*Sekondi-Takoradi Diocesan Christian Mothers Gather to Embrace Synodality and New Evangelization*
*Wasa Akropong, September 21, 2023* - The Sekondi-Takoradi Diocesan Christian Mothers Association has convened their 8th Biennial Diocesan Conference at Amenfiman Senior High School in Wasa Akropong, setting the stage for a profound exploration of the roles and responsibilities of Christian mothers and fathers in the modern Church.
Under the theme, 'Building a Synodal Church: The Christian Mother and Christian Father Factor in the Light of the New Evangelization,' this four-day conference, commencing on Thursday, September 21, 2023, and concluding on Sunday, September 24, 2023, seeks to delve into the challenges and opportunities facing the faithful in today's world.
In a keynote address, Mother Hannah Essuman, National President of the CMA, drew parallels between the characters in the parable of the Good Samaritan and the diverse roles within the Church. Her words echoed the call of Pope Francis for unity and shared decision-making in pastoral matters.
Mother Essuman stressed the importance of exemplifying true Christianity, as embodied by the Good Samaritan, and emphasized the need to heed the Holy Father's call. She called for a renewed commitment to evangelization from within and encouraged those who have strayed to return to the fold.
The concept of synodality, focusing on Communion, Participation, and Mission, was a central theme of her address. She emphasized that it is Christ who reconciles believers to the Father and unites them with each other in the Holy Spirit.
Transitioning to the New Evangelization, Mother Essuman questioned why some Catholics seek alternatives in other denominations when "our Church is the authentic one." She cautioned against engaging in occult practices and fetish consultations, urging vigilance.
Addressing the challenges of the modern world, she highlighted the rise of scams and the need for wisdom. Mother Essuman encouraged the faithful to remain steadfast and grateful for God's love and grace.
In closing, Mother Essuman expressed gratitude to the Diocese of Sekondi Takoradi for their support and urged unity in the pursuit of the New Evangelization.
Following Mother Essuman's address, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Asiedu Herzuah, the Dean of Wasa Akropong Deanery, expressed appreciation to the Diocesan Executives for bringing the conference to Wasa Akropong and wished them a successful conference.
Obaahenemaa Nana Abena Takyiwaa called for unity and encouraged past leaders of the association to support the new leadership while challenging the new leaders to work for the greater good of the association and leave a lasting legacy.
Nana Akua Ampomaa (Duwrampong Obaahenemaa) expressed gratitude for the honor of participating in the program and urged all attendees to actively engage for a successful conference.
Charles Damoah, the Chairperson for the opening ceremony and a representative of Amenfiman Rural Bank, thanked the Association for the invitation to be part of the program and stressed the importance of focusing on the Christian upbringing of children.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mother Olivia Ansu Amponsah (National Executive Secretary) and Mother Cecilia Edith Ackarson (Diocesan President), along with priests from the Deanery and Rev. Fr. Isaac Mensah (Diocesan Spiritual Director).
Fraternal messages were received from the Knights and Ladies of Marshall, Susana Wesley Association, and Amenfiman Senior High School.
The last Sekondi-Takoradi Diocesan Christian Mothers Association conference was held in 2017 at Sekondi College.
The Association began in 1943 by Catholic nuns in Axim with the aim of providing vocational skills training to empower women to support their families. Their mission also includes reducing poverty and fostering dynamic Christian values within families.
CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF SEKONDI-TAKORADI CELEBRATES RUBY, SILVER JUBILEE, AND 26TH PRIESTLY ORDINATION ANNIVERSARIES
The Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi held a spirit-filled thanksgiving Mass in honor of the Priests who were ordained in the years 1983, 1997, and 1998 respectively.
The epoch-making celebration which took place today at the Our Lady Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi saw the presence of numerous Priests, Religious men and women, and the lay faithful.
Very Rev. Fr. Philip Akru Tandoh, one of the Ruby Jubilarians who was the Chief celebrant, in his opening remarks, emphasized that the priesthood like any other vocation has its ups and downs pointing out that the joy of the ministry overcomes the challenges. He added that the celebrants have truly loved and lived their vocation and invited all present to heartily congratulate the celebrants.
