Over five decades since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, which called for an active involvement of the laity in the apostolic life of the Church, Catholic professionals in Ghana’s Accra Archdiocese have been encouraged to heed that call by sharing their expertise within the context of the Church and making visible their presence.
“The time has come for us to sit up and make our presence in the Church count. The time is now when we bring our expertise to bear as we partner (with) our Pastors to build the Church,” the Coordinator of the Catholic Professionals Guilds (CPG) in Ghana, Edward Kwame Ayem said during an award dinner for the professionals held Tuesday, December 17.
While acknowledging that “never before in the history of the Church has the absolutely essential role of the layperson been so dramatically emphasized as it is now,” the health professional decried the lack of involvement of the laity in the work of the Church.
He said, “Among the faithful, there remains a fundamental lack of understanding of the lay vocation and its role in the Church’s mission.”
“For many, there is a notion that the only real vocation in the Church is the ordained or vowed priesthood and religious. They believe the Church is the ordained office and only people in habits or collars are called to serve,” Mr. Akeyam said and emphasized, “The sad reality these days is that most of us have become very laissez faire and hence unresponsive to our duties in the Church.”
“We are content with just breezing in out of Church without any real commitment beyond making the absolutely necessary contributions. Some of us can just not be bothered anymore by happenings in our Church even though we might have the capacity and wherewithal to make a difference,” he added during the event held at Christ the King Parish in Accra.
The sentiments by Mr. Ayem were echoed by the Archbishop of Accra John Bonaventure Kwofie who stressed “the need for collaborative effort geared toward development of the Church and the nation at large.”
Addressing the estimated 150 Catholic professionals, the Ghanaian Archbishop urged them to present a united front in the fight against corruption saying, “Let’s come together as Catholic professionals to be agents of anti-corruption wherever we find themselves since often, fingers are pointed at politicians when the issue of corruption comes up.”
Noting that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get anything done without money changing hands in the West African country, the Prelate advised the Catholic professionals to “lead a life worth emulating at their various workplaces devoid of corrupt practices.”
At the same event, the Vicar General of Accra Archdiocese, Fr. John Louis highlighted the value of having people with expertise for the progress of the Church saying, “identifying and harnessing the expertise of the human capital is very crucial for the growth of the Church.”
“The Archdiocese (Accra) needs your inputs so badly. It was for this reason of identifying and harnessing your rich expertise and those of others that the Catholic Professional Guilds was formed five years ago.”
On behalf of the professionals, lawyer and media practitioner Samson Lardy Ayenini assured Archbishop Kwofie of CPG’s continuous contribution to the Church’s growth by giving their God-given “bountiful talents and gifts.”
The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) through its Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity ‘Apostolicam Actuositatem’ noted, “Our own times require of the laity no less zeal: in fact, modern conditions demand that their apostolate be broadened and intensified.”
The decree also notes, “With a constantly increasing population, continual progress in science and technology, and closer interpersonal relationships, the areas for the lay apostolate have been immensely widened particularly in fields that have been for the most part open to the laity alone. These factors have also occasioned new problems which demand their expert attention and study.”