Bishops’ Chair Appeals for “healthy collaboration among” Pastoral Agents in Ghana

A section of Bishops in Ghana at the opening of 2019 Plenary Assembly in Cape Coast on November 11, 2019
Credit: Catholic Digest

At the opening of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Ghana, the President of Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), Archbishop Philip Naameh appealed for a collaborative ministry that would see various pastoral agents including Bishops, priests, women and men religious, catechists, among others, cooperate in witnessing to Gospel values in a manner that can contribute to overcoming the challenges facing the Church in the West African nation.

“To overcome the challenges facing the Church in Ghana today and to effectively bring the Good News of Christ to all people in the country and to every sphere of national life, there is a need for a prayerful re-strategizing and a healthy collaboration among the Bishops, priests, religious, catechists and other lay faithful, including the youth,” Archbishop Naameh said November 11.

“There should be regular or weekly prayer programmes in the parishes and outstations across the country,” the Archbishop of Tamale added.

According the Prelate, “to counteract particularly the negative effects of the proliferation of sects and new cults, as well as their diffusion among the Catholic faithful, there is an eminently pastoral necessity for the priest to be a man of God and a teacher of prayer.”

He shared with his brother Bishops the need for the Church in Ghana to establish a missionary congregation “of priests and religious whose members would be available to serve both outside Ghana, as well as in those dioceses in Ghana where there would be need for priests and religious.”

“All members of Christ’s faithful must feel ever more obliged to zealously carry the Good News by words and deeds to all aspects of their daily lives and this may entail renewal in how the Church operates today,” the Ghanaian Prelate said.

To ensure that the work of taking the Gospel to the periphery does not end with the conclusion of recently concluded Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 (EMMOCT2019), the  third Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale expressed the need for Church leaders to consult with the lay faithful and together to “reflect on and design comprehensive and systematic programmes that ensure individually and collectively the Church in Ghana is permanently in a state of mission.”

“The programmes should be designed for the various categories and age groupings in the Church,” the Archbishop said and added, “The pastoral plans and activities of the leaders of the Church should always be missionary-oriented.”

According to the Chair of Ghana Bishops’ conference, the “laity should be ready to fully participate in the comprehensive programmes to be designed with their consultation,” and “the programmes and activities of the various lay associations (societies) in the Church should be more missionary-oriented.”

While he acknowledged the key role that catechists play in the Church at the grassroots, the Archbishop went on to suggest that their roles be redefined “to be more missionary-oriented, their activities better resourced and their proper remuneration reconsidered”. All this can be done, he said, while harnessing the expertise of professionals in the Church so as to “enrich both the content and delivery of training programmes.”

To the young people, the Archbishop echoed Pope Francis’ message to the youth as contained in the  Post-Synodal Exhortation ‘Christus Vivit’ where he urged youths to be courageous saying, “Filled with the love of Christ, young people are called to be witnesses of the Gospel wherever they find themselves, by the way they live.”

The weeklong 2019 Plenary Assembly of the Bishops of Ghana is taking place in southern Ghanaian city of Cape Coast under the theme “Baptised and Sent: Living Our mission in Ghana today” and is expected to end on Saturday, November 16.

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