The Way of the Cross

As men are not able to fight against death, misery, ignorance, they have taken it into their heads, in order to be happy, not to think of them at all.” Blaise Pascal

One well know Easter song, “Jesus Lives” has as one of the stanzas the following:

Jesus lives, henceforth is death
Entrance-gate to life immortal
This shall calm our trembling breadth
When we pass its gloomy portals. Alleluia

There is a lot that can be said about the idiom: “The way of the cross” which is our meditation this morning (an idiom it is for sure because its meaning goes beyond the exact words and refers to a particular event). The way of the cross is many things. Of this many, one unmistakable one is the fact that it is the way of death.
It is about a Jesus who was crucified on the cross. When we talk about the way of the cross, we are firstly referring to that. Our Lord Himself said:
‘The kings of the gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them are called Benefactors. …’ Lk 22:24 “Not so with you! … whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” Mk 10:43-45.
That ransom was, we believe, paid at the cross. There Jesus did the dying. And we are to reap benefits. It is grace. And here is where we have to be careful: The streams of teachings, commonplace among us, say we can enjoy an endless flow of the consolations emanating from the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus. And it is true. However, when we view it like that alone, we may be making a great mistake. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a 20th century martyr for this cause, said we do not understand the way of the cross fully if we stop there. Rather, we are preaching what he referred to as cheap grace. The most damning thing about such a version of grace is that God is called upon regularly to be “a present help in times of need” but, otherwise, Jesus is not Lord of our lives because there is no necessity to pay close attention to his commands!
One modern-day feature of such cheap grace is the kind of stuff that passes for prophesies in several places of worship. In conformity to “cheap grace” prophesies are a stream of consolations- Always telling ourselves nice things. Who does not want to hear that nice things will happen? Oh we all do. However, to any serious student of the scriptures, we must remember that the quality of prophesy is not if it is a nice statement. Since we are so used to prophesies as nice things, let me supply two counter examples where prophesies were NOT nice things. The first quality of prophesy is that it is a true statement of what will happen. Is it true? Paul the Apostle, talking to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus in Acts 20, said this,

“…compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city, the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task that Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace…”

He was going to a Jerusalem. He did not know what will happen there. The Holy Spirit told him that he will face imprisonment. He did NOT pray against it. He just went on because he was going to accomplish the purpose of God.
My second example is from the OT. In IKings 22:27, we have this remarkable passage: “ Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace. …” The king was angry! Why was he so angry? Read around that passage you find the problem was simple: King was going to war, He called the prophet of God to tell him how it would go. The prophet OF GOD told him the battle will not end well. He got angry and uttered those words in annoyance!
Of course we can also find many examples where God comforted his people and promised them better days. “Say kind words to the heart of Jerusalem, crying out to her that her time of trouble is ended, that her punishment is complete” the prophet blared in Is 40:2! The fact that is incontrovertible is that it can go either way! That is a fact! If not, if we must only hear nice things, it is soothsaying NOT prophesy! The grace that is true grace, Dietrich calls costly grace. I never tire quoting this:
“Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ
It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.
It is costly because it condemns sin and grace because it justifies the sinner.
And above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his son: and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life but delivered him up for us…”
He calls us to enjoy the consolations of the Gospel. Wait a minute. He first calls us to follow him. Those consolations are for those who are obedient to the call.

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No there is a cross for everyone,
And there is a cross for me!

The way of the cross is about death. It is about resurrection. It is about a life that follows death. It is meant to be a consolation.

May your life and death supply
Grace to live and grace to die
Grace to reach our home on high
Hear us Holy Jesus!

