Congress To Promote Liturgy In Africa
Jul 24, 2006
His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Vatican has commended Catholics in Africa and Madagascar for their manifestation of joy and sense of community in their liturgical celebrations, their love of song and their desire to see acceptable elements of their culture incorporated into their public worship of the church.
Accra Mail (Accra, July 10, 2006) Cardinal Arinze made this remark at the opening ceremony of a six-day congress for the Promotion of Liturgy in Africa and Madagascar in Kumasi. It was being organised by the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in collaboration with the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference.
The congress aims "to evaluate, promote and re-launch liturgical life" in the African continent. Among those who participated in the congress, the communiqué proceeds, are: superiors of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, members and consultors of African origin belonging to that dicastery, the presidents of SECAM (Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar) and of the liturgical commission of CERAO (Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa), and the apostolic nuncio to Ghana, as well as bishops, priests and religious.
In a goodwill message, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI called on the participants and the African Continent to ensure that the praise of God is proclaimed with an authentically African voice and that the faithful enter more deeply into the mysteries that they celebrate, proclaiming them with confidence and live them with joy.
Mr. J.H. Mensah, Senior Minister, who represented President John Agyekum Kufuor, said, "using authentic liturgy will lead to the strengthening of the Catholic Church in Ghana as this will lead to the building of a disciplined society".
Mr. Mensah said in this era of the world relying on "unprincipled methods of living, it is necessary for the Church and the State to work together to get Ghanaians to live as a people of God."
He said since education is fundamental in the life of any country, the government acknowledge the role of the Catholic Church and congratulated the Church for playing that role effectively in the country. Mr. Mensah expressed government's support to the development of the first Ghana Catholic University College of Fiapre in the Brong Ahafo Region in order to provide quality education that would respond to the cultural values of Ghana.
He thanked the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference (GCBC) for lending its support to the government's invitation to Pope Benedict XVI to visit Ghana next year to participate in the centenary celebrations of the planting of Catholicism in the Northern part of Ghana and the golden jubilee of Ghana's independence.
He said he made the invitation to the Pope last March during the investiture of His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Dery, Archbishop Emeritus of Tamale and Ghana's second Cardinal, an invitation reechoed during the recent ad limina of the Bishops of Ghana His Eminence Peter Cardinal Turkson, who presided over the opening ceremony, was happy that Ghana was chosen to host the congress.
He said the hosting has coincided with the achievement of Ghana's Black Stars, who were the last African team to play in the one-sixteenth of the World Cup in Germany, saying their participation has put the nation into the world soccer map.
Most Rev. George Kocherry, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, said he is proud to be the Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana in this era of his life.
This was in reference to the fact that the Nuncio was the only foreigner to have received a national award from President Kufuor, recently.
The delegates participating in the Congress were hosted to a durbar and lunch by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, King of the Ashanti Kingdom at his Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.
The delegates, who were led to Otumfuo's palace by Most Rev. Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Archbishop of Kumasi and Chief Coordinator of the congress, explained the aims and purposes of the congress and thanked the Otumfuo for receiving the delegates.
Cardinal Arinze spoke of the Catholic Church's recognition of the Otumfuo's involvement in the promotion of peace and justice as well as his role in ensuring the availability of education to his people and the recognition of the Church of the Ashanti culture.
He expressed support for the Otumfuo's active involvement in furthering the education of his people and pledged his prayerful support for all activities being promoted by the Asantehene. He later imparted the Apostolic Blessings on Otumfuo and his counselors and presented a Holy Rosary and a medal to the Asantehene.
Cardinal Turkson associated himself with the sentiments of Cardinal Arinze and congratulated the Otumfuo for his great faith in educating the poor and the needy.
The Asantehene, in his remarks, commended the Church's efforts to promote the liturgy in Africa. He said that since language depended on the understanding of the people, any language alien to them would not enable them to properly understand the liturgy of the Church.