Most Reverend Joseph Francis Kweku Essien, the Bishop of the Diocese of Wiawso, has called on Catholic priests to perform their duties with zeal, commitment and faithfulness to attract more people to the Catholic Church.
He said material things, such as cars and money, have become a major source of tension among priests and parishes of the Catholic Church and urged priests to do their work as people who have sacrificed their lives to serve God’s people.
Bishop Essien was speaking at the ordination of three Catholic priests at the Our Lady Star of the Sea Cathedral in Takoradi.
The three newly ordained priests are Reverend Fr. Ernest Boateng, from the Immaculate Conception parish Asankrangwa, Rev. Fr Justice Kenyah Azane from the St Peter’s Parish Jaway-Wharf in the Jomoro Municipality and Rev. Fr Stephen Awortwe Baidoo from the St Anthony of Padua Parish Kwesimintsim.
He urged the priests, especially the newly ordained priests, to be accountable to their parishioners in rendering accounts of church monies and donations to avoid being accused of squandering or misappropriation of church funds.
Bishop Essien said as priests their responsibility for the house of God was about stewardship, sacrifice, faithfulness, accountability, prayers and prudence.
The colourful ceremony, which was performed amidst the observance of COVID-19 safety protocols, was patronized by parishioners from the various parishes in the diocese, chiefs, religious men and women and seminarians.
The mass was co-celebrated by Most Reverend Fr. John Baptist Attakruh, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese and more than 50 priests, of which prayers were said for the new priests their families and their priestly mission.
Bishop Essien tasked the newly ordained priests to come out of their comfort zone to serve the people, noting that Catholic faithful now ends up in prayer camps and other healing centres due to the inability of priests to visit the sick in hospitals and at home to pray for them.
” Let us not deny our parishioners’ prayers and services. If we do not pray for them as priests we will be practising what is called the culture of exclusion”.
He said it was a sin for a priest not to perform his priestly duties, including praying for parishioners and visiting the sick and needy in the society.
Bishop Essien told the new priests that they sacrificed themselves to serve the people of God by taking the priestly vows and should, therefore, perform their priestly duties diligently and cheerfully.
Very Reverend John Baptist Attakruh called on the parishioners to continue to pray and support the new priests as they begin their priestly duties.
“Priestly work is not easy. Pray for them when they are strong they will, in turn, strengthen you with their prayers”.
The newly ordained priests would celebrate their first and thanksgivings mass at their various parishes on November 1 2020.