The 26th of October,1943, marked the emergence of the Catholic Church in Mushin. On that day a small church was built of bamboo sticks with thatched roof. The church named st, Michael, was blessed and opened for the Mushin community on Oyegunle Street,Idi-Oro, by Rev. Fr. E Birmingham, S.M.A of Blessed Memory. He was then a curate under Rev. Fr. J Galvin, S.M.A, Rector of St.Patrick’s Catholic Church, now St. Dominic’s Yaba.
It is pertinent to state that the idea of building a church in Mushin was first muted in the early thirties. Then members of St. Patrick’s Yaba resident in Idi-Oro area of Mushin, under the leadership of Chief F.E Akala and Madam Faustina Da Costa met Rev. Fr Richard Fitzgerald S.M.A also now of Blessed memory, who was the Rector of St. Patrice’s and requested that a small church be built for the community at Idi-Oro quarters. This was then the most popular area of Mushin district which at the time was a farmland with scattered on an area of about two square miles. The twin problems of good roads and scarcity of transport facilities compelled the few members resident in Idi-Oro quarters to trek a long distance of about three miles to attend Sunday masses at St, Patrick’s Catholic Church, Yaba.
The promise made by Rev Fr.Fitzgerald to erect a small church at Idi-Oro in the earlier thirties could not materialize due to other important work in progress at the new mission of Yaba.
THE SEARCH FOR IDENTIFICATION
Consequent upon the movement of more faithfuls from Lagos Mainland to Idi-Oro,the early period of 1914 witnessed an upsurge in the number of members of St.Patrick’s resident in Ido-Oro. These members later formed a community that was known as St. ANTHONY OF PADUA FRIENDLY SOCIETY. The problem of how best to tackle the question of building a church at Idi-Oro dominated discussion as meetings were held rotational basis in the houses of members over a period of the year.
On the 13th of November, 1942, representatives of the community went on a fact finding mission in connection with the building of a church of a church at Idi- Oro to the new Rector of St. Patrick’s Church Yaba, Rev Fr,G Philips S.M.A The delegation under the chairmanship of late Chief F. E Akala comprises Messrs F.O Awomodu , S.O.M Olularu,J.A Shatola,F.O Fadipe,S.D Omoniyi and F.O Ogunade all of blessed memory. Chief F. E Akala donated a piece of land on a lease hold agreement to the the community in July 1943. The land was raised and a small church was built in October 1943.
The period of 1944 -1955 marked a new era in the making of the new St.Michael’s Church Sunday masses were held and Rev. Frs came from st.Patrick’s church, Yaba. A strong tomadoe accompanied by a heavy rainfall almost destroyed the church building in 1948. The church was later extend ed and rebuilt by members.
The first resident priest Rev. fr(later Msgr) Julius Onih was appointed by Archbishop Leo Tayor in early 1951 (Both are now deceased). The residential priest initially lodged at the residence of Mr. J.A Shatola at 11, Amodu Street,Idi-Oro, before he moved into a two room apartment built within the church premises.
Disaster like a whirlwind struck in 1953,on Christmas Eve, the church was razed to the ground by fire-works of merry-makers. This incidence necessitated the celebration of the mid -night Mass in an open air. A few days later ,Rev . Msgr .J. Onih reconstructed the church the church with planks and roofed it with corrugated iron sheets. Generous donations received from members of the church made this possible. While Msgr .J. Onih was still the resident priest, the membership increased considerably.This necessitated the thought of acquiring a bigger land. Fortunately, the mission successfully entered into an agreement with the Ojuwoye family for a oarcel of land along motor road mushin.
His Grace , Late Archbishop Leo Taylor assigned Rev Fr D Daily S.M.A, then Rector of St. Anthony Catholic Church ,Gbaja surulere to develop the new era . Rev Fr Daly later created the present Mission House and a school / church. The church at Oyegunle street was then relocated to the new site in 1955. Late Mr. John Faturoti who was then residing with late Msgr .J Onith cleared the entire bush around the new area at this stage, funding became a problem.
