, 15 February, 2020 / 4:00 PM
At the climax celebration to mark 75 years since the establishment of a Church in Ghana’s Accra Archdiocese, the former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings urged followers of Christ in the West African country to “back their prayer of thoughts and words with actions to achieve desired responses and results, as prayer alone was insufficient to solve their problems.”
“We often fail to engage the prayer of action, but without it, we cannot give life to the prayer of words or thoughts,” Mr Rawlings told hundreds of Christians and government dignitaries who had gathered February 9 at St. Paul Catholic Church in Kpehe, a suburb of Accra, the venue of the conclusion of the 75th anniversary celebration of the Church.
“To be a Catholic is a responsibility that must be taken seriously by all who profess the Catholic faith,” the former Head of State said.
Referencing Pope Francis’ gesture of humility when he took the bold step through action to kiss the feet of two South Sudanese political opponents at the Vatican and asking them to maintain reconcile and live in peace, Rawlings said, “Pope’s action is a call to Christians to have courage of conviction to live by the truth.”
He recounted his dream of becoming a priest and went on to urge followers of Christ in his country to wake up to the essence of Christ’s death and fearlessly stand up for the truth like Jesus Christ did.
“You should be prepared to die for freedom, justice, your belief and you should be fearless like Christ to stand up for the truth,” Rawlings said.
He also urged African politicians to learn the ethics of life and noble conducts from traditional rulers whom he said were the embodiment of values of countries in Africa.
“Some politicians resort to ungodly acts, a practice far from that of traditional leaders,” he lamented and called on politicians “to desist from ungodly practices like corruption, telling lies and stealing but make the effort to be truthful and showing love to all humanity.”
The Diamond Jubilee Mass was presided over by Spiritan Archbishop John Bonaventure Kwofie, of Accra who, citing the Gospel of the day, noted that “the first step to holiness is to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
In his homily, Archbishop Kwofie described Christianity as a “non-negotiable call to holiness and exemplary life because Jesus Christ on whom their faith was anchored was holy.”
He advised Christians to respect the virtues of justice, mercy, love, forgiveness, and reconciliation, asking them to strive hard to be lights to worldly darkness.
The 61-year-old Ghanaian Prelate further called on the faithful to make a difference at their homes, communities, and workplaces, saying, “We cannot continue to do the same thing; we must stand out and give a message to the world as it keeps getting sour by the choices we make in our daily lives. Our workplaces are getting sour because of the choices we make.”
“Your fast must make society but not to exploit innocent people, he said and added, “Let us do our best to grow the Church as family of God in Africa; we are all called to make it a home where everyone matters and is loved, what you do as one member, you do for all.”
On his part, Fr. Peter Rocky Hesse, the Parish Priest of the Diamond Jubilee Church said the theme of the anniversary, “Call to Holiness” was worth reflecting saying, “it is not limited to just the clergy, the consecrated, or those who live a contemplate life.”
“We are called to holiness, whatever our role, by living our lives with love and becoming witnesses and turning to God every day,” Fr. Hesse said and added, “this is our mandate and obligation we ought to respond to as we celebrate the goodness of the Lord.”
The cleric asked the faithful “to allow the Word of God to be a compass to navigate their bearing by frequenting the Holy Eucharist to strengthen themselves for their Christian pilgrimage.”
Meanwhile, Chair of the Parish Pastoral Council, Ruth Dede Yankey said the call to holiness should be the desire and duty every Christian.
The call to holiness, Ms. Yankey said, “must be in all affairs, in every kind of condition and towards all men. We must watch and pray against the sins which we are inclined to.”
To her, “this can be accomplished by preparing ourselves to obey, focusing on the hope of our future glorification and by conforming ourselves to God’s purity.”
As part of the anniversary, Archbishop Kwofie administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 63 candidates and urged them to make themselves soldiers of Christ by standing firm in the faith and ready to defend the Catholic Church.
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