To Worship and Work in Unity of Mind and Heart, through Liturgy, Spiritual Exercises, Education, Christian Service, Stewardship and Hospitality for all people.
THE STORY OF OUR PARISH
OUR LADY OF LOURDES CATHOLIC CHURCH, COKER
THE STORY OF A PARISH
The story started in 1971 when some men, decided to come together for the purpose of worshiping God in the true Catholic faith. At that time, there were only a few Catholic churches within the Surulere environs: St. Anthony’s Gbaja, St. Theresa’s Marine Beach, St. Paul’s Ebute-Metta and St. Dominic’s Yaba. Many people living in Orile or Coker then, worshipped at any of the parishes that were nearby. It was as a result of this difficulty of going far on Sundays to worship that prompted the late Bonaventure Onyeugo, late Anthony Njoku, Mr. Peter Azumini, Mr. Paul Onyeugo, and a few others to take steps to establish a mass center nearby. They used Mr. Peter Azumini’s sitting room as their church with his reading table as the altar; this was at No. 8, Ekunjimi Street, in the Sari Iganmu area.
According to Mr. Paul Onyeugo, one of the founding fathers and who is still a parishioner to date, the clapping of hands and the singing of hymns during mass earned Mr. Peter Azumini whose parlor was used as a church, the wrath of his landlord. Typical of landlords, Mr. Azumini was asked to vacate the two-room apartment with immediate effect. This quit order, no doubt, devastated Mr. Azumini and dealt a heavy blow to the nascent church. Mr. Azumini had later relocated to Port Harcourt leaving his sheep to fend for themselves.
THE LATE PA AMONA COMES TO THE RESCUE
The quest for an alternative accommodation led one of the early members of the church, Mrs. Benedicta Kabiri to contact one of her friends who was believed to be a relation of the late Pa Amona. The contact paid off as Pa Amona accepted to accommodate the church. The church in 1972 then relocated to Pa Amona’s parlor. With the population of the church growing, it was obvious that Pa Amona’s parlor was becoming grossly inadequate, the need to move to a more commodious and comfortable space becomes inevitable.
L. A. SCHOOL ACCOMMODATES THE CHURCH
As the number of worshippers grew, members decided to meet the parish priest of St. Anthony’s Gbaja, Rev. Fr. Coakley, who was then the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Lagos, to invite him to celebrate mass for them. He instructed them to get in touch with one Mr. Polycarp Uwalaka who was a catechist at St. Mary’s Ajegunle at the time.
Mr. Polycarp Uwalaka joined the young church in 1972; by this time the number of worshippers had multiplied. According to Mr. Uwalaka, by November 1972, they were in all 38 persons who worshipped in Pa Amona’s sitting room. As a result of the increase in population, Pa Amona, who was the custodian of the keys of L.A. School (just in front of his house), approached the school’s management for permission to use the premises of the school for fellowships. With the movement to L. A. primary school, the church was formally Christened St. Augustine Catholic Church, Orile Iganmu, Lagos.
FROM ST. AUGUSTINE TO O.L.L
Following the movement of the church from the parlor of Pa Amona to the premises of the L. A. School, the new church decided to go for membership drive by organizing some out-door activities. On the weekend of 11 February 1973, Legionaries from the nearby catholic parishes assembled at Orile for a Legion project geared towards sensitizing the people of the area. The project ended with an open-air mass on the 12th of February 1973. The project was a huge success as over 47 infants were baptized that day. On that day too, the church changed its name from St. Augustine to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Orile. According to the officiating priest, the change of name was necessary because the activities coincided with the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Besides, the number of worshippers particularly those baptized that day was attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The following Sunday, a total of 78 adults worshipped at the church with 58 children receiving First Holy Communion. The need to train altar servers to replace those coming from St. Anthony became necessary. Mr. Polycarp Uwalaka who had become the church’s catechist organized the children for catechism classes in the afternoon and evening.
MOVEMENT TO THE PRESENT SITE
Change, they say, is the only permanent thing in life. It was time again for another exodus. The church began to make plans to move to a permanent site.
According to Paul Onyeugo, “Coker was an isolated area, the only place you will find settlement was Coker compound”. The first portion of land shown to the church was rejected on the grounds that there was no room for expansion. A bigger portion of land was presented to the church which is its present location. The landowners initially were rather skeptical at the ability of the church to afford the cost of the land, because of its small population. The church was bailed out of the financial quagmire by a philanthropist; Pa Amoje, of St. Anthony’s Gbaja, who according to Mr. Uwalaka, purchased and donated the land to the church.
