic Youth Organisation (CYON) danced to. Ochai also performed two of his singles, Oluwa and Beautiful Place, which are enjoying tremendous airplay.

While primarily a Father’s Day celebration, the event also featured a retreat and medical screening, with men, women and children getting dunked in all the activities celebrating their fathers.

The event was approved by the church as a whole, and was organized along with the Holy Pilgrimage by the Confraternity of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour) led by two Redemptorist priests. The Redemptorist priests are the only religious order currently entrusted by the Holy See to protect and propagate a Marian religious work of art.

The high point of the celebrations was the launch of St. Joseph statute, which was anchored by Engr Moses Agbonhese, vice chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC).

Speaking on Father’s Day, Rev Fr. Cosmas Mordi, the parish priest of St. Lawrence, said, “honouring fathers is important, especially, if we consider that it’s biblical commandment.” He, however, admonished men in the church to take some time to consider all what the Heavenly Father has done for them.

Rev. Fr. Chris Ndukuba, the officiating priest of the day, added, “God Almighty is your Heavenly Father, and He is the perfect example of what it means to be a dad.”
He said men should consider some of the characteristics that set God apart and use them as a model for leading their lives.

Pius Francis, chairman of the parish’s Catholic Men Organisation (CMO), told The Guardian that the event was geared towards celebrating the bond and unity among men. “We just came up with the event as an organization and a way of saying ‘thank you’ for the dads.”

Said Francis: “We also wanted to use it to celebrate our fatherhood.”

Dr. Anthony Agboola said though the church’s CMO came up with event as a whole, he was one of the people put in charge of its planning.

He said, “I think an event like this is great. We are all about reaching out and helping people, and building up lives.”

Agboola was pleased with the turnout, especially the medical examinations on Saturday that was anchored by Fifo Kofoworola, Zannu Mary, Titiloye Oluwatobi, Olawale Stella, Adebowale Saidat and Olorunfemi Gbemisola, all from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

Mr. Deinde Akintola said the whole package came out the way it was planned. “We were a bit wary of finances, but somehow, people responded fine. This is evident in the quality of entertainment you’re seeing today. The children were well-fed and we did not forget our mothers.”

Frank Chukwuma, while noting that he has not had his Glucose check in a long while, said, “it was a really nice thing for him to do it on Father’s Day.”

Chukwuma added: “I had the feeling I wanted to do it today as soon as I heard about this in one of our meetings.”

According to Dan Onwere, a CMO member, who was at the feast celebrating with his family, “I was not disappointed with what I saw in the Father’s Day feast. It showed a people united in purpose and focus.”

However, this year, there were no couples and children dance competitions, which had been the staple of previous celebrations. The Oduwole family couldn’t defend their crown, which Ayodeji, the patriarch of the home said, “we were eagerly waiting for. My wife and I had perfected our art and were sure of another round of success. But not to worry we are still the champions.”

The celebration dates back to 1910 in Spokane, Washington, where 27-year-old Sonora Dodd proposed it as a way to honour the man (a civil war veteran William Jackson Smart) who raised her and her five siblings alone after her mom died in childbirth.

Dodd was inspired after hearing a sermon about Jarvis’ Mother’s Day in 1909 at Central Methodist Episcopal Church, and she therefore told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honouring them.

A bill to nationally recognise the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, with the fear that it would just be another commercialized holiday. The movement grew for years but only became popular in 1924 under former President Calvin Coolidge. He recommended that year the day be celebrated by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation.

The holiday gained popularity during World War II, with most men leaving their families to fight in the war. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday of June to be Father’s Day.



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