“SALUTE TO MONSIGNOR DENNIS ARIMOKU AT 70”
Dear Monsignor Dennis,
My wife and Sons join me in congratulating you on your 70th Birthday on March 22, 2011. I remember very vividly coming home to Agbor from Lagos to worship at St. John’s Catholic Church, Boji-Boji, and Agbor in the Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State where you were Parish Priest, to hear the Liturgy of the Mass rendered in the Agbor language.
This was due to your relentless efforts in implementing the issue of “Sacrosantum Consilium”, an aspect of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican 11), the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, opened by the Late Pope John XX111 on October 11, 1962. It considered the revision of the Liturgy, the Central idea that there ought to be greater Lay participation in the Liturgy and permissions were granted to celebrate most of the Mass in vernacular languages, including the canon from 1967 onwards.
It was a joy to attend the Holy Mass in your Parish to hear the Readings, the Gospel and major Announcements rendered in the Agbor Language. It was mainly due to your handiwork and the membership of your Congregation rocketed!
You took some time off from your busy pastoral work at Agbor at the turn of the new Millenium, to study pastoral and evangelical work in the United Kingdom where you had a stint at a North London Parish, courtesy of the Right Reverend Alan Hopes, an Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Westminster in England.
You performed brilliantly! Your love for your people in Agbor in particular and Ikaland in general, cannot be underestimated! There is hardly any Marriage Ceremony or Funeral service for the Dead in Agbor and the outlying districts that you will not attend and be ready and willing to participate in the Rite to be commemorated!
Monsignor, welcome to the Septuagenarian Club!
“Mgbene, mgbene!” “Osolobue Noye Ni”
I shall conclude by using the popular mode of salutation among the Catholic Clergy in Rome, Italy and the whole world, by ending this Birthday Greeting in Latin, the Liturgical language of the Roman Rite:
“AD MULTOS ANNOS”.
Deputy Director of Information (retired)
Federal Ministry of Information & National Orientation