Delivering the homily, Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Kodwo ESHUN, one of the Silver Jubilarians emphasized that they were able to achieve the milestones of 25, 26, and 40 years in the Priesthood because God has been with them throughout their life.
He noted that whatever they have achieved was a result of the Lord’s presence stressing that it was the Lord who shepherds the flock. He added that it was by God’s strength, power, might, and in his majestic name that they have attained the landmark underscoring the need for all to continue to rejoice in the Lord who is with us (Emmanuel).
Fr. Eshun emphasized that God has been very kind, merciful, and generous to them all through their life from the moment of their conception stressing that God has protected them from dangers and called on all to trust in the Lord who is always present and avoid fear.
In his address, the Vicar General, Very Rev. Fr Francis Kofi Lemaire shared that the Bishop, Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh had expressed a sincere desire to be present for the momentous celebration. He added that though the Bishop is in Rome attending an orientation program for Bishops, he sent his warmest congratulations and prayerful wishes to the celebrants. He presented envelopes to all the celebrants on behalf of the Bishop.
As part of the celebration, an undisclosed amount of money was given to the Jubilarians by the Cathedral community. Chasubles were presented to them by the President of the Priests Council on behalf of the priests.
Very Rev. Fr. John Baptist Ephraim in a vote of thanks on behalf of the celebrants expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Bishop, Vicar General, Priests, Religious, and all for their immense support and for celebrating with them and appreciating their humble and dedicated years in the priesthood describing the gathering as a microcosm of a synodal Church.
Welcoming the congregation to the Eucharistic celebration, Rev. Fr. Alexander Amponsah the Parochial Vicar of the Cathedral described the celebration as a time to reflect on how far the Lord has been gracious to the Celebrants and to join them in thanking the Lord.
He welcomed all with a fraternal embrace and an open hand of solidarity and prayed that all may find renewal and strength in the presence of God.
The celebrants included, Very Rev. Fr. Albert AMAKYI, Very Rev. Fr. Samuel Ebuley AFFUL, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Kwamena ARTHUR, Very Rev. Fr. James Kobina ARTHUR and Very Rev. Fr. Philip Akru TANDOH who celebrated their Ruby Anniversary while Very Rev. Frs. James Yamekeh ACKAH, Peter AMOAH, Joseph Ade AMODINE, Richard Kwayie DANQUAH, Anthony Nii Noi DOWUONA, John Baptist EPHRAIM, Anthony Brandford ESHUN, and Anthony Kodwo ESHUN, marked their Silver Jubilee in the Priestly service as well as Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Boah MENSAH who celebrated 26th Priestly Anniversary.
Following Mass, a reception was held at the Cathedral Parish Hall at which glowing tributes were paid to the Jubilarians for their years of dedicated service to the Lord in the Diocese. They were appreciated for the wonderful work have been doing over the years.
Congratulating the celebrants on their laudable achievements, Very Rev Fr. Emmanuel Dolphyne, the President of the Sekondi-Takoradi Diocesan Priests' Association on behalf of the priests noted that Jubilarians’ priesthood has become a beacon of hope and a source of comfort to those in need and expressed gratitude to them for their service while praying that the years ahead may bring them continuous strength, wisdom, divine grace as they carry out your priestly duties.
He expressed optimism that their dedication would continue to inspire others to walk in the part of righteousness and that their love for God and his people shine ever brighter.
**Bishop Attakruh Extends Heartfelt Congratulations to Ruby and Silver Jubilee Priests**
Rome, September 8, 2023 - The Most Rev John Baptist Attakruh, in a heartwarming gesture from the heart of the Vatican, has extended his warmest congratulations to the jubilant priests celebrating their Ruby and Silver Jubilee priestly ordination anniversaries.
"Hello, Jubilarians! Congratulations! Today, we celebrate you for responding to God's call with faith, hope, and love!" Bishop Attakruh wrote.