Epilogue – Brother Thomas: A Hard Act to Follow

OA Fakinlede (SJC 518: 1966-71)

Coli fotoWe, the Alumni of St Joseph’s College, Ondo at different times and from different locations in Nigeria, ending up – largely at the upper echelons in our society and in Diaspora, have testified, in this document, how effective Brother Thomas and the Lasallian Brothers’ fruitfulness have been in our lives.
As a lecturer, I use the experience of St Joseph’s, and how ignorant I was despite ability to see the efforts of the Brothers in helping us to get on in life. When my students do not appreciate the efforts I am putting in to make a difference in their lives, I reason that it took me close to forty years to appreciate that for Brother Thomas to come to our dormitory at six o clock in the morning, he must first wake up, probably have a small fellowship with other Brothers and walk through the unlit campus with his long touch light to reach our sleepy heads saying things like “Rise and shine”, “Oya, oya, o…” etc. while encouraging us to wake and begin the day. I am humbled by how little I have done compared to this supererogation!
There is more to say on this. Nigeria of today is a challenging place to live in. I do not begrudge my colleagues, who, for several reasons give up and leave. I know (at least from the example of family members that have done so) that many of them remain a mighty resource in the way the rest of the family survives in Nigeria. As a person, I have a problem. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Lagos and in Canada to PhD level. If I run away from Nigeria, and met Brother Thomas in Toronto, and he asked me what caused me to flee, I imagine this conversation taking place:

Thomas: Hello Fakinlede, I heard you have now come to live in Canada.

Fakinlede: Yes, brother. Nigeria has now become an impossible place to live in. There is no water, no reliable electricity, the educational system is a shadow of itself. I need something better for my family.

Thomas: That is interesting. You said you had no water supply from the Water Board? Did you not see the cistern we dug in our time that supplied water for our use? We even created another one near the swimming pool for you pupils. In addition to these there were various wells on the compound to get water from.

Fakinlede: Yes sir, I remember that! Did you say you dug them?

Thomas. Not really, we employed local labor and masonry to do all that.

Fakinlede. But how did you pump the water. These days, NEPA or its descendants will roast your pump!

Thomas: We used manual pumps for all our needs, and we never had an occasion to use buckets to carry water! We paid 12–15-year-old lads that were all too glad to gain a little pocket money and they lifted the water to our overhead tanks.

Fakinlede: But how did you iron your clothes? The epileptic power supply makes that such a big problem. And my freezer was out of commission for several months because of low current!

Thomas: In our days, we supplied you with electricity from 6-10pm. It was ONLY at that time that we too had electric power! Is it not arguable that you may have more clothes than you need?

Fakinlede: You made a good point there, Brother; but remember, I am not a monk!

Thomas: Ok, Fakinlede, I know I have taken extra orders and that was my choice. But tell me again, what did you say you studied in the University?

Fakinlede: (Now blushing) bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at University of Lagos, and PhD at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. I know how to model extremely complex systems such as Nuclear Power plants and heavy manufacturing that Nigeria does not have. That is one of my frustrations! And that is why I am in Toronto, looking for a job now!

Thomas: But is engineering not designed to help you orchestrate life at its present state, while you build up to the future?

Fakinlede: I am finding this conversation heavy going Brother. I probably need to do some more thinking….

We can end it there. I remember that travelling from Ondo to Lagos as recently as 1971, there were no bridges where two vehicles could meet mid-stream. What we had was a situation on those big rivers where oncoming traffic had to wait their turn to use the single lanes that existed!
When you add that to a war situation, we begin to understand two things: The brothers were far smarter than they appeared to us! They may not be registered engineers, but they supplied water, electricity, basic infrastructure, and the necessaries that made our school superior to most schools in the environ; And they did not need the millions or billions for a plot in Banana Island to be comfortable!
I come from Akure. I remember when the Roman Catholic Bishop’s compound – 2 km from my house was purchased. They simply planted trees and arranged things around the square – classroom-looking block for the bishop’s residence. Yet go and look at it now, the natural ambience and superior environment makes us seem like cave dwellers within two kilometers of the same building!
I conclude that I write here only about my personal feelings. I am not qualified to judge others as I have, on several occasions, taken the easy road. All I want to say is this: Thank you Brother Thomas. But you are a hard act to follow! Happy birthday!

A Note of Acknowledgements

Nearly 30 former pupils of St Joseph’s College responded to my call to do this document. My thanks go to all the individuals that, despite their schedules, considered it worthwhile to let Brother Thomas know that we value and appreciate his contribution to our lives. Each of us was able to speak from the heart and there was minimal interference with content. Brother Thomas can therefore see for himself what our hearts confess. I thank you all.
I want to especially thank the seniors (to a 1966 class one pupil) that participated. My thanks to those of you I did not meet in school and were very enthusiastic to join this effort. Nob. Steve Nwabuzor comes up for a special mention for tirelessly organizing the seniors that are not known to me. I especially wanted to see Nob. Bimbola Oladapo made contribution. He was Senior Prefect in 1966. Thanks Steve, for getting us Senior Bimbi and several others.
The sets from 1965-69 to 1967-71 are especially dear. I call the first the “365 days is not a joke” set. These are the likes of Nobs Francis Awosika, Ebenezer Lafe, Diran Ayodeji, Folageshin Akinnawo and others. They know what they said to us in 1966 when we came into St Josephs. Again, old friends and seniors, many thanks to you for the fellowship of celebrating together, our great mentor and inspiration.
At the end of 1966, I was the only person that failed and repeated form one; a feat that Kido Boy (Muyiwa Olawoki) needed another 365 days to achieve! Francis Ojo – remember that you were too brilliant to get into that joy! That granted us the privilege of belonging to two sets! What a blessing! I have enjoyed all of you. Despite all the trouble I was to both sets, the love and friendship that I have enjoyed makes this collaboration just another chapter in our long-time association.
I end this note with a mention of two people: Nobs Ebunlade Betiku and Jimi Awosika. I slept next to Ebunlade in 1966 in Xavier 3 when Senior Ikusika was the “demigod” at the other end of the room! That was my first time of sleeping anywhere other than my mother’s room. Let us not even begin talking about bed-wetting! Ebunlade, you were a wonderful senior. There were three years between us, and I was not a model student by any means. You were so focused on your studies that nothing else mattered? You did not even remember, for once, to punish this pest of a boy! Thanks for what you have been and for giving us your wonderful insight in this book of memories and tributes.
And Jimi, we have come a long way! We have stories to share that go far beyond what we can write here. Together we shared that last year of expulsion from school and, as teenagers, navigated the world of adults and survived to eke out a WAEC certificate meeting again at the University of Lagos and are brothers for life. Your memory of the fine details of what I have completely forgotten makes me think I sleepwalked through our school. And as a busy CEO, I know how important this is to you to have spent time to respond so comprehensively.

SJC by Choice

Rahman Olusegun Mimiko.
School Number 524 (1966-1970)
Medical Practitioner, Politician and Former Governor of Ondo State (2009–2017)