A ROOF OVER OUR HEAD
With the acquisition of land, a roof was needed to accommodate the worshippers. The land appeared to be too vast for the population of the church then. In order to safeguard it from encroachment by people, members decided to use part of it for their personal farming activities. As the fear of encroachment heightened, they took quick steps to secure the land by printing appeal fund cards to generate money. This was spearheaded by the late Andy Nwankwo who mobilized the youths for this purpose. With the money generated, a fence was erected. In 1975, the first wooden shed – ‘Pako’- was built with N45 (forty-five naira) life-line from the Reverend father Coakley. By this time, the population of the church had grown to a little over five hundred (500) worshippers including children. The building of the ‘Pako’, as the wooden shed was popularly called, took some time due largely, to lack of funds and materials. It was said that Fr. Coakley single-handedly provided the twenty-eight bags of cement used for the flooring while the labor was communal. By January 1976, the church finally moved from L. A. School to where it is today.
By 1980, with the coming of Rev. Fr. Pratt as the parish priest, the construction of the parish building began. The building was completed, dedicated and blessed on the 6th of December, 1981 by the Archbishop. By September of 1984, the construction of the present Rev. Fathers’ building began and was completed in 1986.
THE AUGUSTINIANS CAME
With the completion of the Rev. Fathers’ house in 1986, the church was set for the status of a parish. As a rule, no church is granted a parish if it has no resident priests. Two orders were interested to serve the parish. The Redemptorist Fathers were the first to come. After inspecting the church, they went to another new parish at Satellite Town with a view to comparing the two parishes and making their choice thereafter.
While the Redemptorist Fathers were away in satellite Town inspecting the parish there, the Augustinians came, inspected the parish, and stayed. By the time the Redemptorists came back with their report in which they chose Our Lady of Lourdes Coker Orile as their first choice, the archbishop told them that the Augustinians had made their choice known first because they came, saw the place, and chose it. So on August 25th, 1987, the Augustinians arrived Our Lady of Lourdes Church Coker Iganmu.
BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR PARISH
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church began its life at the Local Authority (LA) Primary School, Orile, with only thirteen (13) worshippers. On the 13th of October, 1972; the founding name was St. Augustine Catholic Church. The first mass was said by Rev. Fr. Jeremiah Coakley (SMA) on the 22nd of November, 1972.
On the 11th of February 1973, members of the Legion of Mary from all parts of Surulere converged at Orile to celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The success of that outing prompted the parish priest Fr. Coakley to change the name of the parish from St. Augustine to Our Lady of Lourdes. The first set of children 58 of them received their first Holy Communion. The first Harvest Thanksgiving and Bazaar sale were held in the last quarter of 1974.
By early January 1975, clearing work started on the permanent site on the 11th Feb. 1980, the foundation stone of the first parish church was laid on the 6th December 1981 The church was officially opened and blessed by His Grace, Archbishop (now Cardinal) A. O. Okogie. By September 1989. The foundation of the Rev. Fathers’ House was laid. On the 6th of December 1986, His Grace again opened and blessed the Fathers’ building. The first Augustinians arrived with Fr. Martin Crean OSA as the first Parish Priest in 1987. On January 14, 1988, Most Rev. Dr. Nolan Prior Gen. of the Order visited the parish.
On the 13th February 1994, Archbishop Okogie celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation and announced the approval of the Ultra Modern Parish Church Building by the Land and Building Commission of the Archdiocese. February 20, 1995, Nova Coke Building Limited moved on site to start work of the church building estimated then, to cost N85m.
On November 1, 2007, the new church building, an architectural masterpiece, an edifice of sheer beauty and joy was dedicated after 13 long years of hard work and commitment. The parish which started with just 13 worshippers has over twenty thousand (20,000) worshipers.
IMPORTANT PARISH ACTIVITIES
Our Lady of Lourdes’ Parish is a happening parish with both spiritual and social activities lined up from February to December every year. Some of the activities can be found here.
NAMES OF PARISH PRIEST AND ASSOCIATES
The Parish is served by the Order of St. Augustine (a.k.a Augustinians) OSA. The current Pastoral Team is like this
- Rev. Fr. Nicholas Bariki OSA – Parish Priest
- Rev. Fr. Kingsley Akan OSA
- Rev. Fr. Joseph Jiwok OSA
PARISH ADDRESS/TEL NUMBERS
Catholic Mission Street, Coker Village, Orile – Iganmu, Lagos. P.O.Box 6650, Surulere, Lagos.
