Saint Vincent de Paul members urged to concentrate on core mandate

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Mr. Vincent Joseph Ahulu addressing members

Mr. Vincent Joseph Ahulu, the President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP) – Ghana, a Catholic charity group, has called on members to leverage on their knowledge and professional experiences to assist the Society execute its core mandate of helping the needy.

“Let us together leverage on the knowledge and experiences from our workplaces as teachers, managers, traders, public servants, lawyers, catechists, ex-seminarians, account officers and youth to assist the Society respond to the needs of many people who become victims of disasters, diseases and circumstances that are mostly beyond their controls,” he said. 

Mr. Ahulu said the COVID-19 pandemic and issues of climate change and their attendant disasters posed challenges to communities, and indicated that the recent dam spillage at Bagri, Weija, Akuse and Akosombo created opportunities for the Society to act. 

“I believe that as a charitable Lay organization,  the Society needs to be more responsive to the needy during disasters. The Society in post Covid era must readily position itself well,” he said.

Mr. Ahulu said this when he addressed the third national festival of the SSVP – Ghana on the theme: “Serving Christ in our neighbour; the role of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in post-covid Ghana.”

The three-day festival, held in Bolgatanga, the Upper East Regional capital, attracted members from the 11 Dioceses where the Society existed, out of 19 Dioceses across the country.

The SSVP-Ghana’s President expressed concern that the Society exited in only 11 Dioceses out of the 19, saying “Even within these 11 Dioceses, you cannot find it in every deanery.”

He said there were plans by the Board to expand the Society to the remaining Dioceses, and called on all Diocesans, Deanery and Conference Presidents of the Society to leave a legacy by reviving dormant Conferences, Councils, open new ones, offer them proper orientation and formation. 

Mr. Ahulu commended the Tamale and Sekondi-Takoradi Dioceses for conducting successful elections to bring on board new leaders. 

He mentioned the over reliance on Parish Priests for funds, non-payment of solidarity contribution from Conference, the lack of proper formation of new members and the lack of income-generating projects as challenges that reflected on the current situation of the Society and encouraged members to show more commitment to activities and programmes.

The Most Reverend Alfred Agyenta, the Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Catholic Diocese, in a speech read on his behalf, said members of the SSVP-Ghana were called to serve Christ in their brothers and sisters. 

He noted that “Without love, this remains practically impossible. That is why as Christians, we are called to practice the politics of compassion, to learn the virtue of mercy and embrace the civilization of love.

“This is the only way to serve the Lord in spirit and in truth, and to live an authentic Christian life. For Jesus, the love of God and neighbour  are two faces of the same coin. He understood this in a very radical way and demonstrated the same in his life and teaching,” Bishop Agyenta said. 

He was hopeful that through information sharing at the meeting, members would return to their respective Councils and Conferences reinvigorated to carry out the apostolate of ministering to the poor and needy in Ghana.

Mr. Francis Azende Ayaaba, the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan President of the SSVP-Ghana, recognized the contributions of those who started the Society in the Dioceses, and said they worked to ensure the Society was spread across the Dioceses.

He said by 1973, the founders in the Dioceses had formed Conferences of the SSVP-Ghana and subsequent Presidents of the Society worked hard to ensure the Society was established in 17 out of 22 Parishes in the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Dioceses.

“We are still making great efforts,” Mr. Ayaaba said.

He said the Society in the Dioceses had over the years lived up to expectation, and recalled that during the flooding incidents in the Builsa areas and the Kandiga and Doba conflict, they supported victims with relief items.

Mr. Ayaaba expressed gratitude to all who had assisted the Society over the years to execute its mandate, especially the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocesan Chaplain of the Society, Reverend Father Paul Kapochina for his support.

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