Just as plans were under the way to source for funds outside the shores of Nigeria,(as bo help was coming from Nigeria philanthropists) a lady donor named Regina promisedto donate some amount of money on condition that the church would be built and named as Regina Mundi. This condition was accepted and money was subsequently released. Msgr .J. Onith was transferred to Otta mission in September 1955. Thus he was succeeded by Rev Fr. F.J Cardiff, S.M.A. who was relieved early in december 1956 by Rev Fr,J Rodgers , S.M.A. before Rev Fr. J Slattery took over between 1956- 1957. Rev Fr, T Furlong and T. Birmingham stayed at the new Mushin church and contributed their quota to the improvement and growth of the church.
The Episcopal consecration of His Grace,Archbishop J.K.A Aggey as an Auxiliary Bishop of Lagos in 1957 marked a turning point in the history of the Mushin mission; as he made Headquarters. Between 1957- 1965, His grace took charge of the mission in addition to his Episcopal duties and management of Mushin Parish schools (Mushin, Shomolu,Ikeja and ltire.)
It is pertinent to acknowledge the contributions of the following clergies to the growth of the Mushin mission while Archbishop J.K Aggey was holding fort : Frs, A . Adeneye, M.Sanusi, R. Fitzgerald ,Edmund Fitzgibbon ,S.M.A. (all of blessed memories) and Msgr, (Col) Pedro Martins,Frs. A. Rooney,D B urke and F Ogunsakin.
The Mushin mission assiduously served His Grace,late Most Rev J.K.A Aggey as his headquarters. In December 1965, Shomolu, ikeja and ltire were carved out of Mushin as separate mission.
Early in 1966, His Grace became the Metropolitan see of Lagos, consequently Rev, Fr Thomas Devine S.M.A took over as the priest -in-charge and was assisted by Fr. M Drummond S.M.A. However, December 1966 witnessed late Rev Fr Joseph Carew succeeding Rev Fr Devine with the formal Rector of St, Patrick Catholic Church Yaba, ReV Fr Richard Fitzgerald S.M.A as his assistant.
Main while, the foundation stone of the new church of Rehina Mundi was laid on 31st May 1966,by His Excellency, Archbishop Luigi Bellotti D.D.,J.U.D. at that time the Apostolic Delegate to West Africa. He was assisted by very Msgr, Julius Onih ,(the first resident Priest of Mushin in 1951).
The new Catholic Church of Regina Mundi was blessed by His Grace, Most Rev J.K.A Aggey on August 14, 1967. While the solemn consecration took place on Saturday,May 31st 1969, by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Lagos, Archbishop J.K.A Aggey D.D.O.O.N, thus the church was raised to the status of Mensa Parish.
It is imperative to note that Sunday, November 1968 witnessed the conferment of Honorary church Chieftaincy Titles on distinguished church elders who meritoriously served the parish from 1943- 1968.
Chief F.E Akala - Baba Egbe Ijo,
Chief (Mrs.) S.A Daniel - Iya Egbe Ijo
Chief Awomodu - Baba Sale Ijo
Chief S.O.M. Olularu - Balogun Ijo
Chief P.O Ogunade - Otun Balogun Ijo
Chief Q. Anthonio - Baba Igbagbo Ijo
Chief (Mrs). Cecilia Sholaja - Iya Igbagbo Ijo
Chief (Mrs) B.A Souza - Iyalode Ijo.
The ceremony was performed by the late Mgrs, Julius Onih in the presence of Most Rev J.K.A. Aggey, the then Archbishop of Lagos.
To the Glory of God, one of the Rev Fathers who not only laboured for the establishment and growth of Mushin Parish,but also served as its Parish Priest, Rev Fr. R . Fitzgrald answered eternal call on holy Thursday, April 15, 1976. He was buried in the premises of Regina Mundi as a mark of love and appreciation for his good deeds.
ERA OF CONSOLIDATION
If the formative years (1943 – 1969) of the Mushin Parish was eventful, the seventies could best be described as consolidation period. In 1970, Rev. Fr. Martins Costello, S.M.A, came to Regina Mundi as curate to Rev Fr. R. Fitzgerald and also doubled as the manager of catholic schools in Mushin Parish. It is interesting to note that Rev Fr R Fitzgerald held fort till 1973.
