, 14 January, 2020 / 4:04 AM
In recent celebrations of the ordination of deacons in the West African nation of Ghana, candidates to the diaconate have been encouraged by their Local Ordinaries to take up the role of service as critical to their ministry and to do so with the right approach.
In the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle told the 13 candidates he was ordaining deacons Saturday, January 11, “Your ministry as deacons is a call to service; you have been chosen to serve the Church and you have to undertake that duty in simplicity, humility and with a heart full of charity.”
Referencing the Book of Numbers where God asked Moses to “bring (members of) the tribe of Levi to Aaron the Priest to be his assistants,” Archbishop Palmer-Buckle affirmed that “deacons are ordained to assist the Bishop and priests of a diocese as they carry out their priestly ministry."
The Ghanaian Prelate who is the Vice President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) further urged the deacons to never to forget the sick, the poor and the aged who would be the recipients of their service as they undertake their duties.
“You would be deacons to take pains to meditate on the Word of God and prepare very well before proclaiming it," the 69-year-old Prelate said at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Moree, the venue of the Saturday ordination event.
A day before, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, John Bonaventure Kwofie had delivered the same message of “service” during the ordination of seven deacons in Accra.
“Diaconate is a ministry of service," Archbishop Kwofie said Friday, January 10.
Addressing himself to the seven candidates he was ordaining as deacons, the Ghanaian Prelate who is a Spiritan said, “You will proclaim the word of God, you will prepare the altar for the sacrifice of the Mass and give the Lord’s body and blood to the community of believers.”
“Unfortunately, I think that the transition period of service is too short. But remember, whether it is short or long, doesn’t really matter as to whether or not you will integrate the spirituality of service in your overall priestly ministry, whose basis, after all, is service, nothing but service,” he emphasized during the celebration held at St. John the Evangelist Church at Adenta, Accra.
According to the 61-year-old Archbishop, deacons should emulate Jesus Christ who did not come to be served but to serve, by not departing from their “core duties of preaching the gospel, bringing healing to the sick as well as comforting the afflicted and making themselves servants to all."
He underscored, “We are ordained to heal the sick, to preach the kingdom, to comfort the afflicted, to bring God to the lonely and those who are in despair, to preach the message of hope.”
“You make yourself servants of all - the rich and poor, the young and old, the socially recognized and the socially marginalized, the sick and strong, the haves and have nots,” the Archbishop of Accra who doubles as the Apostolic Administrator of Ghana’s Sekondi-Takoradi diocese told the candidates to the diaconate and emphasized, “You will be servants of all and of course, if you do not serve as deacons, you become really a disgrace to the ministry.”
Speaking on January 6 during the ordination of three deacons at the St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Kwesiminstim in Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese, Archbishop Kwofie urged the candidates “to do the will of God generously, serve God and humankind in love and joy and look upon all unchastely and avarice as worship of false gods.”
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