Nigeria’s oldest Catholic bishop has died

The passing away of the first bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, South Western Nigeria has been announced.

Most Revd Dr Anthony Saliu Sanusi, Bishop Emeritus of Ijebu Ode died on Monday 7 December 2009, about four weeks from  his 99th birthday. He was the 6th oldest bishop in the entire Catholic Church and the oldest Nigerian Catholic Bishop.

He was ordained a priest on 17 December 1944 in Lagos, Nigeria. When Ijebu Ode Diocese was created from the Archdiocese of Lagos on 29 May 1969, Fr  Sanusi was appointed its first bishop by Pope Paul VI.

His Episcopal Consecration took place on 1 August 1969 in Kampala, Uganda by Pope Paul VI. In 1972 after the death of Archbishop JK Aggey, he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Lagos Archdiocese. He was the only bishop of Ijebu Ode Diocese at that time, covering an area of 5,000 square kilometres (1,931 square miles) with six parishes, three diocesan priests and eight missionary priests. After 21 years of active service as diocesan bishop, he retired on 14 August 1990, at the age of 79. He was succeeded by Bishop Albert A Fasina.

During Bishops Sanusi’s time in office, the diocese had six secondary schools and 46 primary schools owned by the Church, however, they were all taken over by the government without any compensation. At present, the diocese has four Private Nursery Primary Schools and two Secondary Schools. The Diocese has two Hospitals and a Maternity Centre. The diocese remains undaunted in her mission of evangelisation with 23 parishes and over 60 priests.

Bishop Sanusi was instrumental to the opening of the Missionary Seminary of St Paul on 23 October 1977 at Iperu Remo, Ogun State. Thereupon, Bishop Anthony Sanusi was appointed the first Ordinary of the Seminary and of the Missionary Society of St. Paul (MSP).

His funeral arrangements are as follows:

Wednesday 16 December, 2009

10am - Requiem Mass at St John Vianney Catholic Church, Iperu.
12noon – Office of the Dead at Seminary of St. Paul, Iperu
2.30pm - Lying in State at St Sebastian’s’ Catholic Cathedral, Ijebu-Ode
6pm - Vigil Mass

Thursday 17th, 2009
10am – Burial Mass at Gateway International Stadium, Ijebu-Ode.
12.30pm – Interment at St Sebastian Catholic Cathedral, Ijebu-Ode. Entertainment follows immediately after Mass.

Baba (as he is fondly called) was a priest for 64 years and a bishop for 40 years. May the Lord grant him eternal rest and let his perpetual light shine on him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

There will be a memorial service for Baba, here in the UK, in the New Year. Time and venue will be made known as soon as it is finalised.

Tags: Bishop Anthony Saliu Sanus

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