The first Priestly ordination ceremony that took place in Regina Mundi Catholic Church was on August 8, 1971, On this day, his Grace late Archbishop J.K.A . Aggey ordained Rev Fr. Hyppolytus Olukayode Alapini to the Sacred Order of Priesthood. Rev Fr, Hartnet S.M.A was the Parish Priest between 1974 – 1975. His tenure witnessed different innovations in the Parish with the able assistance of Rev Fr, P.A Hoteyin (now Msgr).
A significant event took place in 1976 when Rev Fr, Healy S.M.A. and his assistant Rev Fr Peter Olayiwola Adeyemi came to Regina Mundi that year Regina Mundi Clinic which was established by Regina Mundi Ladies friendly society was declared open. It operated under the able leadership of Rev Sr,Rosemary Smith. The Clinic served as a litmus test for primary Health Care in the nation which was co-ordinated by the late Prof. Olikoye Ransome – Kuti from Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi- Araba.The clinic has now metamorphosed into a full fledged Hospital and Maternity abd is ever since , being managed by the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Sisters who are resident in the Parish.
Another experimental project was to be witnessed under Rev Fr Jeremiah Coakley S.M.A between 1977- 1979. He was then the Vicar General of Lagos Archdiocese. As the Parish Priest, he was assisted by Rev Fr, Ignatus Izuchi C.S.S.P, this period witnessed the formation of basic Christian Communities in Regin Mundi for the growth and development of the church in Mushin and its environs. This led to the creation of llasamaja and Isolo out stations within the period.
To crown the glory of this period some distinguished members of the parish were conferred with Papal Honors; Sir Joseph O. Olofinkua and Sir Paul A. Ajayi- Knight of St. Gregory (K.S.G), Mr A.B.O.Kalesanwo – Holder of Pro – Ecclesia point Medalo, Mrs C.B Solaje and Mr Gerald Kwashi – Bene merenti medal.
The eighties also witnessed lots of remarkable events in the history of Regina Mundi Catholic church, Rev Fr Thomas Devine, C.M. took over as the Parish Priest between 1980 – 81 and he was assisted by Rev Fr Augustine Olowu who was ordined into priesthood on April 12 1980.
With pains in our hearts but joy in heaven among the Angels, Rev Fr Augustine Olowu passed on to Glory on December 6, 1980 and was buried in the same tomb with Rev, Fr , Fitzgerald in the parish premises. It was a painful loss to the entire parishioners especially the youths because Fr Olowu was then the youth Chaplain. Rev Fr. Felix Babatunde was subsequently posted to the Parish as the new assistant Parish Priest.
The inspiring efforts of Rev Fr. Thomas Devine C,M in ensuring the completion of the Parish Social Center cannot be ignored. The social center which houses the Rev Sisters Quarters, Regina Mundi Clinic society’s room , catechist’s office and the Parish hall (now known as Rev Fr Fitzgerald Hall) was decleared opened on December 12, 1981.
The progress chat continued to rise from 1982 – 1985, when Rev Fr Daniel Murphy took charge as the Parish Priest. He was assisted first by Rev. Fr. Felix Babatunde, later Rev. Frs. Paschal Atomori and Anthony Okoye respectively. Rev. Fr. (Dr) Emmanuel Babatunde came in relieving priest.
The old People’s Home another Mushin experiment was opened by His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Okogie (then Archbishop) on July 27, 1982. Incidentally, it is sited within the building that served as the first church building in the premises of Regina Mundi. This project is under the supervision of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus Sisters resident in the parish. Similarly, a piece of land along Abiodun Street which has been a subject or dispute since 1968 was reclaimed from trespassers. It is now used as classes for Catechumen.
