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Archbishop Charles Palmer Buckle

120 Years of Catholic Mission in Accra! Our Year of Faith! 

Our Year of Grace!  Hurray!

1.  Greeting: Arise Catholic Faithful!  Rejoice and Renew! My dearly beloved in Christ Jesus, today is Sunday, October 28, 2012 and by the sheer grace of God, I have just had singular chance of concelebrating the Closing Holy Mass of the 13th Ordinary Synod of Bishops of the Universal Catholic Church presided by His Holiness Benedict XVI in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

It was indeed an awesome privilege to concelebrate with hundreds of Priests, Bishops and Cardinals (who were Synod Fathers) and the Holy Father himself.  I carried you one and all in my heart and our Archdiocese in my intentions for the Holy Spirit to enliven us with his holy fire and zeal as we get ready to start our year-long 120th Anniversary of Catholic Mission in Accra, come Saturday, December 01, 2012 with the Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Heart, Patron of our Archdiocese.

As you very well know, our chosen theme for the celebration is “120 Years of Catholic Mission: Honouring the past, celebrating the present and building the future!”  Our slogan for the year-long celebration is: “Arise Catholic Faithful!  Rejoice and Renew!”

My dearly beloved faithful People of God in the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, it is simply by the grace of God, undeserved and completely unfathomable, that you and I are privileged to celebrate this year-long festival.

As the Chief Shepherd of this Archdiocese, it is my fervent prayer and desire that every one of us, priests and religious, laymen and women, old and young, boys and girls in our Archdiocese, gird up our loins and give this year-long celebration nothing but our best!  It is to be a special moment of grace, a kairos which God in his infinite wisdom has bestowed on our Archdiocese of Accra.

Why is this year a kairos, a time of God’s grace?  Yes, it is so because coincidentally from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has decreed this period the Year of Faith with the Apostolic Letter titled: “Porta Fidei” (The door of faith: Acts. 14:27)” to be celebrated by the Holy Catholic Church all over the world.  It is in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and also of the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

This Year of Faith is a time to:

  • Reflect on the gift of faith
  • Deepen our knowledge and understanding of the teachings of the Church
  • Read, reflect, and pray with the Holy Scriptures
  • Nourish and strengthen our faith through the Sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist, and to
  • Open “the door of faith” for others.

Furthermore, in this same month of October 07-28, 2012, the 13th Synod of Bishops has just been concluded in the Vatican on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of Christian Faith”. 

As requested by our Holy Father, I know we all accompanied the celebration of his Synod with our prayers and now we shall wait for the outcome to energize the Church in our mission of evangelization also here in our Archdiocese. 

Even still more specific to our Church in Africa, my dearly beloved in this Archdiocese, we cannot forget that His Holiness Benedict XVI promulgated last November for us in Africa his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Africae Munus”, calling us to become indeed “Church at the service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace: ‘You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world’: (Mt: 5.13:16)”.

My dearly beloved in Christ Jesus, this is the global context, the time of divine grace within which you and I are called to celebrate the 120th Anniversary of Catholic Mission in Accra.  It is therefore providentially a kairos; our Year of Faith and of Grace! This kairos indeed makes our slogan very opportune:  “Arise Catholic Faithful!  Rejoice and Renew!”

It is in this spirit of the grace of God that I invite every priest and religious, every one of you the faithful People of God, especially you the youth, God’s special gift to our Archdiocese, to literally arise and let us rejoice in the Lord our God.  Yes, God has blessed the Catholic Church in Accra these 120 years with so many graces and is now calling us to rejoice and celebrate his blessings, and to renew our faith, our lives and our commitment to Christ Jesus’ mission of evangelization also in the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra.

2.  Arise, Catholic Faithful!  Rejoice and Renew! For this reason, we have put together a calendar, a programme time table for the year-long celebration of our 120th Anniversary in which we want every Catholic in our Archdiocese, laywomen and men, young and old, priests and religious to participate with body, heart and soul, with time, talent and treasure.

