01.06.2004 Regional News

Regional Minister appeals to Catholic Church

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Wa, June 1, GNA - Mr. Sahanun Mogtari, Upper West Regional Minister has urged the Catholic Church to take advantage of the tax relief granted by the government on the importation of agricultural equipment by prospective investors willing to establish agro-based industries in the three Northern Regions.

They are the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions. He noted with disappointment that since the granting of this concession specifically initiated by the government to create employment and open the floodgates for development in the deprived areas, no individual, group or organisation has so far taken advantage of the tax relief granted.

Mr. Mogtari made this call when he performed the opening ceremony of the annual general meeting of the Wa Diocesan Priests' Association (WADPA) at Wa on Tuesday.

Established in 1975, WADPA is an association of native Ghanaian ordained priests who have accepted to work for the diocese of Wa under the leadership of the Catholic Bishop of Wa, and has specific aims and objectives.

The annual meetings of WADPA regularly examine the lives and performance of the diocesan priests in order to give direction to their services to the communities.

This is the first time it had performed its opening ceremony to a cross-section of the society in the region, as its deliberations had always been in seclusion.

Mr. Mogtari was therefore, hopeful that the church would seek the support of their partners abroad to take advantage of this opportunity. Mr. Mogtari however, regretted that in spite of the large number of people who regularly worship at the churches and mosques, "we continue to witness unbridled cheating, naked stealing, immorality, assault, rape and casting of aspersion," among other vices.

"The concern people have had to ask is, where is the righteousness that is portrayed in huge attendance to the churches and mosques."

Mr. Mogtari therefore, urged religious leaders to examine these issues critically and see how best they could be addressed. In his speech, Bishop Paul Bemile, Catholic Bishop of Wa, said the meeting, which is a self-appraisal of the diocesan priests is likened to an "internal audit system" how the communities perceived their performance.

He appealed to the society to give the association suggestions to make them better priests.

Most Reverend Philip Naameh, Bishop of Damongo in the Northern Region, who was the guest speaker, dwelt on the theme of the meeting: "Fraternity and Friendship among Priests as Key to Effective Priestly and Ministry."

He advised them against rivalry and competition among priests and resist all forms of temptations.

He also advised them against divulging secrets of the Church as well as decisions taken between them and their Bishop to the public, as this practice undermines unity in the Church.

In his welcoming address, Reverend Father Eugene Suom-Dery, President of WADPA the association has a membership of ninety diocesan priests.

He said: "As part of our aims, we seek to inspire in each other the sense of moral goodness and virtue and the love for holiness of life which will enable us to minister effectively to our people after, the example of Jesus Christ."

Among the cross-section of people at the opening ceremony, was a delegation representing the Chief Imam of Wa. Mr Dominic Doniir, Regional Director of the National Commission foe Civic Education presented 50 copies of abridged version of the Fourth Republic Constitution to the Association.

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