Information reaching the office of RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY at its headquarters in Abidjan, the capital city of Ivory Coast has it that a Bishop has Urged our Major Superiors to Help Boost the Population of Catholics in Ghana.

The Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Clergy and Religion at the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has called on major superiors in the West African nation to help the Church boost the number of Catholics in the country.

In his address at the start of the first biannual meeting of members of the Conference of Major Superiors of Religious in Ghana (CMSR-Gh), Bishop John Alphonse Asiedu expressed concern that the population of Catholics in the West African country has been on a downward trajectory in recent years.

“Between the year 2000 and 2021, the decline has been continuous and at the rate of about 3.1 percent as reflected in the last two national population and housing census,” Bishop Asiedo said, and added, “We need to commit ourselves to working together to stem the tide of the decline and to begin to grow the population of Catholics in Ghana.

“I believe that the role of this conference and all your members, Consecrated Men and Women living and working in Ghana, is very crucial,” the bishop said at the Wednesday, March 13 event that was held at St. Arnold Janssen Spirituality Centre Bortianor Hills, Tuba, Ghana.

“The fact remains that the Catholic faith was brought into this country by your religious orders, whom we commonly refer to as pioneer missionaries. Thus, the initial work of preparing the grounds and planting the seed of Catholic faith was by your members,” the Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Donkorkrom Vicariate said.

He noted that over the years, the presence and work of the missionaries in Ghana had brought immense transformation to the lives of the Ghanaian people. “It is this transformative light of the gospel that had kept the church in Ghana growing in the number of its members,” he said.

The Ghanaian member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) posed, “Today, due to the decline in the number of our members, are we to say that, the transformative light is deeming? What is it that we are not doing right? How effective are we in carrying out our mission? How well are we witnessing the Gospel of Christ in our challenging world?”

“We all have the responsibility from now on as Christ faithful to see to it that the number of our Catholic population does not see a further decline, but rather should increase,” Bishop Asiedu told religious attending the March 13-14 meeting.

He recalled the 2022 message of GCBC members on the declining Catholic population, saying, “I want to take this opportunity to reiterate some of the resolutions we, your Bishops took at our last plenary assembly in Sunyani as means of fostering the growth of the Catholic Church in Ghana.”

He challenged religious congregations in Ghana to undertake primary evangelization through missionary outreach programs.

The bishop also underlined the need to embark on an intense and enhanced catechesis where the Priests and the religious take an active part through recruitment, formation, and radical supervision of catechists. He said this would bring the church closer to the faithful by establishing church communities in towns, suburbs, and villages.

He also urged major superiors in Ghana to engage and train the youth in the areas of pastoral ministry, as well as to invest efforts in intensifying chaplaincy ministry for Catholic and non-Catholic schools

The 61-year-old Catholic Bishop said, “These are but a few resolutions that I think if we radically apply them in the spirit of witnessing to the gospel, it could forestall further decline in the Catholic population in the country and instead boost the number to the appreciable level that we all could be proud of,” the Catholic Church leader said.

He added, “This task is a collaborative ministry. Let us all embrace it in the spirit of a synodal Church.”

In his March 13 address, Bishop Asiedu also highlighted the importance of community life for Religious Men and Women.

“I know that Community life is very central to almost all orders and congregations. To the extent that Community life is even sometimes considered a fourth vow or another promise,” he said, and added, “To truly live good community life will mean, in my view, to commit oneself, to collaborate effectively and efficiently with other community members in the day-to-day living and in the ministry and apostolate of the members.”

Bishop Asiedu said, “Let us continue to collaborate in promoting the one mission of Christ in which we are all called to share.”

“It is my prayer that this plenary assembly of the conference will bring renewal and transformation to you as members and inflame your hearts, to work zealously for the lost people,” he said.

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