At the ongoing Golden Jubilee celebrations of Ghana’s Sekondi-Takoradi diocese, Pope Francis has recognized 21 Catholics with honors for their “dedicated and extraordinary service” to the local Church.
“By conferment of these awards, the Catholic Church through the Holy Father Pope Francis wishes to recognize with gratitude your dedicated and extraordinary service and your generosity of mind and heart in sharing your many gifts and talents to build up the local Church and most of all your witness to Christ in the practice of your faith, ” Charge d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Ghana, Mons. Pavol Talapka said while conferring the honors Saturday, November 30.
“This recognition and honor given to you is accompanied with great challenge and a mission for each one of you to keep deeply your faith in God and also strengthen the faith of others and be true witnesses to Christ as by your pure testimony of hope and helping others in need and to give yourself unconditionally to the service of our brothers and sisters,” Msgr. Talapka added.
Describing the occasion as a “moment of grace for all in the diocese,” the Apostolic Administrator of the Sekondi-Takoradi diocese, Archbishop John Bonaventure Kwofie urged the awardees to continue supporting and working with the Church in its mission of saving souls for Christ.
“There is work for us to do as a Church for what Jesus started 2000 years ago is not completed; God therefore calls us to intensify the mission entrusted to us when we received baptism to become fishers of men and women for the Kingdom,” Archbishop Kwofie who is the Local Ordinary of Accra Archdiocese said during the event held at Our Lady Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi.
Of the 21 individuals who were conferred with the Papal Awards, 2 priests – Msgr. James Margaret Mesu and Msgr. Joseph Gyim-Austin received the honor of Monsignors, 4 were named Knights/Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great, 6 were named Knights/Dames of the Order of St. Sylvester, 7 received the Croce Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and 2 received the Benemerenti medal.
While congratulating the awardees, the President of the Forum of Papal Knights and Dame in Ghana, Sir Fosuaba Banahene noted that only the dioceses of Yendi, Damongo and Goaso do not have Papal Knights and Dames, and thus requested the country’s Bishops to “recommend more young men and women for the awards since the already 69 Papal Knights and Dame in Ghana are aging and old.”
On behalf of the Papal Awardees, Sir Eddie Prah pledged their support to the Church in Ghana and thanked the Holy Father for granting them the privilege and dignity of Knighthood and Dame saying, “we feel blessed, proud and privileged to be honored by the Supreme Pontiff.”
The climax of the Golden Jubilee celebration of the Diocese is scheduled to take place at the Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi on December 8, 2019.
Source: ACI Africa