I became a student at St Joseph’s College by choice. Apart from being the best school in town at the time of my admission, I had two cousins, the Ajao brothers, (Taoheed and Rafiu) who were already students of the institution and who regaled me with tales of the near-paradise lifestyles of boarding students in the school managed by a group of De La Salle Brothers from Canada. Moreover, my late father had the strong belief that you either went to St Joseph’s or you go and learn a trade.
So, even before I got to the school, I had heard of two of these wonderful Brothers: Brother Bernard Broderick and Brother Thomas McCrea.
On resumption in the school and almost daily, I encountered Brother Thomas. Early every morning, he went round all the dormitories twice to wake us from sleep with his famous refrains -‘Rise and Shine ‘ and O ya o, o ya ya ya o..He was with us in the school chapel, in the classrooms, in the dining hall, in the kitchen, on the football pitch, with the cooks and the laundry men. You would also see him go round late in the night after the lights out, to ensure that we were safe. In short, he was everywhere.
In later years, I concluded that Brother Thomas was only demonstrating that he was (and I am still sure he is) a true driven by agape love to have make these enormous sacrifices for his wards at St Joseph’s.
He operated a style of administration that aimed to convince you to see how right or wrong or even foolish your actions or inactions are. As Principal, he never harassed, bullied or coerced his students.
Mimiko He was a great democrat, allowing students to freely express their views on various issues. He taught us to be bold before anyone, including himself and encouraged us to make our positions known on any matter affecting us as students and the school as an entity. The culture of democracy at St Joseph’s fired some of us to become politicians later in life.
An incident that continues to linger in my memory is when a local menu (Eko agidi and efo riro) was introduced into the school’s elitist menu by the Food Master who incidentally was an old boy of the school. The students rejected the menu and Brother Thomas ordered a reversal to the old order, saying it was legitimate to protest against what you do not want or like. I also remember some of his encounters with some students on matters of discipline. Even when they were wrong, these students would insist on the excuses for their bad behavior and still get off the hook with Brother Thomas. In retrospect, it is only in St Joseph’s of those days and under Brother Thomas that some of those students could have completed their secondary education. Elsewhere, they would have been thrown out of school.
Even in his simplicity, Brother Thomas was very firm on many issues. When I experienced a brutal attack from some of my classmates following my movement from the ‘B’ arm to the ‘A’ arm in our class 4 in 1969, Brother Thomas who initiated the movement refused to return me to the ‘B’ arm.
Brother Thomas was a great motivator and encourager. On one of his trips out of town, he took me, Tomide Oyebola and Taiwo Akinkuolie along with him to the campus of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). After driving round, the beautiful campus, he asked if we liked all that we had seen. He encouraged us to work hard if we aspired to become students in the institution. As it turned out, two of us later made it to Ife while the third person ended up at University of Ibadan, where, incidentally, Brother Thomas had taken him to on one of his trips to Ibadan.
As you turn 90 Brother, I wish you long life in good health and a sound mind. May the peace and joy of the Lord be your portion in the remaining days of your life.

Tribute to a Life of Service

Peter Akinjiola (SJC 1963-67)

I met Brother Thomas (Francis) McCrae, 1962, when I was about 11 years old during the sleepover, which was then a part of the entrance interview at Saint Joseph’s Secondary School (SJC). He was a young man of about 30 years old. Brother Bernard was our principal, while Brother Thomas was his able deputy. With his physically dominating presence, Brother Bernard brought out the best behavior in every student whenever he was around, at a hearing distance or when there were rumors he was around the corner. He was mostly around the school premises and rarely in the dormitory area.
In contrast, Brother Thomas was everywhere. He would catch you just when you had assured yourself that you are safe and have escaped with breaking the school law. No hideout was secure enough. He knew every nooks and crannies of the campus, and those of the bushes around the school. The element of surprise and guilty conscience overwhelms when you are caught. Brother Thomas uttered no harsh words of admonition. He would let you know that your little game was up, and he encouraged you to abide by the law. Some of those pranks included missing classes, missing masses, missing prep, unauthorized trip outside the campus, etc. He was the silent and efficient operator.
Residing in Canada and the USA increased my appreciation for the sacrifices of Brothers Thomas, Bernard and the other La Salle Brothers. These God-fearing men gave up themselves, family, money and other career choices and the comfortable living conditions in Canada/USA to develop the school and the young men of SJC. Ondo in 1959 was under-developed even by the town’s standards today. The town has grown over 20 times over the years. There was no pipe born water, electricity or telephone in the town. St Joseph’s was just the fourth secondary school in Ondo after Ondo Boys High school, St Louis and St Monica’s.
Unlike other schools in town, the SJC financially supported a good proportion of the students. The school did not send out any student because of their inability to pay fees. The school was very creative in customizing scholarships or financial assistances to every student with needs. So many indigent students like me could not have been able to attend a secondary school without SJC and the reverend Brothers.
In addition, SJC taught the students how to study. The Brothers taught any subject as needed by the school. Brother Thomas taught Biology, Chemistry, English, etc. We were regularly tested during the school year and there was no end-of-the year or end-of-term examination pressures. No cramming and students learnt to understand and appreciated the essence of every subject. This SJC learning legacy was invaluable in my journey through Higher School Certificate, undergraduate and graduate schools.
I re-established my contact with Brother Thomas a few years ago; about sixty years after the first encounter. His indelible sacrifices were still fresh on my mind and I did not hesitate to let him know my willingness to contribute to his retirement and his organization. He replied he was well taken care of and his La Salle organization was doing fine financially. I was humbled. Here is a guy that took the vow of poverty, obedience, celibacy and service … etc. in his twenties. In his eighties he is satisfied and lacks nothing!
Brother Francis, your life and those of the members of your organization are living treasures for humanity and your journey through life is worth our emulation. As St James (2:18) wrote: “… I will demonstrate my faith from my works”. We have seen your faith through your works. May God bless you.

