SEKONDI-TAKORADI DIOCESE AWAITS HER FIFTH BISHOP
By: Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Dolphyne
The Catholic community in Ghana will have their gaze directed towards Takoradi on Friday, September 24, 2021, to witness the Episcopal Ordination and Installation of Rev. Msgr. John Baptist Attakruh as Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi. He will become the fifth bishop of the diocese.
The ceremony will take place at the Our Lady, Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi.
The much-anticipated event is expected to bring together Catholic faithful and people of diverse backgrounds including some prominent traditional and political leaders from all over Ghana.
As part of the ceremony, the new bishop will offer his first episcopal blessing to all assembled during the liturgy as well as those who may watch via live streaming.
An occasion as this presents moments that highlight the beauty of the Catholic Faith. It also provides an opportunity to strive for unity as members of God’s family despite our differences.
The Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi. was created from the Archdiocese of Cape Coast in 1969. Most Rev. Joseph Amihere Essuah was appointed the first bishop. The diocese which started with 14 priests, now boasts of over 150 priests with about 60 parishes and rectorates.
Over the years, the Diocese has made significant investments in infrastructure especially in the areas of pastoral care, education, and health. However, her most valuable asset remains her human resource base. Their dedication and selfless service to the Church have been commendable.
Unsurprisingly, upon his earlier appointment as Apostolic Administrator, Msgr. Attakruh reminded the Diocese’s Clergy, Religious, and Laity of their call to be “co-responsible,” This, he said to underline the importance of having “all hands on deck in working for the Diocese.”
The idea of “co-responsibility” or “shared responsibility” was an invitation for the Diocese’s Clergy, Religious and Laity to work together more closely. It is also a reminder “to brighten the corner where you are” as we work for the progress of the diocese.
According to Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, CSSp, the first-ever Synod of the Diocese held from October 26 to November 1, 2015, was the highest expression of our common responsibility for the Diocese.
In December 2019, the Diocese celebrated her Golden Jubilee. The theme for the celebration was “Arise Catholic Faithful; Let Us Build Together.” Building together implies that all and sundry must be involved regardless of talent.
For instance, the work of evangelism cannot be left to the Clergy and Religious alone especially in this age of the internet. The faithful can be involved by sharing the gospel via their social media handles.
Pope Saint John Paul 11 describes it beautifully in his message for the 36th World Communication Day in 2002 on the theme: Internet- A New Forum for Proclaiming the Gospel. He said, “the fact that through the internet people multiply their contacts in ways hitherto unthinkable opens up wonderful possibilities for spreading the Gospel”.
Today, according to Cardinal John Patrick Foley, individuals typically obtain catechesis through the media, for better or worse. That is why we must look for “teachable moments” where there is interest in the Church that we can take advantage of! There are periods when media attention is high, such as Ash Wednesday, Easter Sunday, and Christmas, and we may use the media to communicate and clarify our teaching.
The Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi represented by her Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful must take advantage of these “teachable moments” to advance the cause of the Gospel. Parishes and Institutions of the Diocese must look for a visible online and interactive presentations to help respond to people’s quest for the genuine Word of God.
Pope Francis believes that the Church’s mission should evolve with the times and make use of the latest technological tools available. It all boils down to stepping into the new Areopagus and announcing God’s mercy and goodness.
To this purpose, tech-savvy youths must volunteer in various parishes to provide their knowledge in the area of new media engagement. Imagine the impact of launching a social media campaign or a challenge like “recite the Nicene Creed challenge” or something similar where people can express their religion with others. Also, for these social media challenges to be sustained and help in the promotion of evangelization, we as a Diocese must look at quarterly Diocesan social media challenges to encourage our youth to be active and vibrant.
Let us be inspired by the examples of our past Shepherds, Bishops Joseph Amihere Essuah, Charles Kweku Sam, John Martin Darko, and John Bonaventure Kwofie, CSSp, as we prepare to usher in a new administration led by Rev. Msgr. John Baptist Attakruh.
May the joy of the upcoming celebration not blind us to our responsibility to the Catholic Diocese of Sekondi-Takoradi in front of our Divine Master, who assigns every one of us a work depending on our abilities