MY DEAR PEOPLE OF God, we have come to sing our Nagnificat to God for He who is mighty has done great things for Ibadan Archdiocese with the precious gift of Fr. Daly.

When I was informed that Fr. Daly would like me to give the homily during this Eucharistic celebration, I didn’t have enough courage to refuse because of three important reasons: Firstly, we was my Rector and Teacher at St. Theresa Minor Seminary, Oke Are, Ibadan, secondly, he was my parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima, Eleta, Ibadan, thirdly, he was my predecessor as the Vicar General of this Archdiocese.

How I wish NTA; CNN; BBC; Channels Television are in this church today to tell the whole world that Catholic Church is blessed with many hard working and holy priests. Unfortunately, in our world today, people are only interested to see or hear sad news like scandals, killings, kidnapping etc.

I listened to so many lovely homilies at funeral Masses, saying a lot of good things about the person inside the coffin. I kept wondering why not saying those good things while they were alive maybe their life span might have been prolonged a bit!!!

 My homily this morning is not to praise Fr. Daly but to thank God for the gift of this holy missionary and to implore God to continue to grant him good health of mind and body. I thank Fr. Daly for obeying the intention of our Archbishop, Most Rev. Gabriel Leke Abegunrin to celebrate his 80th Birthday on Archdiocesan level. We all know that our celebrant of today is a quiet and easy going person who never wanted to disturb anybody for his birthday.

I was born in Ibadan in 1965 and Fr. Daly came to Ibadan in the same year, so if Olusanmi is “omo Ibadan” by birth, I think Fr Daly is worthy to be called “Baba Ibadan” by adoption. He was ordained a priest at the age of 26 (1964) and was posted to the then Ibadan diocese at the age of 27 and since then like prophetess Anna the daughter of Phanuel (Luke 2:36-38) Fr Daly never left Ibadan diocese serving God night and day with prayer and good works. For many years, our celebrant of today used to go on vacation in Ireland once in two years. Just of recent due to old age, he goes on vacation yearly. Despite so many challenges, he persevered till today in Ibadan, 53 years in our midst. I am convinced that some foreigners love Africa more than we Africans.  

When Fr. Daly arrived in Ibadan in 1965, Ibadan Diocese was only 7 years old with few parishes and no diocesan priests. Even the Bishop was an Irish. By the special grace of God, this year, Ibadan diocese at 60 has more than 100 Nigerian diocesan priests and many parishes created. Fr. Daly has seen this Diocese growing like a mustard seed.  May the name of the Lord be praised both now and forever.

I firmly believe that we the Diocesan priests in particular have a lot of good qualities to emulate from this man of God.

St Theresa Minor Seminary: During my stay at St. Theresa Minor Seminary, Oke Are, Ibadan, I was lucky to do my morning duty in his room for many years. Very simple room with a small radio; nothing like Fridge; Television; DSTV; Microwave etc. My faith or vocation was tested while working in his room. On many occasions, he left money inside his trousers, what a great temptation for a young seminarian. I used to say to myself, Gregory don’t take oyinbo’s money o, maybe he was only testing you.

A man of prayer and great legionary., Minor seminarians used to admire his prayer life. After dinner, Fr Daly will dress in shirt and black trousers as if he was going out to dance, but he will stay in the chapel praying till almost midnight every day.

He was indeed a pastor. Despite his tight schedule as Rector and Teacher, on Sundays some of us legionaries followed him to out-stations in Ejioku, Egbeda and Ikumapayi. We enjoyed the way he used to celebrate Mass in Yoruba language in those out - stations.

Baba 80, a great builder: he transformed the Seminary positively. For example, the first building (staff building) immediately you enter the Seminary was constructed during his tenure as the Rector.

We can also call him a Pass on the Faith Missionary from Irish Priests to Nigerian Priests: many Irish SMA priests worked at Oke Are Minor Seminary, but it is on record that Fr. Daly was the last Irish SMA Rector in that Seminary.

Parish Priest at Our Lady of Fatima, Eleta: Many Irish SMA Priests worked in my home parish at Eleta like Frs. Coltsman; Murray; Travers; MacCabe; O’Kane; Kelleher; Sheehan; Brother Brendan. One of them baptized me and another one gave me First Holy Communion. It is also on record that Fr. Daly was the last Irish SMA priest to work at Eleta Parish.

His tenure as Parish Priest was like manna from heaven. So many spiritual and physical developments were recorded. Fr. Travers built the old church at Eleta Parish, while Fr. Daly built the present Basilica. St. Anne Catholic Church, Ogbere; St. Eunan Catholic Church, Odo Oba and St. Francis Catholic Church, Sanyo (Agbamu) will forever be grateful to our celebrant of today for their church buildings. St. Anne Catholic Church, Ogbere is now a Parish while St Eunan Catholic Church is a quasi Parish.

The standard of our Archdiocesan Grotto at Eleta was raised and the place became conducive for pilgrimage.

This Baba at 80  used to play Lawn Tennis during his vacation in Ireland in order to raise funds to build structures and assist the less privileged in the society. May God bless you for your generosity.

Vicar General: Five Irish SMA Fathers were Vicar Generals in the history of Ibadan Diocese:  Frs. Dolan; Murray; Mahony; John O’Hea and Daly (1998-2008). Like what happened at Oke Are Seminary and Eleta Parish, Fr. Daly was the last Irish SMA father to be appointed Vicar General. It is also on record that the first and second Nigerian Vicar Generals in this Archdiocese were students of Fr. Daly at Oke Are Seminary. During his tenure as the Vicar General, I was also the Archdiocesan Secretary. How many times Fr. Daly was in the Chancery waiting patiently for Priests to arrive for the Curia Meetings! His punctuality at meetings and religious functions are some of the good qualities worthy of emulation.

Parish Priest, St Leo Catholic Church, Challenge: This hard working servant of God transformed this parish for good. This new church where we are celebrating this Mass is all the work of our Baba 80. How can we forget the parishes that were created immediately Fr. Daly built church structures there: Christ the Good Shepherd Parish; St Charles Lwanga Parish and St Anthony Ashipa. His prayer life and simplicity shall never be forgotten.

Who knows if he will not be the last IRISH SMA father to be appointed as parish priest in this parish! Let us leave the future in the hands of God.

Ibadan Diocese at 60: Sixty years ago in Ibadan Diocese, the Bishop and priests were non Nigerians, but today to the Glory of God, Fr. Daly is the only Irish SMA parish priest in Ibadan Archdiocese.

The Irish SMA fathers that labored for the seed of faith to germinate in Ibadan whether alive or dead, seem to be addressing the diocesan priests present at this Mass with the same words of Pope Paul VI in Uganda almost 50 years ago (31 July, 1969): “By now, you Africans are missionaries to yourselves. The Church of Christ is well and truly planted in this blessed soil. … “Missionaries to yourselves”: in other words, you Africans must now continue, upon this continent, the building of the church… We tell you, in the Name of the Lord, Whom we all love and follow together, that you have the strength and the grace necessary for this, because you are living members of the Catholic Church, because you are Christians and you are Africans”.

Baba Daly at 80, I wish you happy birthday. Our souls indeed magnify the Lord, … for He who is mighty has done great things for Ibadan Archdiocese with your presence in our midst for the past 53 years and Holy is His Name. May God continue to grant you good health. E ku odun o.



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