The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Boniface Gambila, has paid tribute to the Catholic Church for its immense contribution to the socio-economic development of the Upper West, Upper East, and Northern regions.
He noted that during its 100 years of evangelisation in that part of the country, the Church had spread the gospel and contributed to the improvement of health and education, provided potable water, engaged in income generation activities and conflict prevention and peace-building.
Mr. Gambila stated these when he delivered a message on behalf of President John Agyekum Kufuor at the closing ceremony of the year long centenary celebration of evangelisation by the Catholic Church in Northern Ghana, at the Navrongo.
He said the impact of the Church in educational development was particularly evident everywhere in Northern Ghana.
Mr. Gambila cited the establishment of St. John Bosco's Teacher Training College and the Notre Dame Seminary Secondary School both in Navrongo, which had turned out illustrious citizens including Professor John Kaburiseh, Vice Chancellor of the University for Development Studies and Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister of Energy.
He said: “The Government of Ghana cherishes the partnership between the Church and the State, and as both celebrate important milestones; Ghana's 50th Independence anniversary and the Catholic Church's 100 years of evangelisation, we need to strengthen this partnership so that we can make even greater achievements in the years ahead.”
Mr. Gambila urged the people of Northern Ghana to express their gratitude to God for the 100 years of evangelisation by eschewing conflicts, litigations and chieftaincy and land disputes.
His Eminence, Ivan Cardinal Dias, Special Envoy of Pope Benedict XVI to the Centenary celebration, praised the three White missionaries of the Church who first arrived in Navrongo from neighbouring Burkina Faso in April 1906 to begin evangelisation in the local communities without any discrimination.
He said in spite of the initial cultural, social, political and economic setbacks the pioneer missionaries encountered, they eventually overcame all obstacles and propagated the Gospel, which had begun bearing fruit even to this day.
"Thanks to the glorious past, the Church in Northern Ghana today presents a consoling picture, even more when considered within the broader framework of the whole Catholic scenario in the country which has blossomed into 18 dioceses, and has the honour of having two Cardinals among its bishops," the Envoy said.