By Joseph Ishu
The Catholic Bishop Emeritus of Ijebu-Ode Diocese, Most Rev. Albert Ayinde Fasina has passed at the age of 82 on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 on the Feast of SS. Peter and Paul at about 6pm.
The Diocesan Chancellor, Rev. Fr. Albert Igbodipe announced the death of Bishop Fasina in a terse statement and asked that Masses should be offered for his happy repose.
The statement reads: “On behalf of the Bishop, Most Rev. Francis Obafemi Adesina, on the feast of SS. Peter & Paul at about 6pm, Christ the King and the Good Shepherd called home His humble servant and our Emeritus Bishop, Most Rev. Albert Ayinde Fasina. Kindly offer Mass for his happy repose.
“May the soul of Most Rev. Albert Ayinde Fasina rest in perfect peace. AMEN”.
Born on July 8th, 1939 into the Muslim family of Late Pa Disu Fasina and Madam Moriatu Disu, Bishop Fasina’s father was an Imam. He attended St. Mary Catholic School Oke-Odolewu, just across the road and in front of his family house. From there, he proceeded to Central School, Itamapako, then to St. Patrick Catholic School, Isiwo, and was later taken by his elder brother to Lagos where he completed his Primary School Leaving Certificate in 1954. He returned to Isiwo to attend the Community Modern School. On finishing from the Community Modern School, he was posted to Lepia Village in Lekki District and later to Roman Catholic School (RCM), Igbodu as a probationary teacher. After some time of teaching, he proceeded and qualified as a Grade III teacher from St. Mark Teachers Training College, Iperu-Remo in 1969, he qualified as Grade II teacher from St. Joseph Teachers College, Surulere, Lagos.
In April 1959, Bishop Albert, who was a Muslim, was baptised by Fr. Terence Birmingham at St. Michael Catholic Church, Igbodu, and had his First Communion at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Molajoye, an outstation of Ibowon Parish. It will be important to note that as a teacher, he was under the tutelage of Bishop Aggey of blessed memory. He was a Catechist, a lector and a Legionary.
Although active in the Church, the thought of being a priest did not cross his mind until Fr. Alfred Ajayi spoke to him on a Sunday evening while he was preparing the coal for the thurible for Benediction. After this, he heard similar words from Fr Terrence and Fr Carew at different times. He was ordained a Priest with Msgr. Victor Ajayi on March 8, 1980. He was assigned to the then Remo Parish (now a Deanery) as Assistant Parish Priest, and became the Cathedral Administrator in 1981 till 1984 when he went to the Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port-Harcourt to study Pastoral Theology While in the Cathedral, he took the formation of Basic Christian Communities seriously, and these Basic Christian Communities are now major parishes in Ijebu-Ode Deanery.
He was appointed Bishop on 21st June, 1988, consecrated a Bishop on 10th September, 1988, succeeded the Pioneer Bishop of Ijebu-Ode on 14th August, 1990, and retired as Bishop of Ijebu-Ode on 17th January, 2019 at the age of eighty minus six months.
His major interest is in the Print media for the formation of the people, he is very interested in young people and their faith formation, he deeply grieves the lack of Church’s presence in schools, and sees this as the reason for world’s moral decadence.
The poor and the destitute are very dear to his heart. Bishop Albert will on his way to functions pick mentally derailed people who are roaming the streets in his car, and put them in the home for the destitute which he goes about to solicit for money to run. So many of them are now well and have reunited with their family members. Corpses by the road side are not left out, he would pick them up and bury them. Catholics and Non-Catholics approach him and have the existence and sustenance of their almost crumbling relationship to his mediation.
Bishop Fasina is the man who was appointed bishop and wanted to decline on health grounds but was told that even if he dies after a day, it is for God’s honour. Upon taking possession of the Diocese, he moved into the Bishop’s house of the Diocese but only with two tins of sardine, two loaves of bread and two bottle water. He met the number of Indigenous priests at six, and left it at sixty-seven and a Deacon. Parishes also grew from few numbers to thirty-eight. May God give him the reward of a good and faithful steward.
( NIGERIA CATHOLIC NETWORK)