COVID-19 has also had a direct impact on pastoral work in Ghana, the Catholic Church leaders in the West African nation say.
“As a response to government’s measures to limit the spread of the virus, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference suspended the obligation for the faithful to physically attend Sunday masses,” they recall, adding, “A good number of persons have since not returned to Church due to fear of infections.”
Catechism and children’s services have also not resumed in several Parishes with visitations to the sick being carried out with extreme precaution, the Bishops note.
In the face of the challenges, GCBC members say they have realized that there are several opportunities for evangelization.
One of the opportunities, they say, is the realization that the Church throughout the country has to turn her attention to youth and women empowerment and skills training.
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“Basic technical and vocational skills need to become part and parcel of the formative programs in the church given to youth. Youth camps and holiday activities must consciously incorporate the teaching of basic employable skills such as soap making, mobile phone repairs and beverage brewing to the youth to teach them to support themselves in time of necessity,” Catholic Bishops in Ghana say.
They also note that the Church, which was caught “wrong-footed” when gatherings were restricted, has to urgently look into ways of harnessing technology as an effective pastoral tool for reaching out to her faithful.
“There is the need for the Church to pay particular attention to the area of Information and Communications Technology as the new Areopagus for evangelization,” GCBC members say in their November 8 statement.
They also say that COVID-19 has presented the Church with an opportunity “to bring all her children together as family in a concerted effort to overcome the challenges foisted upon her by this pandemic.”