SEKONDI-TAKORADI DIOCESE CELEBRATES CHRISM MASS 2020
On Thursday, 30th April, 2020, the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi celebrated its Chrism Mass for the religious year. The Mass which is normally celebrated during the Holy Week had to be postponed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting directives issued by the government of Ghana. The Mass which should have had all priests in the diocese participating as well as lay faithful was celebrated with only the Deans and a few lay functionaries with social distancing rules in full force.
In his homily, Archbishop Kwofie expressed gratitude to priests in the diocese and further expressed unity with priests and lay faithful suffering physical ailments in one form or another as well us unity with priests from the diocese assigned to duty and studying outside the diocese. His prayers had always been that, priests, religious, PPC members and societal leaders across the various parishes and church communities would responsibly do their part for the growth of the diocese.
He made mention of the fact that, ideally, over a hundred and twenty priests together with the lay faithful should have been in attendance to celebrate the Mass but as a result of us not being in normal times, only a handful of priests were present. He said, “It looks strange but the work of God must go on. God continues to use this situation to speak to us” and went on to state that the Mass was being celebrated to bless Oils to be used by priests in their ministry.
The oil of Catechumen used before Baptism prepares Catechumens to receive the Sacrament of Baptism and the Holy Spirit. Archbishop Kwofie said, “This oil will strengthen them against the empty promises and lures of the Evil One. The oil of Catechumen is especially important in a culture like ours, where the presence of the evil one is imagined everywhere”. He prayed that the anointing of the oil give Catechumen the grace to be conquerors of the forces of evil and darkness in our society.
The Oil of the Sick he said, “will be used to give life to our sick, to provide spiritual and physical remedy to those who suffer various forms of ailment”. He bemoaned physical suffering as a terrible experience and the fact that some Catholics are running from one church to another, seeking healing for their ailments. He prayed that they recognise in Mother Church, a deposit of spiritual patrimony that can nourish their bodies and give life to their souls.
The Oil of Chrism when consecrated, will be used for the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. During the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Oil will be used to anoint candidates and will receive the Holy Spirit so they become witnesses to the message of the death and resurrection of the Lord. Going on, he said, “You all who are baptised and confirmed, remember, that you have been anointed with the Oil of Chrism, with the Holy Spirit and you stand as witnesses to the message of the Lord Jesus Christ”. The Oil is also used for the Sacrament of priestly ordination. It sets the priests apart for the services of the Lord. “As Christ our saviour is himself the anointed one, we who are anointed with the Oil of Chrism, become incorporated into him who died, was buried and rose from the dead so that the world will live”, he said. He stated further, that as part of the body of Christ, we must do things that are of Christ and also that by means of the anointing, we become sharers in the kingly, prophetic and priesthood of Christ. This same Oil will be used for the dedication of churches, to set them apart as places of worship where God himself dwells and where we enter to offer our worship.
A major feature of the Mass, the renewal of priestly promises, could not however be performed. Archbishop Kwofie said the renewal of promises had always spoken to him, especially when the Bishop turns to the lay faithful and tells them, “Pray for your priests and pray also for me your Bishop”. He said this touched him a lot, as it reminds him of our human fragility. He reminded the lay faithful to pray that God will keep his priests faithful as ministers of Christ, and the bishop, faithful to the Apostolic office entrusted to him. Speaking further, he said, “We request this from you, our lay faithful to pray for us to remain faithful as priests, to remain faithful to the Apostolic office that has been entrusted to us”.
Addressing the priests, he said it impossible to do anything by thinking their intellectual and physical power can carry them in their ministry. “The power we use to minister in the house of God, on behalf of the people of God, for the people of God is a capacity that comes from the Lord”, further stating, it is the reason for which, as priests, they must seek the face of the Lord each day and seek to connect with the Lord through prayer and listen to him through the words of scripture. He said they as priests had no power, except the power that comes from above and mentioned that “sometimes, we get so sure of ourselves that we forget to connect to the Lord who strengthens us”. Mentioning the tendency to remove God from the centre and place themselves at the centre, he asked that they remember the words of Jesus to Simon when the latter was sure of himself before the Passion of the Lord, “Simon, satan wishes to sift you all like wheat but I have prayed for you so that your faith does not fall” (Luke 22:31-32).