Tel: 01-6608591 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sunday Masses: 6.00am, 7.45am, 9.30am, 11.00am and 6.00pm
- Children Mass: 9.30 am
- Weekday Masses: Monday – Friday 6.15 am, 12 noon, and 6.30 pm
- Saturday 6.30 am
- St. Thomas of Villanova, Abata Mass Centre: Sunday – 6.30 am
Thursday – 6.30 am
LIST OF SOCIETIES
- CATHOLIC MEN ORGANISATION
- CATHOLIC WOMEN ORGANISATION
- CATHOLIC YOUTH ORGANISATION
- ASSOCIATION OF SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY
- CATHOLIC CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
- CHRISTIAN MOTHERS
- CATHOLIC HOLY NAME FELLOWSHIP
- AVE MARIA CHORAL SOCIETY
- ST. JUDE SOCIETY
- ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
- ST. RITA
- ST. MONICA
- ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
- CATHOLIC BIBLICAL INSTRUCTORS UNION
- WORLD APOSTOLATE OF FATIMA (BLUE ARMY)
- BAORD OF LECTORS
- BAORD OF CHURCH WARDEN
- YOUNG CHRISTIAN WORKERS MOVEMENT
- YOUNG CATHOLIC WOMEN ORGANISATION
- MARY LEAGUE GIRLS ASSOCIATION
- PURGATORIAN SOCIETY
- LEGION OF MARY
- QUEEN OF ALL HEART
- BLOCK ROSARY CRUSADE
- ALTAR SERVERS
- BLESSED TANSI SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
- INFANT JESUS
- ST. PIO SOCIETY
- DIVINE MERCY APOSTOLATE
- VOLUNTARY CATECHIST ASSOCIATION
- ST. MICHAEL (YORUBA GROUP)
- ST. PATRICK (IHOBO GROUP)
- OUR LADY STAR OF THE STAR (TOGOLESE GROUP)
- AUGUSTINIAN YOUNG PEOPLE ASSOCIATION
- JUSTICE DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE COMMISSION
- ST. PHILOMENA
- Rev Fr. Nicholas Bariki, (OSA)
- Rev Fr. Kingsley Akan, (OSA)
- Rev Fr. Joseph Jiwok, (OSA)
- Rev Fr. Michael Okpe, (OSA)
Sisters of St. Louis & EHJ
- Mr Eliseus Ololo
Our Lady of Lourdes, we hail you. Our dear Holy Mother, we love you. Mother, pray for your children; now and for evermore.
Immaculate Conception, we honor you. Health of the Sick, we salute you. May the miracle of Massabielle return today. As a family of Our lady of Lourdes Coker, we all sing. CHORUS
Our mother in Eighteen Fifty-Eight (1858), you reveal yourself to a little girl Bernadette of lourdes. May we share in the joy of your revelation. As a family of Our lady of Lourdes Coker, we all sing. CHORUS
O Mother, you are so beautiful; Lovelier than all eyes can behold. Dear mother, beautify our lovely parish. As a family of Our Lady of Lourdes Coker, we all sing. CHORUS
FEAST DAY OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES
Our Lady of Lourdes is a Roman Catholic title of the Blessed Virgin Mary venerated in honour of the Marian apparitions that occurred in 1858 in the vicinity of Lourdes in France.
The first of these is the apparition of 11 February 1858, when 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous told her mother that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a kilometre and a half (1 mi) from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend.
Similar apparitions of “Our Lady” were reported on seventeen occasions that year, until the climax revelation of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception took place.
In 18 January 1862, Pope Pius IX authorized Bishop Bertrand-Sévère Laurence to permit the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes.
On 3 July 1876, the same Pontiff officially granted a Canonical Coronation to the image that used to be in the courtyard of what is now part of the Rosary Basilica.
The image of Our Lady of Lourdes has been widely copied and reproduced in shrines and homes, often in garden landscapes. Soubirous was later canonized as a Catholic saint.
Feast day: February 11
Date: 11 February to 16 July 1858
Holy See Approval: 3 July 1876, during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX
Shrine: Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lourdes, France
Location: Lourdes, France
Witness: Saint Bernadette Soubirous
SOCIETIES AND THEIR SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS
REV FR. NICHOLAS BARIKI, (OSA)
- ST. JUDE
- CHURCH WARDEN
- MARY LEAGUE
- ST. VINCENT DE PAUL
- QUEEN OF ALL HEARTS
REV FR. KINGSLEY AKAN, (OSA)
- ST. MONICA
- ST. PHILOMENA
- ST. RITA
- RED CROSS
REV FR. JOSEPH JIWOK, (OSA)
- APOSTLESHIP OF PRAYER LEAGUE
- AVE MARIA (TOGOLESE)
- BLOCK ROSARY
- HOLY INFANT JESUS
- PRECIOUS BLOOD
- ST. ANTHONY
- ASSOCIATION OF SACRED HEART
REV FR. MICHAEL OKPE, (OSA)
- ALTAR SERVERS
- BLESSED TANSI
- BLUE ARMY
- BOARD OF LECTORS
- DIVINE MERCY
- HOLY NAME FELLOWSHIP
- LEGION OF MARY
- ST. MICHAEL
- ST. PIO
- MOTHER OF GOOD COUNSEL