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A Brief History of St. Sebastian Catholic Cathedral, Odo-Egbo, Ijebu-Ode

History has it that the Catholic Church arrived in Ijebu Ode in 1911. The faith had actually been brought from Esure by the late Chief Madasa Ignatius Washington Osilaja of Ijebu Ode. The First Church was built in 1911 and was then St. Sebastian Catholic Church and later turned to St. Sebastian Catholic cathedral at the creation of the Diocese of Ijebu Ode in 1969 by Pope Paul VI with late Most rev. Anthony Saliu Sanusi as its first Bishop followed by Most Rev (Dr) Albert Ayinde Fasina in 1990 as the second and Most Rev (Dr) Francis Adesina as the third and current Bishop of the diocese.

The Church building built in 1911 began to collapse and around the year 1948, Fr. Young started block making in preparation for the building of the existing Church. Its foundation was laid in 1950 by Bishop L.H. Taylor. The said church was at that time in history was an out- station parish of the Lagos diocese. (The Archdiocese of Lagos was not yet raised to the status of an Archdiocese). Late Rev. Fr. Joseph Adeneye laid the foundation of the present Mission (fathers’) house.

The growth of this church has greatly hinged upon the assiduous effort of the Irish fathers e.g. Fr. T. Galvin, Fr. B. MacCarthy and Ijebu early priests Frs. J. L. Sadiku, M.O. Sanusi. From Epe and Orugbo respectively and some others who were Germans and French. Fr. Young and Fr. Gunn were remarkable at the growth of the Church at its early stage, so also was Fr. Kearney. Fr. Horgan, a German and Fr. Lopton, a French man, Fr. E. Birmingham were priests whose pastoral zeal bore fruit among the people of Ijebu ode, Fr. Husse was nothing less than great tan these great missionaries, so also Fr. Haniffty.

The coverage of evangelization of Saint Sebastian Parish being the base of the Clergy were Odogbolu, Okun- Owa, Ibefun, Omu-Ijebu, Ala, Atan, Imomo and Igede. Catholic teachers in those places served as service leaders on Sundays when the priest was not available. Notable among these teachers were Late Mr I.S. Coker, Mr Eweje from Abeokuta and a host of others from ijebu.

Some of the foundation members and ‘Corner Stones’ of the Church until its elevation to the status of a Cathedral were, Pa Senboyejo, Pa. Adenuga, Pa. Thomas Agele, Pa. J.O.Oshin, Idowu Atikriji, Badejo A. Porogun, Baba S.O. Adekogbe, Baba Anthony Anifaleye, Vincent Taiwo, Sanusi Erinke, Benjamin Adeyemi, Baba Onasanwo, Chief Ignatius Washington Osilaja, Michael O. Akala from Idepo, Peter Taiwo from Imua, Pa. Otudeko from Ibefun, Pa Raiji in Itoikin, Pa. Odusanya of Ala, Pa. Adubi of Okelamuren, Pa. R.O. Olusanya from Okun –Owa, Late Pa Gerard Apena from Atan served as Catechist in Ijebu Ode for many years as well as Mr. Mathias A. Obadiah.

Women were not left behind in the course of evangelization drive; prominent among these women were late Mrs Cecilia O. Akinbule (nee Otuyelu), late Mrs Koku (a.k.a. Mama Rome) and some ladies teaching at St. Augustine catholic Primary school, ijebu Ode then.

The First Baba Egbe now referred to, as Baba Ijo was Late Joseph Osunlana then Late Sanusi Erinken was the second Baba Egbe. Since this period, there had never been another Baba Egbe (Baba Ijo) until 1996 when we had Late Pa. Sir Peter Ayanbadejo and Chief (Mrs) Lucia O. Onabanjo as Iya Ijo. While Chief (Mrs) Ayodeji Omolara Adams became Iyalode and late Chief Lawrence Ogunbanjo was the Balogun Ijo.