A Lesson in Selflessness and Compassion.

Folageshin Akinnawo (SJC: 1965-69)

One day at about 5pm, I was watching a football match in the school ‘s front football pitch, when Brother Thomas, driving into the school premises, suddenly started calling me. Getting to his car he said I should quickly run to the main road and call a woman carrying two bunches of bananas.
Shortly after he walked up to us and asked me to request for the price of the bunches of the bananas, she was carrying on her head. Obviously, part of my duty was to negotiate with the woman. Interestingly, the woman seeing a white man decided to go for a kill. She asked for seven shillings, and I told Brother Thomas that it was too expensive and will not cost more than two shillings in the market. However, seeing that he was really interested in the bananas I asked the woman to take five shillings which she happily accepted. In line with Yoruba bargaining culture, I now asked the woman if she would take three shillings. From her body language and facial expression, I knew she would accept this but to my surprise before she could say ‘yes’ Brother Thomas had already brought out five shillings which he handed over to the woman. On our way back, Brother Thomas taught me a great lesson in compassion and selflessness. He said the bargain we had with the woman was a good one. According to him, a good bargain is one in which both parties are happy. The woman was happy because she knew she had cheated us, and he also was happy because the bunch of bananas in his country would cost him at least three dollars (about two pounds in Nigeria then). So, they were both happy. What a lesson in selflessness and compassion.
Rev Brother Thomas McCrea, I am joining the multitude of your admirers in wishing you a happy and joyous 90th birthday celebrations. You have devoted your entire life in the service of God and humanity. May the good Lord grant you the grace to witness many more anniversaries in divine health and sound mind. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Seeking Multi-Talented Individuals

Ebenezer Adenusi aka Jackson (1966-70)

Brother Thomas for short as being called in those days remains a rare mentor. He knew everyone by first name. Honestly, I don’t know what would have been my status in life, if Brother Tom had not been there for me. He knew my multi-talent nature. But for only God knew then, he couldn’t push some of us to stardom. To God be the glory that I was privileged to be one of those who passed through his tutelage. I am what I am today having passed through this great citadel of knowledge under Brother Thomas.
Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns

Rising and Shining

Taiwo Akinkuolie (SJC 482: 1966-1970)

My name is Taiwo Akinkuolie. I was a student at St Joseph’s College from 1966 to 1970. My student’s admission number was 482. I was also a junior teacher in the school from January to September 1973, when Brother Thomas spent his last days as Principal of that great School.
My experiences as a student in the H. Sc. program in a neighboring School (Gboluji Grammar School, Ile-Oluji) from 1971 to 1972, and as a member of the Board of Governors of St Joseph’s after the exit of Brother Thomas all gave me the unique opportunity of appreciating the outstanding qualities and style of management of the enigma in the approximately seven years, he was Principal of the school.
Brother Thomas was a man of love. It takes one who has love for his students to, without being compelled, go round all the dormitories every early morning to wake students up, prepare us for chapel, motivate us with those encouraging exhortations and then release us to go for our breakfast where he was also present to ensure that we were served quality meals in the right quantity. I can never forget those morning ‘Rise and Shine’ and ‘Oya o, o ya, ya ya’ that were designed to wake us from sleep
He was a good listener. It was only after I left St Joseph’s and was a student under another Principal that I appreciated those moments when as students, we would freely canvas our usually pedestrian positions on issues with Brother Thomas and get away with them without being punished. Rather, he would bend over backwards to accommodate those laughable positions we took on matters of discipline and general administration. This experience till this day, has shaped my relationship with those under me, it has also helped me to advance my positions on issues before my superiors.