These devoted priests, who have spent a quarter-century and half-century in service to their faith, have indeed illuminated their communities and institutions with their unwavering ministry and presence.
The priests are :
25TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRIESTLY ORDINATION
1. Very Rev. Fr. James Yamekeh ACKAH
2. Very Rev. Fr. Peter AMOAH
3. Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Ade AMODINE
4. Very Rev. Fr. Richard Kwayie DANQUAH
5. Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Nii Noi DOWUONA
6. Very Rev. Fr. John Baptist EPHRAIM
7. Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Bradford ESHUN
8. Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Kodwo ESHUN
Very Rev. Fr. Raphael Boah MENSAH (26Th Anniversary)
40 (RUBY) ANNIVERSARY OF PRIESTLY ORDINATION
1. Very Rev. Fr. Albert AMAKYE
2. Very Rev. Fr. Samuel Ebuley AFFUL
3. Very Rev. Fr. Francis Kwamena ARTHUR
4. Very Rev. Fr. James Kobina ARTHUR
5. Very Rev. Fr. Philip Arku TANDOH
The Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi stood ready to host the anniversary thanksgiving Mass today Friday, September 8, 2023, a momentous occasion where these priests would be celebrated for their dedication, faith, and enduring commitment to their congregations.
Bishop Attakruh's message not only applauded their remarkable service but also invoked blessings from above: "May your priestly ministry continue to be fruitful and bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment. May our mother, Mary, whose birth we celebrate today, ever be the 'Star of the Sea' for you as you journey toward the heavenly homeland."
Bishop Attakruh is currently in Rome attending the orientation program for new bishops in 2023
**SEKONDI-TAKORADI DIOCESE SET TO ORDAIN TWELVE NEW PRIESTS**
The Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi is set to ordain twelve new priests this year.
The ordinations will take place on Saturday, October 7, 2023, at the 'Star of the Sea' Cathedral in Takoradi at 9:30 AM and on Friday, December 8, 2023, at the Immaculate Conception Church in Asankragwa at 9:30 AM respectively.
Among the candidates to be ordained are:
1. Rev. AGYIM, Prince Henry Austin from St. Anthony's Parish, Kwesimintsim
2. Rev. ASSAFUAH, Paul from Blessed Virgin Mary Rectorate, Egyam
3. Rev. BAFFOE, Martin Francis from Our Lady, 'Star of the Sea' Cathedral Parish, Takoradi
4. Rev. BONSU, Richard Osei from Immaculate Conception Parish, Huni Valley
5. Rev. COBBINAH, Francis Bomah from St. Patrick's Parish, Half Assini
6. Rev. DARKO, Celestine Owusu from St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish, Japa
7. Rev. ESSIEN, John Kerson from St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Agona Nkwanta
8. Rev. KWOFIE, Marcellinus from Divine Redeemer Parish, New Amanful-Funkoe
9. Rev. MINTAH, Emmanuel Oduro from St. John the Baptist Parish, Adiembra
10. Rev. NKETSIAH, Godwill from St. Anthony's Parish, Kwesimintsim
The candidates for the second ordination, which will take place on Friday, December 8, 2023, at the Immaculate Conception Church in Asankragwa at 9:30 AM include:
1. Rev. ADDAI, Gilbert Saniagya from Immaculate Conception Parish, Asankragwa
2. Rev. ASARE, Albert from Immaculate Conception Parish, Asankragwa
The Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh, in a circular to the Clergy, Religious, and Laity of the Diocese, extends his warm greetings of peace and love as they prepare to witness the ordination of these candidates.
As these candidates prepare to take on the sacred responsibilities of priesthood, Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh urges the faithful to keep them in their prayers. The ordinations stand as a testament to the enduring faith and commitment of these individuals to serve God and their community.
*Vicar General Leads Funeral Mass to Honor Late Catechist Boniface Mensaga Anumu*
The Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi came together in mourning and tribute as they bid a solemn farewell to the late Catechist, Mr. Boniface Mensaga Anumu.
