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22.05.2007 General News

5 Ghanaians honoured by Pope Benedict XVI

By The Ghanaian Times

Five persons, including two women, a nun and a retired health worker, have been honoured by Pope Benedict XVI for their meritorious contributions to the Catholic Church in Ghana.

They include Benedict Batabe Assorow, Director of Communications for the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and immediate past Executive Secretary of the Department of Communications at the National Catholic Secretariat; Prof. George Panyin Hagan, Chairman of the National Commission on Culture. Both of them received the Papal award of the Knighthood of Saint (St.) Gregory the Great, while Sir Knight Henry Paul Nelson, a retired General Manager of the defunct UTC Limited was awarded the Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great.

Mrs. Josephine Rosemond Van Lare, immediate Executive Secretary of the Department of Health at the National Catholic Secretariat, received the Dame of St. Gregory the Great, and Rev. Sr. Mary Ancilla Fox, SSL of the St. Louis Sisters, received the Croce Pro Exxlesia Et Pontifice.

The Order of the Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great was instituted on September 1, 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI, as a sign of great reverent affection towards his predecessor, Pope (St.) Gregory I (the Great), to confer awards of value and distinction of honour and testimonials of praise on persons whose merit were well known to the public and also to the Roman Pontiff.

The instrument establishing the Order reserves to the Roman Pontiff and his successors the right to create as Knights those known to and recommended for various reasons to be so honoured.

Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama who participated in the ceremony at the Holy Spirit Cathedral, in Accra said Ghanaians should be grateful to God that Christians, Muslims, animists and several other religious sects and beliefs continue to co-exist in peace, irrespective of gender their varying beliefs.

“Whilst this state of affairs is mainly supported by the constitutional provisions that guarantee respect for individual rights of worship, irrespective of gender or ethnic background, we must also realise that an important factor anchoring these rights has been effective national leadership based on openness and the acceptability of diversity at the highest level of public life,” he said.

“In other words, Ghanaians have refused to be divided at leadership level by one's faith. Since the institution of formal governance in Ghana, whether under constitutional rule or not, religion has never been a determinant of the suitability or otherwise of political leadership,” he added.

He therefore urged Ghanaians to continue to cherish and protect this gift of religious harmony, stating that elsewhere others are not lucky and that societies the world over are sadly torn apart by unnecessary ideological conflicts based on perceived religious differences.

The Vice President noted; “It is for this reason that I believe our state of religious co-existence is priceless. Therefore, anything that seems to threaten our peace of secularism in the name of political expediency, must be condemned with all our strength and all our heart”.

Bishop Abadamloora challenged Christians to be imbibed by the spirit of the Apostles so that with courage, they can point out evil in society, but not to compromise the truth, saying that they need to have a greater focus in Christ to enable them to succeed in life.

Source: The Ghanaian Times