Thousands attend re-consecration of Ghana
By Angela Ofosu Boateng and Damian Avevor
Over 3,000 Ghanaians attended an Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Service at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra on March 4, to re-consecrate Ghana to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The service which was part of activities to mark the 60th Independence Anniversary of Ghana on March 6 was attended by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and his Consort, Rebecca; Professor Mike Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood and other Government functionaries.
Organized by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC), the Service was presided over by His Eminence Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello, Papal Envoy from the Vatican who arrived in Ghana on Thursday, March 2.
He was assisted by His Excellency, Most Rev. Jean Marie Speich, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana and Most Rev. Philip Naameh, President of the GCBC.
In attendance were 14 other members of the Conference including Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, Vice President of the GCBC and host Bishop; Most Revs. Matthew Gyamfi, Bishop of Sunyani; Gabriel Mante, Bishop of Jasikan; John Bonaventure Kwofie, Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi; Vincent Boi-Nai, Bishop of Yendi and Gabriel Kumordji, Bishop of Donkorkrom Vicariate.
The rest were Most Revs. Matthias Nketsiah, Archbishop of Cape Coast; Dominic Yeboah-Nyarko, Bishop of Techiman; Peter Atuahene, Bishop of Goaso; Alfred Agyenta, Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga; Peter Paul Angkyier, Bishop of Damongo; Richard Baawobr; Bishop of Wa, Emmanuel Fianu, Bishop of Ho and Francis Essien, Bishop of Wiawso.
Also present were Clergy from the Christian Council of Ghana, the Anglican Communion and the Pentecostal and Charismatic Council.
Sheik Dr. Nuhu Shaributu, National Chief Imam and Maulvi Umar Faruk Yahaya of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission were also at the Service.
The presence of some Traditional Rulers added a touch of tradition and culture to the celebration.
The Cathedral was filled to capacity with additional seats provided outside for the congregation who watched the Service live on mounted TV screens.
The colourful celebration was preceded by a Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus from February 23 to March 3 and a Rosary processions by the various Deaneries through some principal streets of Accra on the day itself with the exception of the Tema-Battor Deanery who were excluded because of distance.
The Kanshie Deanery started its procession from the Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange; Madina Deanery, near Osu Cemetery; Kpehe Deanery, St. Kizito Parish, Nima; Osu Deanery, Christ the King Parish, Cantonments and Mamprobi Deanery, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.
Uniformly dressed, all the Bishops present including Cardinal Bertello and the Nuncio lined up in front of the Cathedral to welcome the President who was first welcomed with a bouquet by the Young Ladies Sodality of Mary amidst cheers and waving by the faithful.
The solemn Service took the form of Vespers with the St. Paul’s Seminary Choir and the Cathedral Choir leading in the singing of the Psalms and the Canticles.
Intercessory Prayers were said for Ghana and the three Arms of Government by the Christian Council of Ghana; for the security services and private sector service providers by the Pentecostal and Charismatic Council and for Peaceful Religious and inter-faith co-existence in Ghana by the Office of the National Chief Imam.
Prayers were also said for the grace of a deeper commitment to human development in an atmosphere of non-violence, inter-religious dialogue and harmony in the coming years by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission; for families, most especially mothers and the youth by the Anglican Communion and for the peaceful repose of the souls of past heroes and heroines.