By Damian Avevor and Angela Ofosu Boateng
Pope Francis has conveyed his personal greetings, best wishes and blessings to the people of Ghana as it marked 60 years of Independence on March 6, 2017.
He particularly greeted His Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo including Political and Civic Authorities, the various Christian denominations and other faithful.
“I bring the Pope’s greetings, his Apostolic Blessing and his fervent wish that your nation continues to move forward in peace and stability, on a path of development that may become a model of unity and progress with respect for human rights and the environment whereby all its people can prosper and even the most vulnerable will not suffer marginalization or neglect.”
His Eminence Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello, President of the Governorate of the Vatican City, re-echoed the Holy Father’s felicitations at an Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Prayer Service as part of activities to mark Ghana’s 60 Anniversary of Independence.
The Cardinal was in Ghana as Pope Francis’ Special Envoy to Ghana for the 40th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Ghana and the Holy See and the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s Independence on March 6.
The Service at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra on March 4 was presided over by Cardinal Bertello, during which Ghana was re-consecrate to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
It 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.
“Mr. President, dear brothers and sisters of Ghana, it is my honour to transmit the personal best wishes and sincere congratulations from the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on the 60th Anniversary celebration of your independence and the 40th Anniversary of Diplomatic relations with the Holy See,” said Cardinal Bertello.
He said adding his sentiments with those of the Holy Father, “it is my fervent hope that the importance and beauty of your consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus will always be remembered as a guiding light and a permanent blessing on you and your country.”
The Cardinal said” it is heartening to see the progress Ghana had made in these sixty years: the consolidation of its democratic institutions, the growth of diverse potentialities, the establishment of diplomatic relations with other nations, making it an important contributor for the preservation of peace in areas of conflict. “For this reason the Bishops of Ghana were inspired to consecrate their country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” he added.
Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello with the President of Ghana, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice and Bishops at Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra for the Ecumenical Service on March 4, 2017.