This year-long programme of celebration should ensure the achievement of the three inseparable virtues and goals of evangelization; which are

  • growing in spirit and sanctification/holiness of life,
  • growing in knowledge of our Catholic faith and doctrine, and
  • growing in fellowship and communion in our parishes, our Archdiocese and in the universal Church (see Acts. 2:42-47).

3.  Parish Local Organizing Committee:  As has already been announced, every Parish/Outstation/Rectorate is expected to have its own 120th Anniversary local organizing committee (LOC) to liaise with the Archdiocesan Organizing Committee, and each parish/outstation/rectorate is to draw up its own 120th Anniversary Calendar in sintony/harmony with the Archdiocesan 120th Anniversary Celebration Programme of Activities that you have by now received.

Permit me to re-emphasize the three inseparable goals and virtues above; namely growth in spirit, growth in knowledge, and growth in fellowship and communion individually and in community; and let me say that in view of these goals the 120th Anniversary celebrations will include activities:

  • for growth in spirit and holiness; such as intense celebration of the Sacraments and spiritual devotions of the Church, Retreats and Recollections for parishioners and members of the various societies and groups, crusades and pilgrimages, etc;
  • for growth in knowledge of our Catholic faith and doctrine; there will be talks, anniversary lectures and teachings on our Catholic faith and doctrines, Life and Growth in the Spirit seminars, Bible quiz for children, youth and adults, etc.; and
  • for (individual and community) growth in fellowship and communion, we have planned more social activities and celebrations to strengthen inter-personal, inter- and intra-parochial/deanery fellowship and communion etc.

4. Anniversary Prayer and Monthly Intentions: My dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, my dear Priests and Religious, and all you pastoral co-workers, as you can see from the Celebration Programme of Activities pages 4 and 5, we have the 120th Anniversary Prayer and Monthly Pastoral Focus and Prayer Intentions for the Archdiocese.  Let us please start in the month of November with very fervent daily praying of the Anniversary Prayer individually and collectively especially before the end of Holy Mass, at all meetings of our various associations, of our parishes/outstations/rectorates as well as in our mission and religious houses and communities in the Archdiocese of Accra.  Furthermore, the Monthly Pastoral Focus and Prayer Intentions are to help us all pray for the same intentions on behalf of the Archdiocese and for societies, associations, parishes/outstations/rectorates and all our Church councils to focus pastoral attention on a specific target group within the Church each month.  For instance, for the month of November, we would like to pray for peace and to deliberate on what to do in order to ensure peaceful elections come December for the good of our dear country Ghana.

5.  Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Mother Mary!  As our year-long Calendar has it, Saturday, December 01, 2012 is our very first event; the Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Mother Mary!  We shall have Pilgrimages in all six deaneries of the Archdiocese to Mary the Immaculate Heart, our Patron, in order to place our Anniversary Celebrations under her maternal care and direction.  There will be more on this in the next bulletin.  Stand by for more on this event!  In the meantime, let us also pray the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary every day, individually and in the community of our Parish/Outstation/Rectorate Church.

For now, my dearly beloved, let us make our 120th Anniversary also our Year of Faith in response to the wish of Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI!  May Mary, who, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit (see Lk. 1:35) became “the bearer of the Word of God”, intercede for the universal Catholic Church as we wait for the fruits of the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith!

May Mary the Immaculate Heart, Patron of our Archdiocese, accompany us through all the celebrations of the 120th Anniversary; may we indeed honour the past fittingly, celebrate the present Spirit-filled, and with great joy may we build the future of our Archdiocese in the power of the Blessed Trinity!  Arise! Catholic Faithful!  Rejoice and Renew!

Most Rev. Charles G. PALMER-BUCKLE,
Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra,
Sunday, October 28, 2012.
From the Vatican City.    

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