Brother Thomas was firm in his handling of student matters. He ensured that his instructions were carried out to the letter. Where there was the need for flexibility, he allowed for it. Little wonder then that there was not a single student unrest during his tenure. But for his liberal but firm approach to disciplinary matters As, some erring student would have been expelled from school for bad conduct and would possibly have ruined their destinies permanently. As a junior teacher under him, all the teachers worked with a common purpose. At our staff meetings, he allowed members to participate freely in all deliberations with some members making some undoubtedly frivolous suggestions, a practice that yielded quality decision on matters under discourse.
He showed total commitment in every department of the lives of students- in the field of sports, in the dining Hall, in the classrooms, in the laboratory, in the library, in the kitchen, in the evening preparatory classes- most times folding his hands behind his back and walking smartly and briskly and wearing a warm and friendly smile as he walked along. It would be interesting to see how Baba 90 now carries himself.
One of the enduring lessons of the limit of liberty that I learnt under his tutelage is that in exercising your own freedom to do a thing, recognize that another person’s right must be respected. He used to say “You have the freedom to swing your hands anyhow and in any direct that pleases you, but in doing so, the moment you begin to hit another person beside you, you no longer have that right “.
He was accommodating of our youthful exuberances almost to a fault and respected our culture and and traditions to the point that he even tolerated some students who took advanced this disposition to lie to justify their improper conduct.
Brother Thomas desired a great future for all the students. Apart from his usual exhortation along this line, he demonstrated this practically. I can never forget one morning when he saw Rahman Mimiko, Tomide Oyebola and myself playing near the school chapel and he invited us to go out with him in his car. We ended up at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). After driving round, the school campus, he asked us if we like all that we saw. We answered in the affirmative. He then said, ‘My boys, if you like what you have seen, work hard so that you can come here’. To the glory of God, both Mimiko and Oyebola ended up as students of the institution.
On another occasion, he took me along on a journey to the Central Schools Board, then in Ibadan. After completing his assignments, he headed for the campus of the University of Ibadan. After driving round, he asked me which of the two universities I liked better. I told him I preferred Ibadan. He said, ‘Work hard if you wish to be here’. Those words of encouragement fired me up. Again, to the glory of God, I ended up as a student at the University of Ibadan.

One of the excuses present day governments have against the return of schools to their original owners is that such Proprietors will impose their religion on all students in the institutions. It is on record that Bro Thomas and the two Principals before him respected the rights of every students to practice their religion unhindered. The Anglican students were allowed to go to the Cathedral in town on Sundays just as the Moslems among us were released to go to the Central Mosque every Friday. This liberal attitude to worship even encouraged some smart students to go to town on Fridays and Sundays, while also avoiding the daily early morning worship in the school chapel.
Among other things, Brother Thomas was friendly, warm and caring towards all his wards. In our occasional clash with students from other sister institutions in town and around, he always defended his students.
His selfless service at St Joseph’s is unparalleled and will continue to ring bells in the heart of all of us who were privileged to study and work under him. You have left an indelible footprint in the sands of time at St Joseph’s.
Here is wishing you sir a memorable celebration at 90, in good health and sound mind. For all you have done at St Joseph’s, May the heavens reward you, B Thom in Jesus name. Have a wonderful celebration Sir.

