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Catholic Bishops in Ghana Urge Faithful to Strengthen Family Bonds During Lenten Season

Members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC). Credit: Courtesy Photo

Members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) have urged the faithful in the West African country to focus on strengthening family bonds during this year’s Lenten Season.

In their Tuesday, March 1 statement shared with ACI Africa ahead of Ash Wednesday, the Catholic Bishops reflect on the ongoing Synod on Synodality and say that every member of the Church should participate in strengthening family bonds as the mission of the Church during this Lenten Season.

“As the Church reflects on her mission and listens more attentively to the new pathways that the Holy Spirit has fashioned for her, we call on all Christians to celebrate this year's penitential season by strengthening the family bond that exists among us,” the Catholic Bishops say.

They say that no member of the Church should stand on the periphery and observe others participate in the penitential season adding that such an attitude renders one to appear as a stranger in the Church.

“The contribution of each member is indispensable in the evangelizing mission entrusted to the Church. This form of cooperation is of greater consideration in accordance with the nature of the ongoing Synod,” GCBC members say. 

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They say that the faithful have a responsibility of accommodating those rejected by family members and even by the larger society as part of celebrating lent that began on March 2.

“No matter how saddened one feels, that he or she may have been rejected by family, friends or society, we need to help these people to find comfort and solace in God who knows the number of hairs on our heads,” Catholic Bishops in Ghana say in their March 1 statement. 

They add, “In the spirit of participation, we should aspire to overcome the spirit of individualism and the attitude of apathy displayed by some members of the Church.”

GCBC members say that the faithful should express support for one another as a motivation and inspiration during the Lenten Season and that the period should foster togetherness.

“This vivid way of expressing God's intimate knowledge, attention, care and support for each of us should be our Christian motivation and inspiration in this period and beyond,” the Catholic Bishops say.

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They explain, “We must give our time, attention, talent, care and counsel to support and assist one another. The deepest moment of sorrow must become for us a moment of togetherness.”

The Bishops make reference to St. Augustine’s admonition of Christians to seek association with those separated from the church and say that in the spirit of communion, those still in the church need to grieve for the separated saying that they are still “our brothers.”

“My friends, we must grieve over these as over our brothers. Whether they like it or not, they are our brothers, and they will cease to be so only when they no longer say ‘Our Father’”, they say.

In their March 1 statement, GCBC members underline the need for the people of God as the “chosen people” to share in the suffering of the servant of the Lord, which they say is key to the salvation of humanity.

They further say that the vocation of the people of God is a journey that entails constant interior conversion and that the Lenten Season is one of the occasions that trigger change.

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“The season of Lent is a time when we are called to embrace the abundance of renewing grace. We are enjoined to continually die to sin and to ourselves, purify our minds and live in joyful hope for the celebration of the mysteries of our redemption. We are to make a human response to the divine initiative of inviting us to Himself,” Catholic Bishops in Ghana say in their March statement.