Referring to 1 Peter 5:1-4, he said the priest is to take care of the flock entrusted to them. Taking care of the flock also meant being a teacher of the flock. Calling attention to Catholic youth, he mentioned their suffering as a result of people dislodging the faith of the weak ones with ideologies and teachings of falsehood and said as pastor. He spoke about the challenges COVID-19 has placed before them us priests and the church in general and said it was time to reflect deeply on what it means to be a priest in these days of the virus when the people cannot congregate in the churches, reflect on the style of priestly ministry, even beyond the pandemic and considering the obvious fact that, the virus was re-shaping the world. He urged them to start a real reflection so they can hear the voice of the good shepherd who knows his sheep in all these.
He concluded with the prayer, “May God empower us with his own spirit so that we can be true pastors of the people he has entrusted to us. May God bless us all, Amen”.
The Chrism Mass which was presided over by Most.Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, CSSp, the Archbishop of Accra and the Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi) was concelebrated by the seven Deans of the various deaneries in the diocese; it was also streamed live on YouTube and Facebook for the virtual participation of the Priests, Religious and the Lay Faithful of the Diocese and beyond.
Department for Social Communications
Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi
MSGR ABUAH-QUANSAH AND FR. AWUAH BURIED
The funeral Mass for Msgr. Francis Abuah-Quansah and Fr. Paul Awuah has been held at the Star of the Sea Cathedral, Takoradi. The Mass held on Thursday, February 13, 2020 was presided over by His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, President of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Addressing the congregation, Cardinal Turkson called on all to pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of Msgr. Abuah-Quansah and Fr. Awuah asking God to be “gracious, merciful and compassionate to them” He also prayed for God’s consolation for “the families, friends and loved ones of the two beloved priests.”
Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape-Coast who gave the homily encouraged all present to believe in the truth of the resurrection. He said, “Our tears, pain and sadness should not be like that of those who do not belief in the resurrection and eternal life. Jesus says ‘I am the Resurrection and the life.” He added that believing in truth of these words of Jesus “is the key to opening the graces of God in Christ Jesus won for us by His sacrificial death on the cross.”
He further called on all present to hold strong to their faith especially in tough times. “It is easy to profess faith and yet not believe fully. There are moment in our lives when we are confronted with believing what we profess with our lips. Jesus tells us that if we believe we are going to see the glory of God. Very often when someone dies, it is you and I see who are alive who are being called to marshal our faith in order to see the glory of God.”
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle who also happens to be a classmate of Msgr. Francis Abuah-Quansah asked the congregation to “ask the Lord to increase our faith in the resurrection and pray that they may be rewarded for the many years of priestly services they rendered when they were with us in human flesh.”
Msgr. Abuah-Quansah was born on March 28, 1950 and ordained a priest on July 25, 1979. His early assignments as a priests were in Asankragwa and Apowa. He also served as Director, Center for Human Development (CEHUD) and Rector of St. Paul’s Seminary, Sowutuom. He was Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse, USA and Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi from 2010 to 2015 and from 2015 to 2019 respectively. Until his demise on January 6, 2020, he was the Delegate of the Apostolic Administrator for the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi.
Very Rev. Fr. Paul Awuah was born June 10, 1959 and ordained a priest on July 18, 1992. He was Parochial Vicar of St. Paul’s Pro-Cathedral, Sekondi from 1992 to 1998. He also served as Pastor of Parishes in Kwesimintsim, Axim and Asankragwa. Until his passing away on January 3, 2020, he was the Dean of the Asankragwa Deanery and member of the Presbyteral Council of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi.
The Mass was concelebrated by over 300 priests and thousands of lay faithful.
(carrying of their mortal remains during the final commendation)
THREE NEW DEACONS ORDAINED FOR SEKONDI-TAKORADI DIOCESE
BY: REV. FR EMMANUEL DOLPHYNE
Three new Deacons have been ordained for the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi. The three, Rev. Stephen Awortwe Baidoo, Rev. Ernest Boateng and Rev. Justice Azane Kenyah come from the St. Anthony’s Parish, Kwesiminstim, Immaculate Conception Parish, Asankragwa, and St. Peter’s Parish, Jaway Wharf.
The Mass presided over by the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese, Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, CSSp was celebrated at the St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Kwesiminstim on Monday, January 6, 2020.
Addressing the new Deacons, Archbishop Kwofie urged them “to do the will of God generously.” He also encouraged them to “serve God and humankind in love and joy” and to “look upon all unchastity and avarice as worship of false gods.”
The Archbishop further asked all present to support the newly ordained deacons with prayer as they begin their ministry.
(Archbishop Kwofie with the newly ordained Deacons)