The Burial Mass, held at St. John the Baptist Parish in Adiembra was presided over by Very Rev. Fr. Francis Kofi Lemaire, the Vicar General, joined by 10 priests from the Diocese.
Mr. Anumu, who dedicated an impressive sixty-five (65) years of his life to unwavering service to the Church and the community, was fondly remembered and honored during this ceremony.
In his address to the congregation, the Vicar General, Very Rev. Fr Francis Kofi Lemaire shared that the Bishop, Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh had expressed a sincere desire to be present for the farewell of Catechist Anumu alongside the family and the Diocese. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, the Bishop had to be in Rome attending an orientation program for a select group of Bishops.
During the homily, Rev. Fr. Alexander Ebo Saim echoed the Vicar General's praise for Mr. Anumu, urging the congregation to recognize their own talents and commit them to the service of the Church and their country. Fr. Ebo Saim emphasized the importance of supporting individuals who choose to utilize their gifts rather than hindering their efforts.
The solemn ceremony saw the presence of the following clergy, Rev. Monsignor Joseph Gyim-Austin, the Parish Priest, and Rev. Frs. George Eduayaw Ansah, Raphael K. Eshun, Joseph Okaine Quartey, Francis Baffoe Davis, Alexander Ebo Saim, Emmanuel Dolphyne, Martin Cromwell, Mark Anthony, and John Stephen.
In addition to the clergy, the event was attended by traditional rulers, the Diocesan Catechists Executives, Members of the Sekondi Deanery Catechists Association, and a cross-section of the laity of the Diocese.
"Bishop Attakruh Inspires Youth to Strengthen Faith Amidst Concerns of Declining Catholic Population"
The Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi, on Saturday, August 26, 2023, made his inaugural pastoral visit to Archbishop Porter's Girls Secondary School.
The day commenced with a Mass at 8:30 AM where twenty-six students received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Before delving into his homily, Bishop Attakruh expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the school's administration, diligent staff, and the warm-hearted students for their gracious reception.
He extolled the institution for its unwavering commitment to nurturing not only the academic success of its students but also the honor of the wider Catholic community.
The Bishop then addressed the Confirmation candidates, imparting a powerful message about the importance of unwavering faith.
He emphasized the divine gift of the Holy Spirit as their source of strength in these challenging times. Drawing attention to the unsettling trend unveiled by the 2021 Population and Housing Census—a decline in the Catholic population—he implored the candidates to become beacons of faith, drawing others into the fold, especially among their peers.
During his inspiring homily, Bishop Attakruh drew from the day's scripture, invoking the unwavering faith and dedication exemplified by Ruth's loyalty to her mother-in-law, Naomi.
He narrated how Ruth's steadfastness not only won her favor in the eyes of Boaz but also secured her place in the lineage, leading to David and, ultimately, to Jesus.
Bishop Attakruh concluded the homily by urging all in attendance to discern carefully whom to follow, for their choices profoundly shape their spiritual journey.
"St. John the Baptist Parish Celebrates Nine Decades of Faith with 161 Confirmations"
The St. John the Baptist Parish in Adiembra within the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi on Sunday, August 27, 2023, celebrated its 90th anniversary with a grand Thanksgiving Mass.
The day commenced with the arrival of the Bishop, Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh followed by an impressive parade led by the CYO and St. John's Cadet.
In his homily, Bishop Attakruh was full of gratitude to the congregation, acknowledging their foundational role in shaping the Church's presence in the community and the country at large.
He emphasized the continuity of faith, urging the faithful to pass down their devotion to the succeeding generations, mirroring the lineage of faith from Saint Peter.
A standout feature of the festivities was the confirmation ceremony, wherein a remarkable 161 candidates from the parish publicly affirmed their commitment to their spiritual journey as they received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Reverend Msgr. Joseph GYIM-AUSTIN, the Parish Priest, expressed profound appreciation for the unwavering support and dedication of the parishioners.
In a related development, the Parish Youth Council took the opportunity to unveil a beautifully crafted Signboard for the Church, symbolizing their unity and faith.
The Signboard received the blessing of Bishop Attakruh upon his arrival, adding to the significance of the occasion.
The event was graced by the presence of Reverend Father Paul Eliud Asibu, the Priest in-charge of Nkotompo, an outstation of Adiembra, along with the faithful of Nkotompo.
*CAPE-COAST GRAND TEMPLE CELEBRATES FIRST EXEMPLIFICATION WITH GRANDEUR*
The Cape Coast Grand Temple of the Noble and Exalted Knights of the Holy Cross, Knights of St. John International, on Saturday, August 5, 2023, elevated 59 candidates with the exemplification of the Noble Degree at the Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi.
The historic and colourful event marks the first Exemplification of the Cape Coast Grand Temple since its creation and inauguration on May 15, 2021, was performed by the Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh, the Catholic Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese.
The Noble and Exalted Knights of the Holy Cross is the Fifth Degree in the progression chart of the Order of Knights of St. John International and the penultimate honour that is awarded on merit to members for long and faithful service to God, the Holy Catholic Church, Order of Knights of St. John International, and the community.
Addressing the newly exemplified and knighted members, Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh urged them to be great examples for all and lift the image of the Church by the way they live, in their workplaces, and their communities so that through them God will win so many souls into the sheepfold of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Attakruh described the ceremony as beautiful and meaningful and likened it to the great commission. He emphasized that they have been sent on a mission as ambassadors of the faith and admonished them to seek holiness and embrace the mission for the sake of God and his kingdom.
He prayed for God to shower his blessings upon them while urging them to let their faith lead them, their hope give them courage and strength and their love be the crown of their life.
Brig-Gen Francis Koomson Banse, the Noble Lecturer, in his instruction expounded the significance of the different degrees highlighting lessons learned from them thus: the 1st degree was faith, 2nd degree unity, 3rd degree charity, 4th degree meaning and use of the uniform which is the full dignity and honour, pointing out that the Noble degree which is the highest was edifying and instructive.
He gave the historical antecedent that led to the inception of the Order, emphasizing that the aim was to defend the church from the attack of the infidel.
He further narrated the 10 commandments of the Order as belief in the church’s teaching, defense of the church, respect, and defense of the weak, love of country, not recoiling before an enemy, making war against the infidel, performing duties as citizens, being truthful and remaining faithful to one’s pledge word, being generous and charitable to everyone, and being the champion of the rights and the good against injustice and evil.
Earlier in his homily during the Eucharistic celebration that preceded the exemplification ceremony, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Lemaire, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi, noted that the gospel reading was providential given the witness of John the Baptist who knew the implication of telling Herod the truth but was courageous enough to brave it thereby putting his life on the line.
He charged the Knights to be trustworthy witnesses by their faith and reputation to evangelize emphasizing that they must know Jesus, and be like him to be effective in their evangelization and in living the social teaching of the Church.
Fr. Lemaire affirmed that the center of exemplification was the cross and prayed to the Holy Spirit to empower the Knights to recognize the holy cross and have the courage to carry it.
The exemplification ceremony commenced with the knighting of the Bishop.
The Bishop blessed the crosses and was adorned by the candidates as a reminder to them that Jesus Christ is the salvation of the world and that he saved the world by the cross.
Congratulating the new Noble Brothers, Brig-Gen Joseph Kwamena Brainoo, the Noble Grand Master informed them that the Holy Father, Pope Pius 11, on November 13, 1923, in recognition of the many sacrifices that the Knights of St. John International make to enhance the beauty of the ceremony of the Church granted indulgence every time a knight dons his uniform, and every time a knight puts on his cap to discharge his duty or take part in the liturgical ceremony, urging them to take the prayers that go with it with a contrite heart.
He admonished them to live good and pious lives that they may be a credit to themselves, to their honor, to the Church, and the community.
