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CATECHIST MICHAEL OLU OMONISAYE WENT TO REST

Kabba, Kogi State, October 5-6: All roads were diverted to the busy highways of Kabba, Kogi State, Northcentral Region of Nigeria to celebrate the solemn obsequies of late Pa Michael Olu Omonisaye whom the Lord called to his eternal home on Wednesday, September 13, 2023.

The main activities started on Thursday, October 05, 2023, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Kabba, when the Bishop of Bauchi Diocese, Most Rev. Dr Hilary Nanman Dachelem, CMF, led the many Priests, Religious Men and Women and the entire faithful in the Vigil Mass at 6 o’clock. The host Bishop, Most Rev Martin Dada Abejide Olorunmolu of Lokoja Diocese, was in attendance.

The beautifully animated wake-keep, in celebration of the life of a humble Catechist, Pa Michael, who gave his life in unalloyed service to the Church, took place in the Church premises immediately after the Mass. The traditional event helped the congregants to closely accompany the bereaved Omonisaye family. It offered opportunity to relive the sweet memories of the late virtuous patriarch and relieve the mourning family from the burden of funeral arrangements in socio-cultural Nigerian setting.

The funeral Mass took place on Friday, October 06, in the same parish Church in Kabba at 9.30 am. The faithful were led in the Eucharistic celebration by the Chief Shepherd of Lokoja Diocese, Most Rev. Martin Olorunmolu and the principal mourner, Very Rev. Fr Henry Omonisaye, CMF.

“Emi l’okan,” a phrase that recently gained geo-political notoriety in the Nigerian electoral buzzword, literally translated “it is my turn,” was perfectly employed as the controlling leitmotif by the homilist, Very Rev. Fr Augustine Medaiyedu, CMF, the Major Superior of the Claretian Missionaries, West Nigeria Delegation.

Peering at the audience and gesturing towards the mortal remains of Pa Omonisaye delicately sustained by the gold-plated bier, Fr Medaiyedu, asked ironically, “Who is next?” The crowd, which understood the context, content and meaning roared into spontaneous laughter. Yes. We live in a world where struggle for number one position is prioritised. And each one is wont to say: It is my turn to be the President. It is my turn to be the Chairman/Lady. In fact, the quest for personal turns has taken horary seat in the Church. It is my turn to be the Bishop. It is my turn to be the Superior. It is my turn to be the Church Council Chairman, CWO President, etc. Now, after Pa Michael, whose turn is it to die? Who is next? Expectedly, no one gave him any answer. No one dared!

To the glory of God, the obsequies of late Pa Olu Omonisaye was a celebration of life well-spent and death well-prepared. It was a carnival of colours and personalities. Besides the two prelates earlier mentioned, the occasion witnessed the presence of the Chairman of African Claretian Missionaries and the Superior of Claretians in the entire Cameroon, Very Rev. Fr Jude Langeh Basebang, CMF; the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr Zacharia Samjumi; Provincial Superior of the Claretians East Nigeria Province represented by the Econome, Very Rev. Fr Marcel Obilor, CMF; President of Nigerian Conference of Women Religious and Superior General of Sisters of St Michael the Archangel, Very Rev. Sr Regina Oke, SSMA; many priests and religious.

Lay Claretian Missionaries from Lagos

The lay faithful were not left out. They were fully active and present in their numbers, including government officials, uniformed and non-uniformed men and women. Also the members of the Claretian family from all over Nigeria – Lagos, Abuja, Enugu etc. – graced the occasion.

Pa Michael Omonisaye was interred in his home with the traditional Catholic burial rite led by Bishop Dachelem, CMF. He was the father of Fr Henry Omonisaye, the Vicar General of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Claretian Missionaries, headquartered in Rome.

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