, 16 October, 2020 / 8:24 PM
The new representative of the Holy Father in Ghana has, on the occasion of the first public Mass that was held on Thursday, October 15 to officially welcome him, thanked the people of God in the West African country for the “great hospitality” accorded him.
Extending the blessings and best wishes of Pope Francis to the people of God in Ghana, Archbishop Henryk Mieczyslaw Jagodzinski who was appointed by Pope Francis as the ninth Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana in May said that he was already feeling at home in the country.
“I feel really at home because of the great hospitality given to me so far after my arrival in Ghana on September 8. I feel the fruits of Pope Francis’ latest Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, which focuses on Brotherhood,” said Archbishop Jagodzinski.
Requesting for the support of the leadership of the Church in Ghana to perform his Apostolic duties, he added, “From the bottom of my heart, I offer Holy Mass for the growth of the Church in Ghana and ask for God’s blessings on you all.”
The Papal Representative expressed gratitude to the Clergy and Lay faithful for their sacrifices in joining him at the welcome Mass to pray with him in thanking God, pointing out that “the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Church.”
Welcoming Archbishop Jagodzinski to Ghana, Catholic Bishops in the West African country asked the representative of the Holy Father not to be afraid, assuring him of their maximum cooperation and “total support” in his new Apostolic duties.
“We assure you of our cooperation and total support. We are with you always, therefore do not be afraid,” the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Archbishop Philip Naameh told Archbishop Jagodzinski.
The Holy Mass that was held at the Holy Spirit Cathedral of Accra Archdiocese on the Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila to welcome the 51-year-old Diplomat was attended by Bishops in Ghana, members of the Clergy, Religious men and women, and scores of Lay faithful.
“We gather today to welcome you our new Nuncio and we are therefore happy to welcome you in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist,” Archbishop Naameh said, and added.
He added, “As the Church in Ghana welcomes you to Ghana, we pray that St. Teresa of Avila whose feast day we mark today on the occasion of your welcome Mass will intercede on behalf of the Church and the activities of the Nunciature.”
The 72-year-old Ghanaian Archbishop advised the people of God in attendance “to see the Church as a mother and a source of unity, and ensure that you draw all things together under Christ.”
Making reference to the readings of the day, the Archbishop urged the members of the Clergy and the Lay faithful to avoid things that could likely make them deviate from the things of Christ, counselling them “to eschew the life of hypocrisy which has become a destruction in our Christian lives.”
He went on to encourage the reinstatement of justice and peace in the country, asking Ghanaians “to wish for ourselves that our upcoming elections in December will come out peacefully and successfully.”
The Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Tamale Archdiocese gave a brief history of the Church in Ghana which was re-founded in 1880 by the Society of African Missions (SMA) in the South and by the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in 1905 in the Northern part of the Country.
“The Church in Ghana is over 140 years old with a remarkable growth of being a small community in the Western Coast to a large community in the 16 Regions of Ghana,” he said.
He told the Papal representative that there has been remarkable growth of the Church with 19 Dioceses and a Vicariate; about 2,000 Diocesan and Religious Priests; and about 60 male and female Religious Orders.
“We have a vibrant laity who support the evangelization mission of the Church and who have offered themselves to be formed and transformed by the Church. Some men and women have been recognized by the Pope with the conferment as Papal Knights and Dames,” he told the new representative of the Holy Father in Ghana on October 15.
Welcoming the Nuncio earlier, the Vice President of the GCBC, Archbishop Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle said, “It is with great joy that the entire Church in Ghana will like to welcome you.”
Ordained a Priest in June 1995, Archbishop Jagodzinski entered the Holy See diplomatic service in 2001. Since then, he has served in the Pontifical Representations in Belarus, Croatia and India as well as the Vatican’s Section for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State.
From 2018 until his May 3 appointment as Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, he was assigned as First Counsellor in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
In Ghana, he has succeeded Archbishop Jean Marie Speich who served as Apostolic Nuncio in the West African nation for a period of six years, from August 2013 to March 2019.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa