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Jul 04 2024

Archdiocese of Cape Coast Archdiocesan Laity Council (ADLC) organizes Easter Seminar (2024)

 

 

The 2024 Archdiocesan Laity Easter Seminar was held at the St Peter’s Regional Seminary, Pedu, from Friday 14th to Sunday, 16th June, 2024 under the theme, “Fostering the growth

of the Catholic Church in Ghana through collaborative ministry”. The purpose was to introduce parish and societal leaders of the Archdiocese to the contents of the laity week programme for the year 2024. Representatives of the parishes and the societies started arriving at the venue and registering for the programme around 4.00pm. In fact registration continued throughout the evening and well into the following day to make room for late arrivals. By the close of registration there were present 88 representatives from almost all the parishes, rectorates and chaplaincies of the Archdiocese, and also from some of the lay associations. There were also registered 14 members of the Archdiocesan Laity Council Executive Committee.

The proceedings commenced at 7.30pm after supper on the Friday with a rapport session, a run through the schedule of activities for the session, and night prayers.

Saturday morning, at 7.30 am there was a Eucharistic celebration presided over by the Archdiocesan laity chaplain, Rev Fr. Thomas Egyir. It was concelebrated by the Assistant laity chaplain,

Fr. Peter Amoah, who gave the homily. Fr. Amoah broached on the concept of collaboration and emphasised that was the way to ensure a solid future for the Church.

 

The Opening Session was at 9.00 am, and the Vicar General, Very Rev Fr. Bonaventure Annan was there deputising for the Archbishop, His Grace Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer Buckle. Fr Annan talked about collaboration as something initiated by the Blessed Trinity. He said that even though each of the divine persons of the Trinity has their own role in creation and redemption of mankind, they actually collaborated with each other in their respective functions. He also made references to the Apostle Paul’s image of the Church as the mystical body of Christ, which has several parts, and each part having its own role to play in the overall functioning of the body and yet it is required that the parts collaborate with one another in their respective functions. It is in this light that the Episcopacy, the Clergy, the Religious and the Laity, each having its respective roles in the Church and yet for best results need to collaborate with one another. The Vicar General also briefed the house on the Archdiocesan Double Jubilee slated for the year 2025. He explained that the first jubilee, which is universal in nature, has been called for by the Holy Father Pope Francis for the

celebration of the holy year, 2025. The second jubilee is to celebrate the 75th anniversary (Diamond Jubilee) of the erection of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast as a Metropolitan Archdiocese. He highlighted some of the activities lined up for the celebration of the Double Jubilee.

The contents of the year laity week booklet were introduced to participants by the Archdiocesan Lay Director, Dr Joseph Arko. He gave a brief background to the selection of the theme for the year, which he said follows the lead of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), who at the annual plenary assembly in November last year used this theme as the point for deliberation. He said the bishops used this theme because they had become aware and indeed alarmed by the dwindling number of Catholics as indicated by recent censuses undertaken in the country. In the opening address at the plenary, the president of GCBC, Most Rev Matthew Gyamfi, spoke about some issues which he determined as causes for the declining numbers, and then proffered proposals for addressing those issues. Dr Arko said that even though there were a number of issues raised by the bishops, the laity council decided to focus on five of them for their study and subsequent action and these are:

(a) The observed gap between the clergy and the laity exacerbated by priestly clericalism and lay passivism, which makes it difficult for collaborative ministry

(b) The lack of a robust and lifelong catechesis for the laity, which leaves many of them regrettably ignorant of the Church’s teachings and way of life.

(c) The absence of any sustained and properly directed and resourced programme of evangelisation sponsored and managed by the dioceses and the parishes, in which the laity could participate.

(d) The weak children and youth ministry that characterise our church practice these days.

(e) The slowness of the church in expanding to new population concentrations, which results in Catholics either having to trek long distances to attend masses or joining other Christian congregations nearby.

 

The lay director took the house through the topics assigned for each of the working days of the week. For many in the house, some words in the text, such as ‘kerygma’, were novelties, and the determination not to leave the study programmes of the parishes as mere talking shops and the urge for the laity to collaborate with the clergy to take action were quite inspiring.

 

The house after lunch broke into five workshop groups, each one tasked with reading the write up assigned for a particular day and offering answers to the study questions attached to them. Almost one and a half hours were assigned to this section, after which the whole house reassembled for a plenary. The group reports indicated that the groups had very well grasped the materials presented in the booklet.

After supper, in the evening, the house gathered again for an open forum to address lingering issues raised by delegates and brainstorm on how the parishes may celebrate a more successful laity week programme this year. This section was concluded with rosary recital and night prayers.

 

Sunday morning at 7.00 am, there was the closing mass led by the Assistant chaplain, Fr. Peter Amoah. Delegates departed for the respective stations after breakfast, which followed the mass.

Father Maryba Theophilus

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