The newly constructed Formation House of the Society of St Paul at Ibadan, Nigeria, was blessed and inaugurated on 30 June 2018 by His Grace Most Rev. Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin, Archbishop of Ibadan. The occasion coincided with the Sacerdotal Silver Jubilee celebration of Fr Blaise Kandathil, Superior of Ibadan Community, as well as the Feast of St Paul the Apostle. Present on the occasion were Rev. Fr Varghese Gnalian, our Provincial Superior, Rev. Fr Jikson Mullasseril, Provincial Councilor, priests, religious, members of the Pauline Family, distinguished guests and several friends of our communities in Nigeria.
The day’s celebrations began with the cutting of the ribbon and the Rite of Blessing of the new house presided over by Archbishop Abegunrin. Following the Rite of Blessing, the stone of commemorative inscription was unveiled jointly by the Archbishop and our Provincial, Fr Varghese. This was followed by a thanksgiving Eucharist presided over by the Archbishop within the multipurpose hall of the new Formation House. During his homily Archbishop Abegunrin profusely appreciated the presence of the Society of St Paul in Nigieria and particularly at Ibadan and praised them for their zeal, efficiency and professionalism in spreading the good news of Jesus through media apostolate. He recalled that Pauline Apostolate consists mainly in transmitting knowledge in its various aspects which is essential in today’s world. “People enrich their lives by reading books,” he said. He also congratulated the jubilarian Fr Blaise Kandathil for completing 25 years in priestly ministry and yet remains youthful and energetic always.
The Holy Eucharist was followed by a reception during which various speakers felicitated the members of the Society of St Paul for the magnificent edifice of our new Formation House and Fr Blaise on his Silver Jubilee. Many of those involved in the construction of the new house, from the Architect to the contractor, to the electricians, welders, plumbers and masons, were felicitated during the reception. Fr Blaise proposed the vote of thanks. A fellowship meal brought the curtains down to the celebrations and merriment of a memorable and historic day for the Society of St Paul, especially in Nigeria.
Earlier on the day His Grace Most Rev. Felix Alaba Job, Archbishop Emeritus of Ibadan, surprised us with a friendly visit before going for another important engagement. It may be noted that it was Archbishop Felix Alaba Job who invited us and procured for us our first house and the first Book centre at Ibadan, Nigeria, 27 years ago. His gracious visit was a sign of his paternal care and affection towardsr us, Paulines, and for our apstolate. As our Baba Archbishop celebrated his 80th birthday on June 24th, we wish him good health and many more years of active service.