The ancient town of Oro, Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State was a beehive of activities last week. The sleepy town attracted dignitaries from far and near as St Andrew Catholic Church celebrated 100 years of Catholicism in the town.
Prominent persons at the event included Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and 2019 All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the state, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq.
Others at the centenary anniversary were Catholic Bishop of Ilorin Ayo-Maria Atoyebi, other clergymen and parishioners.
In his sermon, Bishop Atoyebi urged parents to caution their wards against acquisition of wealth at all cost and by all means.
He said, "There are now many churches and power houses only established to entice people for power and money. And people who want to get money or power at all cost throng the places.
"I call on parents and guardians to check their wards against get-rich-quick-syndrome and behaviour. Families should be observant of their children and happenings around them."
Speaking with reporters after the event information and culture minister, who hails from the town said: "100 years of Catholicism anywhere is worth celebrating and in Oro where I come from, the beauty of this celebration is that it is being celebrated by Muslims and Christians. It shows religious tolerance that Oro is noted for. We thank God that we are alive to witness this event.
"As per Leah Sharibu, our message to Nigerians is that as far as we are concerned, any of our citizens whether boy or girl, whether Muslim or Christian, is dear to us. We do not look at Leah Sharibu as a Christian. We look at her as a daughter of this country for which we swore to defend every citizens. We are doing our best to ensure the safe release of Leah Sharibu."
APC governorship candidate Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq told our correspondent on the sidelines of the event that: "We are here to celebrate with the people of Oro and the church, the people have done a great work. Since this church started, look at the impact it has made on the community. They have schools. So the impact has been felt, we all need to celebrate with the church and its impact on the community.”
Earlier the St Andrew's Oro Parish Priest Rev Father Joseph Awoyale said the church has plans off its sleeves to establish a clinic in Oro, Irepodun local government area of Kwara State.
The aim is to promote the health of both members and non-members of Catholic Church in Oro community as well as spread the gospel of Christ.
Rev Awoyale said that the clinic that will be sited inside the church to take care of residents of the area free of charge.
He added that the church had carried out a three-day free medical outreach among residents of the area as part of activities to mark 100 years of the church.
He said that the three-day free medical outreach performed by some US volunteer medical practitioners, afforded people with free treatment and drugs on common ailments and simple surgeries.
"Last week we had what we called medical outreach. And we have medical volunteers from America who came and treated people free of charge without religious discrimination.
"We have in mind the establishment of a clinic which will be permanent here in the church. Health is wealth. If you are not healthy worshipping God will not be an easy task.
Rev Awoyale, who said that evangelism involves educational development of the area as well as act of treating people as fellow human beings, added that the act was handed down to present church leaders by the early missionaries as part of efforts to win more souls.
He said that scholarship award was also instituted for students who take first position, adding that many Muslim students had benefitted from the programme as part of evangelism.
Also speaking, Baba Ijo of the St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Sir John Adeoti, said that part of achievements of the church in the past 100 years in Oro town include establishment of coeducational schools and girl's only school as well as a general hospital, adding that people
had been brought to light from darkness through Christianity.
Adeoti said that the schools had produced professionals and educationists, adding that the church had produced over 30 indigenous fathers and 15 sisters since after exit of foreign missionaries in the church.
He said that some challenges faced by the church during the early days was the need to choose only one wife, especially, among those polygamous men according to dictate of Catholic Church.
He said that then that land acquisition for religious purposes was very tough and difficult.