“Every Bishop is a gift to Church, humanity”: Ghanaian Prelate at Episcopal Ordination

Bishop John Baptist Attakruh of Ghana's Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Episcopal ministry is a gift from God to the Church, humanity and the shepherd himself called to serve God’s people, a Catholic Archbishop in Ghana has said.

In his homily during the Episcopal ordination of John Baptist Attakruh as the Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese September 24, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle underscored the need to recognize the call to ministry as being based on “God’s own purpose.”

“You are a gift first to yourself; a gift to the Church, the body of Christ, and a gift to the nations and humanity,” Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said.

He added, “Everyone called to be Bishop is called not in virtue of his works but in virtue of God’s own purpose and the grace which God gives in Christ Jesus, manifested through the image of our savior Jesus Christ.”

“When the Lord calls for any task, it is not because of anybody’s works or anybody’s exceptional virtues or qualities; what God wants from us is love, selfless love for those entrusted to our care,” the Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Cape Coast Archdiocese explained.


Addressing himself to the candidate for the Episcopacy, the Ghanaian Archbishop emphasized the primary of love in Episcopal ministry saying, “You are to feed the lambs of Jesus out of love; you are to tend his sheep out of love; you are to feed the sheep out of love. You are to be the shepherd of Christ’s flock guarding and protecting them against evil.”

He went on to highlight the threefold ministry of a Catholic Bishop saying, “You are to be the teacher of the word of God feeding the sheep and lambs with the truth of the Holy scriptures, the word of God which is Christ himself. You are to be the Priest of the sacraments of Christ feeding the lambs and sheep with the body and blood of Christ. You are to lead the sheep and lambs entrusted to your care to salvation.”

Making reference to the call of Prophet Jeremiah, Archbishop Palmer-Buckle told the candidate to be ordained Bishop, “I know you before you were formed in the womb and consecrated as a Priest to nations. I called you, don’t be afraid. Behold, I will put my words in your mouth. That’s the mystery of the prophetic mission of God.”

He urged the new Bishop to be a “fearless apostle, working with the unfathomable gift from God, the  power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of humanity and laying his hands on the people.”

“The evil one will always try to mess with you, but I pray that you shall always overcome,” Archbishop Palmer-Buckle said.  

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He asked the Priests, women and men Religious and the Laity in Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese to welcome Bishop Attakruh by supporting and assisting him to carry out his mandate as the shepherd of the Ghanaian Diocese.

Bishop Attakruh who first served as Apostolic Administrator of Ghana’s Sekondi-Takoradi was appointed the Local Ordinary of the same Episcopal See on June 24.

Born in October 1957, he was ordained a Priest of the Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi on 30 July 1989.

Also speaking at the September 24 Episcopal ordination event that took place at Our Lady Star of the Sea Cathedral of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, the Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana, Archbishop Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński, described Bishop Attakruh as his first son since he was the first to be ordained by him.

He challenged the new Catholic Prelate to be a “Bishop for the present and future.”


“I know it is not easy to be a Bishop but with God’s blessing you will be able to shepherd the sheep of Christ,” Archbishop Jagodziński added.

In his goodwill message on behalf of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference (GCBC), Archbishop Philip Naameh congratulated and welcomed Bishop Attakruh to the fraternity of the conference and pledged support as he begins his Episcopal journey.

Archbishop Naameh who is the President of GCBC described the new Bishop is “a mystery gift to the Church” and called upon Priests, women and men Religious and Laity to collaborate and support their shepherd in his Episcopal journey.

On his part, Bishop Attakruh expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for his confidence in him saying, “I'm grateful and humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in me that I will be able to shepherd the vibrant Church in the Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.