Thank You, Brother Thomas

Taiye (aka Tayita) Akinnawo (1966-70)

I was in St Joseph’s College Ondo to know you as and simply call you Brother Thomas w0ith no surname affixed to it. It was when I left school that I got to know your full name to be Francis Thomas McCrea. I thank God for your life on achieving the age of 90 years. Surely, God has been very merciful and faithful to you during these 90 years because you live a life of service to humanity. You live your life with lots of love, care, courage and perseverance. You were able to cope with the harsh environment in which you worked as a Principal in St Joseph’s College Ondo, Nigeria. There was no light, no water and all that were needed to give you a minimum comfort, but you persevered to ensure you gave us good education. I sincerely believe that God in His infinite mercies have considered all this to bless you with long life in good health.
Nobilitas and of course the Ondo Community appreciate you. Your footmarks at St Joseph’s College Ondo remain indelible. We cannot talk about St Joseph’s today without a mention of your name and your good works. We cannot forget how you cared for us as children, ensuring that we woke up early to assemble at the Chapel for morning devotion. We cannot forget how you were going round the dormitories at night, even at risk, to ensure we were on our beds. We cannot also forget how you chased us to classes and preps so that the purpose of sending us to school by our parents was not defeated. In short, you are a cherished and unforgettable Principal. You were not just interested in the students’ academic pursuit, you promoted sports development in St Joseph’s. In fact, your contributions to sports development and active participation in all competitions were unparalleled. That was the period we defeated Ondo Boys High School in Ondo Stadium. Also, in Athletics. Table Tennis. Volleyball and Basketball, you were no doubt a sports enthusiast par excellence pursuing all round sports development in the school.


On the occasion of your 90th birthday, I heartily congratulate and rejoice with our only Brother Thomas and join other enthusiastic admirers in wishing you a Happy 90th Birthday. I pray that the Almighty God’s presence will continue to abide with you. I also pray that God will continue to show you His marvelous loving kindness and hide you under the shadow of His wings. The Good Lord will continue to bless and protect you as you journey along the remaining years of your life in Jesus name. Many happy returns and many more years of excellent health and service to mankind.
And at 90 years, I say Congratulations and Many Happy Returns. Amen!

In a Time of Bereavement

Adewale Adesulure (a.k.a Ade Barna) (S.J.C 582) 1967 – 1971 Retired Tutor General/Permanent Secretary,Ondo State.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”


Brother Francis Thomas McCrea successfully played the role of a father who took good care of his numerous children by molding our lives in preparation for adulthood.
My first close interaction with him was in my first year at St. Joseph’s College (SJC) precisely sometimes in April 1967 (my first term in form one)
On this day, the Principal of Ondo Boys’ High School who was my uncle then (Late Rev. Canon J.A. Iluyomade) arrived at the office of our Principal (Bro. Thomas) to inform him about the demise of my father whom I had visited at the University College Hospital (U.C.H) Ibadan few weeks earlier during our midterm break.
Bro. Thomas sent for me from the classroom and on getting to his office he handed me over to his colleague i.e., my uncle (Principal O.B.H.S). The sad news was broken to me and my elder sister (a form 3 student then at St. Monica’s Girls Grammar School, Ondo) at the Principal’s residence in Ondo Boys High School.

Three Soccer Players

Dr Frank Thorpe: (SJC SET 1963—67). Retired medical director, GAVI consultant NPI, Secretary-General Paralympic Committee Nigeria.
I am honored to be an old boy of SJC, our great Alma Mater. It is noteworthy that most students that passed through SJC have done extremely well in their various fields of endeavors. We have engineers, medical doctors, teachers, professors, CEOs of companies, PhD holders in various disciplines and professions.


Thanks to the De La Salle Brothers that made these achievements possible.
There is no doubt that Brother Thomas played a significant role that contributed to the success story of SJC. He made sure the school rules and regulations were strictly adhered to.
My family the Thorpes – Walter, Ernest, and myself Frank – owe the school a lot of gratitude for the quality education and training that contributed to our achievements as medical doctors.
The SJC brought out our abilities in sports, especially soccer to the extent that the three of us played for the school and Western Nigeria Academicals.
Brother Thomas, I wish you a happy birthday and many happy returns of the day. May the Lord grant you more years in good health and peace of mind.