Other features of the ceremony included the Noble Knights' investiture, presentation of the ceremonial sword, marching cross formation, and procession for investiture. On Friday, August 4, 2023, the candidates participated in a series of enriching sessions. Very Fr. Francis Lemaire lectured on the Social Teachings of the Church, Rev. Fr. Albin Kissi Ernim spoke about prayer and Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Dolphyne guided them through a period of retreat.
Cultivate Love and Respect in Your Relationships-Fr. Krah to Couples
TAKORADI, August 21, 2023 — The Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi bore witness to a heartwarming mass wedding ceremony on Saturday, August 19, 2023, as ten couples embarked on the journey of holy matrimony.
The Very Rev. Fr. Lawrence Kwesi Krah, Cathedral Administrator, delivered the homily during the event, emphasizing the significance of building relationships on a foundation of love and respect.
Fr. Krah commended the couples for their decision to unite in marriage and urged them to serve as inspirations for others contemplating a similar path.
Fr. Krah shared, "When two people come together in love and respect, they create a foundation that can withstand life's challenges. Love is the cornerstone, and respect is the mortar that holds the structure together."
Fr. Krah continued by encouraging the couple to **"Cultivate love and respect in your relationships,"** . **"When you respect your partner, you are likely to forgive them when they offend you. And when you love deeply, you are bound to support each other through thick and thin."**
The mass wedding ceremony was not only a personal celebration for the couples but also a significant event in the weeklong program organized by the Star of the Sea Cathedral to commemorate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"KNIGHTS OF ST. JOHN INTERNATIONAL INAUGURATES NEW COMMANDERY - ST. PETER'S COMMANDERY NO. 984"
Shama, August 27, 2023 - The Knights of St. John International marked a significant milestone on Saturday, August 26, 2023, with the initiation of twenty-two (22) candidates into the first-degree order and the inauguration of a New Commandery at St. Peter's Parish at Shama Junction.
Brigadier General Joseph Kwamina Brainoo, the President of the Cape Coast Grand Commandery, addressed the candidates during the initiation ceremony, urging them to follow in the virtuous footsteps of St. John the Baptist and to lead lives that serve as models of virtue and righteousness.
Highlighting the historical significance of the Knights of St. John International within the Catholic Church, the President of the Cape Coast Grand Commandery underlined the order's role in defending the Church during times of persecution in the 15th century.
He urged the newly inaugurated commandery to channel their efforts towards expanding the order's presence as well as that of the Ladies Auxiliary in other parishes within the Shama Deanery.
The initiation ceremony was accompanied by a thanksgiving Mass the following day, presided over Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Dolphyne, the Diocesan Spiritual Director and Rev. Fr. Isaac Mensah, the Parish Priest.
In his homily, Reverend Father Mensah emphasized the importance of maintaining peace with others and refraining from corrupt practices in workplaces. He reminded the congregation that ultimate power and authority stem from a divine source.
The Parish Spiritual Director of the organization and the Parish Priest, Fr. Mensah was presented with a Charter denoting the authority of the newly established "St. Peter's Commandery No. 984.” He also handed over the Charter to the President of the Local Commandery, Brother Edward Ernest Insaidoo.
St. Peter's Parish at Shama Junction thus becomes the first Parish in the new Deanery of Shama to have the Society inaugurated.
The following are key executives and officers for the newly inaugurated Commandery:
- Bro. Edward Ernest Insaidoo - President
- Bro. Michael Ato Ackah - 1st Vice President
- Bro. George Samankwamu - 2nd Vice President
- Bro. Charles Akpo Akpome - Secretary
- Bro. Gabriel Asankoma Obeng - Financial Secretary
- Bro. David Koomson - Treasurer
- Bro. Charles Richmond Amissah - 1st Trustee
- Bro. Vincent Koomson - 2nd Trustee
- Bro. Emmanuel Nketsiah - 3rd Trustee
- Bro. Joseph Andoh - Messenger
- Bro. Patrick Annan - Sergeant at Arms
- Bro. Andrews Eshun - Guard
*NUGCCA ANNUAL CONFERENCE SPARKS PASSION FOR EVANGELIZATION*
The National Union of Ghana Catholic Catechists Association (NUGCCA) has commenced its annual conference at the St. Kizito’s Pastoral and Catechetical Centre, Apowa, in the Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese.
