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IN FOUR YEARS (Tribute to our Chief Shepherd)

It's the 4th Anniversary of the installation of Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins as the Archbishop of Lagos. How quickly time flies!

 

These four years have been marked by unprecedented physical, pastoral and spiritual developments.

 

In four years, he has created 8 more Deaneries and over 40 new parishes and dedicated over 15 churches. The number of confirmations are uncountable. Today, our children can now receive First Holy Communion at the minimum age of 8 and Confirmation at the minimum age of 10. All in the bid to integrate them into the sacramental life of the Church and catch them very young. May God be praised.

 

In four Years he has promulgated the Parish Guidelines for the pastoral administration, management of finances and human resources of the parish and the Archdiocese. This has proven to be a gift from heaven as it has put structures to the parish life and administration, and helped grow an engaged church. The implementation of the guideline is still being studied and a review conducted to ensure its purpose is fully realized.

 

In four years, he has permitted over 11 priests to proceed on further studies and major in various areas; three in america, two in Rome, one in Spain, one in France, one in CIWA and three in Unilag. Some more have been given green light to begin in the coming year. Others have done some studies in accounting and some have obtained masters in online studies. His commitment to education and intellectual development of priests is beyond compare.

 

In four years, he has established Caritas Lagos Fund with which to assist dioceses, mission territories, congregations, institutions, parishes and individuals outside the Archdiocese who have financial needs and who have approached the Archdiocese for help. Caritas Lagos functions like a "Micro-Propaganda Fidei" in Lagos and it has been of great help to many people especially Dioceses in the North affected by either insurgency or flood and also the internally displaced people in Maidugiri, Borno and Yola.

 

In four years, he has acquired landed properties in the urban as well as rural areas of Lagos for physical development and empowerment of the locals. For instance, in uptown Lagos, the Archdiocese has a place in the ultra modern Eko Atlantic City. This is to ensure the Church is not left behind when people move into the city. In Banana island, the Archdiocese is not left out as efforts are being made to secure a place of worship. In the hinterlands  of Badagry and Ikorodu, large hectares of lands designated for Schools and other physical developments have been secured and we have taken possession of these parcels of land.

 

In four years, a committee has been set up and commissioned with an urgent mandate to realize the vision of the Archdiocese to build a Retirement Home for Priests. Mobilization fund has been approved and the retirement home is named after John Mary Vianney, the patron of priests. It is glad to know work is in progress.

 

In four years, a committee has been commissioned to come up with ideas, drawings and recommendations on the possibility of a more befitting Chancery for the Archdiocese and Archbishop's Residence. This committee has begun their meetings already.

 

In four years, he has set up and commissioned a number of committees to come up with guidelines and policies on various aspect of the life of the Church in Lagos, namely; a. Committee on Evangelization; b. Committee on  Vocation and Formation; c. Committee on Youth Ministry; d. Committee on Media and Social Communication; e. Committee on Healing Ministry. These committees headed by various priests have swung into action, in line with their mandate and in keeping with the timeframe.

 

In the same token, the Laity of the Archdiocese has been mandated to oversee the building a Pastoral Centre for the Archdiocese. This project is about to kickoff.

 

Within this four years, the Augustine University started by Anthony Cardinal Okogie, the Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, has been approved and its pioneer students have resumed studies and already had their maiden matriculation. Within four Years, St. Albert the Great Major Seminary, which was largely built by Lagos Archdiocese with some support from dioceses within the Lagos, IBADAN and Benin Provinces, and some individuals, has been inaugurated. This seminary would not have been a reality without  Archbishop A.A. Martins who personally saw to it and used his office to appeal to the clergy and lay faithful of Lagos Archdiocese to ensure the Seminary project is realized. Thanks to Fr. Julius Olaitan, Sir Iwuchukwu and their team for their tireless good works and supervision.

 

The success of the Year of Mercy Pilgrimage to the Cathedral every Tuesday from 9am to 5pm, is unquantifiable. Thanks to the Archbishop who not only set up a committee headed by Fr. Olaitan to oversee this but approved all their proposals and makes sure he is personally present every Tuesday to lead his flock through the Holy Door  and preside at the Mass, when he is not on assignment. We can go on and on.

 

We salute and thank the Archbishop for his remarkable vision and the tremendous growth witnessed in the Archdiocese within these four years. Without much noise, he has carried on with the legacy of his predecessor and taken the Archdiocese to greater heights. Indeed, God has been faithful and benevolent to us.

 

There is no better way to express this than in the words of the psalmist: "No word, no voice, no speech is heard yet their span extends through all the earth...to the utmost bound of the earth (Ps.19:3)." This indeed is the work of the Lord and it is marvelous in our sight. May God be praised both now and forevermore.

 

As we congratulate the Archbishop, we thank all the clergy, religious and lay faithful, whose support and collaboration, made these achievements possible. May God grease your elbows with more strength.  Amen.

 

We wish the Archbishop a happy, holy and healthy celebration. May St. John Mary Vianney whose memorial we celebrate today, intercede for you.

 

E pe fun wa.

 


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