EXPANSION OF THE INTER-LAND
The multi-purpose hall at the Christ the King Catholic Church, Ilasamaja was opened by the Metropolitan see of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie. Egbe Outstation was also transferred to Egbe/Ikotun area on a new site. St. Mary Isolo was transformed to a new Church while Ejigbo Outstation was also established
From 1985-1988, the first indigenous Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. (Dr) PhilipAdesina Hoteyin (now a Msgr) was posted to Regina Mundi. He was assisted by Rev. Fr. Anthony Okoye and later Re. Fr. Francis Adegun. It was during this period that the Grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary was commissioned. A remarkable increase in the number of faithful was recorded due largely tto cultural adaptability introduced by the Parish Administration. To ensure meaningful expansion of the church, Christ the King Parish Ilasamaja,Holy Rosary Parish Egbe/Ikotun and Ejigbo Church were carved out of Mushin Parish. This now left Regina Mundi with St. Mary’s Isolo.
The 10th year anniversary of Rev. Fr. Fitgerald was celebrated on a large scale in 1986. To commemorate the celebration, the Parish Hall was re-named Rev. Fr. Richard Fitzgerald Hall. 1986 was also witnessed the introduction of the Boys and Girls Brigade to Regina Mundi Catholic Church.
Between 1980 and February, 1992 , Rev Fr. Alphonsus obi held sway as the Parish priest with the able assistance of Rev. Fr Yanki. This period witnessed the renovation of the Grotto of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the provision of a water fountain. It was also at this time that the Boys and Girls Brigade was resuscitated. Msgr Christoper Bayo als worked briefly during this period as the Parish Administrator. The period under review witnessed the introduction of blessing of water, salt, and oil every Friday after the evening mass. The Maternity unit of Regina Mundi Clinic also commenced operation.
The period between March 1992 and 1994 saw the arrival of Rev. Frs. Edmund Akpala and Peter Oke as parish and Assistant parish Priest respectively. A major Archdiocesan celebration at this period was the hosting of the 10th year priestly ordination of Eight Diocesan priests by Regina Mundi. They include the parish priest and his assistant, Rev Fr Alfred Martins (now Bishop of Abeokuta Diocese).Rev Frs Christopher Ajala, Jerome Oduntan. Anthony Akintolu, Alphonsus Ania and Pascal ATomori. The remarkable day was September 18 1993.
The Parish Pastoral Council also approved and introduced the Parish Easter Picnic which has now become an annual event. Similarly,the process of purchasing a new church organ at this period. Rev Fr Akintolu was on ground shortly before Rev Fr Christopher Ajala took over briefly as the Parish Priest between October 1994 and the last quarter of 1995.
During his short stay at the parish, the planning and organization of the parish Harvest witnessed a remarkable change. Rather than the previous arrangement of hosting of parish Harvest by societies, individuals were identified and appointed to form a broad Harvest Planning Committee. This innovation has effluenced the turn-over of the Parish Harvest till date. A monthly adoration and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament was also introduced during this period. It was organized through grouping of societies.
To meaningfully move the Parish forward, a contact Group comprising 12 prominent Parishioners were put in place to liaise directly with the parish priest on virtually all issues. The first major assignment of the group was to move the parish to the one Million Naira mark at the Parish Harvest Bore hole system was also provided to solve the perennial water problem in the Parish.
The 19th of March, 1995 witnessed the inauguration of the Justice, Development and Peace Committee (JPDC). Mr Adenowo was charged with the responsibility of co-coordinating the group.JDPC in Regina Mundi since its inauguration has helped to ensure the following:
i Provision of Medical treatment for the indigent through financial assistance.
Ii Feeding of inmates at kirikiri prison and Otta Rehabilitation Centre.
iii Sheltering of needy
iv. Provision of free legal-Aid for the less privileged to fight just course.
V Provision of skilled- Training in Soap and pomade making.
Vi Planning and organizing enlightenment Talks, Lectures and Counseling for parishioners.
Between 1995 and March 1999, the Parish witnessed series of radial changes and introduction of new projects that have contributed to the growth of Regina Mundi. The Parish Priest at this period was Rev Fr Gabriel Kunle Amolegbe while Rev Fr Ethel Ifeanyi Iwu assisted briefly. Among the remarkable projects of this were.
i The amalgamation of the of the existing choral groups to form Regina Mundi choir on 28th October 1995. They were also provided with new robes.
ii Provision of shelter for the teeming worshippers who could not be accomadated conveniently with in the main church building during mass steel pews were also provided for them for comfort to enhance concentration at mass.
iii Purchase of new church organ to promote Eucharistic celebration at mass.
iv Replacement of the collapsible doors in the church with more durable wooden ones.
