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20.11.2005 Regional News

Third National Catholic Eucharist Congress held in Kumasi

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Kumasi, Nov 20, GNA - Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, on Sunday called on Ghanaians to see their neighbours as brothers and sisters with common hopes and aspirations.

He said it is only when "We have this in mind seeing each other as his or her brother's keeper that God will shower his blessings and bring peace, unity and tranquility to all Ghanaians". Mr Mensah who represented President J.A. Kufuor, was speaking at the third National Catholic Eucharistic Congress under the theme, "Eucharistic: The Light and Life of the Millennium" at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.

The four-day congress, which brought together over thousands of Catholic faithful from the country and representatives from Cote d'Ivoire, Nigeria an16d Benin, was to rekindle the flame of unity in diversity among believers and also to unite members irrespective of linguistic, racial, tribal, religious and doctrinal differences. Mr Mensah said the Eucharist congress (the body of Christ), which was at its climax on Sunday, was a happy opportunity for all Catholics and stressed that Christians continue to pray for peace and unity for the country.

"We need peace and the blessings of God at all times and it therefore behoved all Ghanaians to do things which will help these things into reality", he said.

His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, Archbishop of Lagos and the Pope's Special Envoy to the Congress, in a sermon hoped the congress would shape the love for their neighbours and God in the Eucharistic way.

He called on the congregation to do good, especially to the poor and the needy in society because mankind would be judged according to this practice when Jesus Christ comes in the second time. Cardinal Okogie said the celebration of the Eucharist was in response to the Holy Father's invitation and also coincides with the 125th anniversary of the Catholic Evangelisation in Ghana and the 25th anniversary of the Late Pope John Paul II visit to Ghana. He said, "Our love to the needy must be concrete and tangible and that Christians should try to meet the needs of the needy with sufficient support at all levels".

The Most Rev Peter Akwasi Sarpong, Archbishop of Kumasi, was optimistic that the celebration would bring goodwill and blessings to all people in Ghana.

He said by receiving the body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, the Catholics make a commitment to follow the Lord in a life of a generous self-gift.

"The Eucharistic communion is transforming because God gives His grace to us and we also commit ourselves into living this transformation".

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, in a message read on his behalf by the Bantamahene, Baffour Owusu Asare Amankwantia, hoped the congress would bring blessings and spiritual upliftment to all Christians and the nation as a whole.

The congregation later in a procession through some principal streets of Kumasi with the Eucharist in a palanquin, danced and sang praises to God.