Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Most Rev Charles Palmer-Buckle, has urged Catholic priests in the West African sub-region to build effective relationship with civil authorities to engender peace among the people.
He observed that such relationship would help address the challenges confronting many West African countries and Africa in general.
The Archbishop made the appeal at the opening of the 5th Congress of Regional Union of Priests of West Africa in Koforidua in the Eastern Region.
It was on the theme: “Behold Your Mother: Mary in the Heart of Priestly Ministry.”
The congress attracted over 50 delegates from 12-member countries of the West African region, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, The Gambia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo and Ghana.
Addressing the priests, he underscored the need for them (priests) to also be concerned about the happenings in the universal church, noting that they were ordained for both their dioceses and the universal church.
“Collaborate more with your bishops and be at the forefront of ecumenism efforts; be at the forefront of building relationships with civil authorities in the sub-region; be at the forefront of being missionaries to Africans, and be at the forefront of interreligious affairs,” he advised.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Most Rev. Jean Marie Spiech, also urged priests to imitate Mary in the discharge of their duties.
On his part, President of Regional Union of Priest in west Africa, Very Rev Fr Dr Martin Onukwuba, explained the association which is in its fifth year, seeks to help bridge language and land barriers in order to reach out to more persons with the gospel in the sub-region.
“Our West African countries were divided by our colonial masters including the languages they handed down to us; English, Portuguese and French. Most importantly too, we want to claim possession of the West Africa and salvage the onslaught that occurred in North Africa. He commended the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) for their role in governance and peace efforts in the country. “For us to gather and operate on this level suggest that we want to contribute our quota to the development of our region” he said. President of National Union of Ghana Priest Associations, Very Rev Prof Francis Appiah-Kubi who opened the congress said they are concerned about the regional integration of West African Countries.
Story: Kofi Owusu Tawiah