V A new electrical generating set was purchased to replace the old one.
Vi Re-flooring of the Parish Hall with Terrazo
Vii Building and Furnishing of the Parish Bookshop
Vii Fund raising for the successful operation of the ailment of an indigent boy in the parish.
THE MILLENNIUM DRIVE.
From 1999 till 2002, the Parish Administrator was under Monsignor Bernard Ayodele Okodua, the Archdiocesan Vicar General. He was variously assisted by Rev. Frs Emmanuel Orgu, Anthony Oyeniyi, Anthony Kehinde Bello and Fr. Moses Afokhume. Baba as he was fondly called worked towards the grpwth and development of the Parish. Some of the significant activities recorded during this period includes:
i Modernization of the parish toilet for the convenience of parishioners.
ii Reconstruction of the Parish fence, the exterior and interior lay out were also beautiful, while the inner part of the fence was fitted with stations of the cross.
iii Introduction of the Monthly Parish Forum to cater for the Liturgical and doctrinal education of parishioners.
iv The year 2001 witnessed the commencement of the Parish Feast Day. The event is now celebrated annually in the Month of August.
v Provision of kneelers for the iron pews outside the main church building.
vi The re- construction of the Regina Mundi Maternity Building commenced.
Baba was opportuned for the first time to receive the Metropolitan see of Lagos Archdiocese on a pastoral visit as a parish priest in 1996. Having worked assiduously in the spiritual growth and development of the faithful, Baba was transferred to Holy Family Catholic Church, Festac Town in March 2002. To ensure that there was no vacuum, Rev Fr. Paulinus Anaedu assumed office as the Parish Priest from April 2002, August 2003. Fr Anaedu ayatematically, but pragmatically continued in the stride of his predecessor. He steadfastly discharged his pastoral duties and amicably administered the parish. He improved on the sound system within the parish building; set the stage for the construction of the floor that today houses the parish office. The new hospital building was completed during his tenure as the Parish priest . Equally the attached quarters to the parish Hall was renovated simultaneously.
These projects were commissioned by His Eminence during a pastoral visit to the parish. To satisfy the spiritual and liturgical yearnings of the laity, he introduced the “know your Faith” programme which always ends with an adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on weekly basis.
Rev Fr, Jude Anyaehie served as the Parish Priest between 25th August 2003 to June 21st, 2004. His brief stay in the Parish was very eventful. The Marian Grotto in the Parish was beautiful, the parish fence illuminated and some Parish buildings were re- painted. This includes the parish Hall, Clinic, Old Peoples Home and the Convent.
The 21st of June 2004, witnessed the arrival of Rev Fr Paul Ighabor at Regina Mundi as the Parish priest. As he was just settling down, he was confronted with the task of organizing the parish to host the final Profession and Jubilee Anniversary of some Eucharistic Heart of Jesus
(EHJ) Sisters on 15th August 2004.
Indefatigable Fr, Ighabor doggedly supervised and saw to the transformation of the parish conference Hall into a set of modem parish offices. He equally transformed the age- long Rev Father’s House into a more befitting abode for the clergy.
Rev Fr Paul Ighabor has steadfastly introduced innovations which have futher re- awakened the spiritual consciousness of the laity. Being focused and determined has been the main stay of Fr, Ighabor’s dexterity. It was this twin- Quality that stimulated the resolve to emback on the massive remodeling of the main church building.
The project that first thought off in 1995 during the tenure of Rev Fr. Christopher Ajala, eventually started on 7th November 2005,and to be completed before the end of April 2006. This is to allow enough room for its completion and made for re-dedication on June 3ed 2006. By His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Okogie. It is imperative to assert here that Rev Fathers Gabriel Amolegbe, Paulinus Anaedu, Jude Anyaechie and also Msgr. Okodua all had the intension of carrying out this restricting exercise.
To the glory of God, Regina Mundi has grown significantly since 1943 till date and will continue to grow as the parishioners are getting more actively involved in parish activities.