By Charles Igwe
The Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos has unveiled an exciting week-long lineup of activities to celebrate the 25th Episcopal and 40th Priestly ordination anniversaries of Most Rev Dr. Adewale Martins, the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.
The highlight of these festivities will be a special Holy Mass held at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos on September 16th, 2023. This Mass serves as a double celebration for Archbishop Martins, commemorating not only his 25th anniversary as an Episcopate but also his remarkable 40th Priestly ordination anniversary. He will share this milestone with his esteemed colleagues, Very Rev Msgr. Edmond Babashay Akpala, Very Rev Msgr. Jerome Gbenga Odunkan, Very Rev Fr. Michael Femi Akintolu, and Very Rev Alphonsus Iweanya Ania.
These distinguished individuals, known as “The class of 83,” were Archbishop Martins’ classmates at Saints Peter and Paul Major Seminary in Bodija, Ibadan. They were ordained on the same day, September 18th, 1983, at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos, solidifying their lifelong bond.
The festivities will kick off on Friday, September 15th, 2023, with a musical concert hosted at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Victoria Island, Lagos. Numerous events have been planned to commemorate this dual anniversary, including the ordination of Priests, the Grand Finale of a quiz challenge involving families from Parishes across the Archdiocese, and charitable visits to local Charity Homes.
The celebratory week will culminate on Sunday, September 23, 2023, with a special Holy Mass, followed by the presentation of awards to members of the Clergy, Religious, and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese. These awards serve as a token of appreciation for their selfless services to the church and humanity.
The historic journey of Archbishop Martins’ Episcopacy began in Rome, 14 years after his ordination as a Priest of the Archdiocese of Lagos. On October 24th, 1997, he was appointed the Bishop of Abeokuta by Pope Saint John Paul II and consecrated on January 24th, 1998. Subsequently, on May 25th, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Anthony Cardinal Okojie as Archbishop of Lagos and appointed Bishop Martins as Archbishop-elect of Lagos. He was installed as the 4th Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos on August 4th, 2012, marking the continuation of his remarkable journey in service to the church and the community.