Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo has urged all Christian faithful and Nigerians to be thankful to God despite the current coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
Badejo gave the advice on Tuesday in his sermon during the Chrism Mass he celebrated with representatives of his priests at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Cathedral, Oyo, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria.
According to Badejo, it is the duty of all to appreciate God at all times.
The Bishop added: “By celebrating Chrism Mass in this manner today, and as we pray in Psalm 42, we also encourage our people to unite all their deprivations, restrictions and pain with that of Jesus Christ as we go through this Holy Week.
“May our faith and hope see us through these rough times to come back to a holier, stronger and a happier community of God’s people ready to meet our saviour.”
He added that today being the Mass of the blessing of Holy Oils symbolises a joyful day.
Badejo said: “It is indeed a day of joy when we priests gather to celebrate our calling and to be reminded of the powerful, sacred means by which God called and empowered us to serve his Church.
“This is the Holy Spirit which we have received, the Oil of Catechumens, Oil of the Sick and the oil of Chrism with which we sanctify God’s people in the sacraments.
“On this day as well, priests all over the world normally gather around their Bishop and renew their vows of fidelity to Jesus Christ and the authority of the Church invested in the Bishop.”
Bishop Badejo, however, said it was unfortunate that the Chrism Mass of this year was very different due to the fight against COVID 19 pandemic.
He said: “It is a most unusual atmosphere in this Cathedral at the Chrism Mass this year which we are having to celebrate with a very small representative number of the people of God because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We are compelled to ask God to heal our world, heal our land and heal his people so that we may return to the best of times in worship of him.
“We also prayed for the authorities, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, care givers, donors, priests and all others who are working hard to combat the spread of the virus.
“May God strengthen them and make them successful in their work.”
Badejo said the church had and would always continue to comply with all restrictions from civil authorities that would further help the society to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
He said this was because because COVID-19 had threatened the human life, which he described as “a gift from God”.
He said: “The Church is unapologetically pro-life and will do anything to preserve and protect human lives.
“My brother priests, as we celebrate and renew our vows today on behalf of our other brothers, we joyfully recall the spirit of God by whom we have been called and anointed.
“May our faith and hope see us through these rough times to come back to a holier, stronger and a happier community of God’s people ready to meet our Saviour.”