The event, taking place from August 3 to August 6, 2023, has drawn delegates from Arch/Dioceses all over Ghana.
Under the theme "The whole Church as a catechizing community with reference to the great commission" (Matt 28:18-20), the opening ceremony was graced by Mr. Augustine Ackah, as the distinguished chairman on Friday, August 4, 2023.
Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi, in a welcome address, extended warm greetings of peace and love to all present and noted that hospitality was indeed a mark of Ghanaian culture.
He added that he has spent the greatest part of his priestly ministry working in the area of catechesis and the formation of catechists. Hence, it was his greatest pleasure to welcome them to the conference.
While wishing the participants the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit in their deliberation on the theme, Bishop Attakruh emphasized that though the missionary mandate was for the whole Church the catechists were directly involved in teaching, catechising, and forming communities. He noted with gratitude that most of the parishes in the Diocese were begun as communities by catechists and commended them for the work they have been doing.
In a keynote address, Rev. Fr. Christopher Vodzogbe, Director of Catechetics of the National Catholic Secretariat, Accra, on behalf of Most Rev. Peter Atuahene, the Episcopal Chairman for Catechetics, emphasized that catechists are evangelizers/messengers of the good news and as messengers, catechists must be witnesses who must have had experiential knowledge of the Lord and must be called just like the apostles of Jesus were called.
He further noted that one who was called must be formed hence catechists must undergo formation for the ministry which entails catechetical or doctrinal formation, human formation, spiritual formation, and pastoral formation to equip them to carry out the mandate of Christ efficiently by making Christ known, loved & followed.
He identified the forms of evangelization, which included primary evangelization, teaching the rudiments of the faith, and continuous teaching or ongoing education in the faith adding that all amount to proclaiming the good news, to call for repentance, deepening of faith, reorientation or a crucial decision in one's life.
He outlined the role of the catechists in the Christian community as the proclamation of the Christian message and accompaniment of catechumens and the newly baptized Christian on their road to full maturity in the faith, presence, witness, involvement in human development, inculturation, and dialogue, pointing out that catechists explain the faith in the language the audience understands.
Fr. Vodzogbe reminded the Catechists that they were irreplaceable in the task of evangelization, stressing that they were the ones who catechize, teach, and explain the Catholic faith to others to deepen their understanding of the faith that ultimately leads to worship and living it in their daily lives.
In a goodwill message, Very Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Dolphyne, Diocesan Priests' Association President, on behalf of the priests of the diocese, congratulated the catechists and urged all to recognize and support their indispensable role as frontline evangelists who nurture the faith of others.
He added that the theme was a reminder that catechesis was a divine mandate that empowered us to share the good news and pass on the deposit of faith spurring all to embrace the vision of a catechizing community where everyone actively shares and deepens the faith in parishes, families and schools.
The lay Directress of the Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi, Dame Mrs Theresa Efua Arkhurst acknowledged with gratitude the efforts of the catechists in transmitting the faith over the years and appealed to them to continue to upgrade themselves in response to the signs of the times by leveraging on the opportunities of technology which has created a huge generational gap and constitutes a fertile ground for transmitting the message of the gospel.
The Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Augustine Ackah, headmaster of St. Mary's Boys SHS, Apowa urged the catechists not to allow salaries and remuneration to be a motivating factor in response to their call.
Other dignitaries present included Msgr. Joseph Gyim-Austin, Priest Personnel, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Couston Enyam, the Director of the Pastoral and Catechetical Centre, Very Rev. Fr. Lawrence Krah, Cathedral Administrator, Very Fr. Samuel Ebuley Afful, (Parish Priest of Shama), Religious and Nancy Anku Amewawor, NUGCCA Chairperson as well as representatives of the Knights of St. John International and St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Society.