Tribute to Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Abiola Adebayo: 10 Facts about this servant of God
By Padre Mike Umoh
1. Mariologist: Great teacher and foremost promoter of Marian Devotion.
2. Ardent Marian Devotee: He was a great Marian devotee and special son of our Blessed Mother, Mary.
3. Committed Priest: He was fully available and committed Catholic Priest; could say several private Masses in a day.
4. Pastoral Zeal: Full of pastoral zeal, he built parish communities and established a good number of parishes in the following places: Clegg, GRA, Anthony village, Ifako-Gbagada, Ojota and Ilupeju. He was a great promoter of vocations, both to the priesthood and religious life.
5. Care of the Sick: Fr. Adebayo was passionate and very dedicated to visiting and care of the sick. Close as we were, the only time he ever visited me was when I took ill. His adoption and care of Msgr. Joseph Adeniyi, like a father, are heroic and highly commendable.
6. Orthodox: A Catholic Priest through and through, who promoted and stood for the authentic teachings and practices of the Church. He was a loyal Priest who was obedient to the authority of the Church.
7. Kind and Generous: Fr. Adebayo was a compassionate and exceptionally generous Priest who gave hope and succour to many people. Many indigent students were able to access education through him and some of them are doing well in society today. He provided support to many widows and raised many men when they were scourged by the vicissitudes of life in our aching country.
8. Laughter: He loved to laugh. Because of his simple heartedness, he laughed easily and from the heart. Even in sickness, Fr. Adebayo never ceased to laugh.
9. Welcoming: He was a very friendly and welcoming person, hence there were always Bishops and Priests present in his house for short and long visits.
10. Intelligent: He was a very intelligent Priest as manifested in his numerous soul-winning sermons and a number of books.
Nevertheless, Fr. Adebayo, like every human being was not without his limitations. The last time I visited him on his sickbed, we prayed the Rosary together, then his physiotherapist came. My brother was in very deep and excruciating pain. I could feel the pangs as he turned his tired and tearful eyes to look at me. I was heart-broken seeing him in that condition.
I wondered why? Why would such happen to such a good Priest who touched so many lives positively? A voice said to me: “Can you imagine how many millions of ‘Hail Mary’ Fr. Adebayo has prayed in life? Therefore, can you imagine how many times he has ended up saying to our Mother Mary, ‘…pray for us (me) now and at the hour of our (my) death’? Can you also imagine how many times he said that ejaculatory prayer, ‘From sudden and unprovided death, deliver me O Lord’?
Therefore, through the intercession of our Mother Mary, it pleased God to grant him the opportunity to prepare for death and to do some penance here on earth; a penance which he accepted lovingly. It was a penance that could not silence the laughter of his soul even when the body was engulfed in deep pain.”
That is the great consolation from our faith, that our Priest and brother did not die suddenly. He prepared, and he was ready for the Lord.
I add my voice to those of so many people to pray God to comfort Mama (Fr’s Mum), our Archbishop Alfred Martins, and all men and women for whom Fr. Adebayo was a source of refuge.
May God Almighty, through the intercession of our Mother Mary, grant Fr. Adebayo forgiveness and remission of whatever sins there may be, and eternal reward in His kingdom. Amen.
Rest in peace dear big brother and friend!
O digba, egbon mi. E sun re!!