Meet the newly ordained auxiliary bishops of Accra Archdiocese of Catholic Church
The Catholic Archdiocese of Accra now has two auxiliary bishops.
The two, both Catholic priests, the Most Rev. Anthony Narh Asare, Titular Bishop of Castellum in Numidia, and the Most Rev. John Kobina Louis, Titular Bishop of Fessei, had their episcopal ordination at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in a solemn but colourful ceremony yesterday.
It is the first of its kind for the Catholic Church in Ghana to have two auxiliary bishops to be appointed at once for one Diocese.
Their appointment as auxiliary bishops followed an appeal from the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, the Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, to Rome for support in the governance of the archdiocese.
In the ranking of Diocesan episcopal officials of the Catholic Church, the Bishop enjoys the highest status, a coadjutor the next, followed by any auxiliary bishop and then the emeriti bishops.
Since auxiliaries are nominated upon the request of the Diocesan Bishop, their roles may differ depending on the diocese and the Diocesan Bishop but, in general, auxiliary bishops may assist with confirmations, baptisms, ordinations and special masses or even in the regional governance of a particular part of the diocese. They are called to perform their duties with solicitude and in a spirit of harmony and unity with the Diocesan Bishop.
In the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, the archbishop may call on the newly elected auxiliary bishops to serve as moderators with pastoral responsibilities of some selected deaneries of the archdiocese to ensure pastoral efficiency as well as serve in various roles within the archdiocesan curia.
The ordination ceremony was performed by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Most Rev. Henryk M. Jagodzinski, who was the principal consecrator with the principal co-consecrators being the Most Rev. Kwofie and the Bishop of Sunyani, who is also the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), Most Rev. Mathew Gyamfi.
Done within the rite of ordination of the church, the two auxiliary bishops were anointed on the head by Most Rev. Jagodzinski, who also presented to them the book of the gospels as well as did the investiture with ring, which is a seal of their fidelity and the investiture with mitre and pastoral staff, which is also a sign of their pastoral office.
The two auxiliary bishops also received fraternal kisses from the principal ordinating bishop and all the other bishops.
The beautiful ceremony was attended by Catholic faithful across the country and from other sister African countries, families and friends of the two auxiliary bishops as well as the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Andrew Asiamah Amoako, the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, among other government officials, and some members of the diplomatic community.
In an eight-point advice contained in his homily, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi, the Most Rev, Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, urged the two auxiliary bishops to keep in mind that their archbishop must increase while they decreased, pointing out that, that meant they must uphold the truth which is Jesus Christ.
“The red colour in your episcopal dress signifies your readiness to defend the truth, which is Jesus Christ, at all times to the point of shedding blood.
“Therefore, at all times, with your Bishop, stand by the truth. Never let there be found any contradiction among the three of you. There is only one bishop and two auxiliary bishops.
“My brother Louis, you have no other thing, but to live like John. Cardinal Tony, you are Anthony, the Franciscan friar, the theologian, the pastor who defended the truth in Lisbon, Portugal; in Paris, France and in Padua, Italy till he died. That is your name and your calling! You must defend the truth,” the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana charged.
He further asked them to bear in mind that as auxiliary bishops, it was the archdiocesan’ bishop’s vision and strategic planning initiatives that served as a guide to the archdiocese and not theirs.
Making reference to observations made by anatomist, Most Rev. Anokye said the major vital organs of the body which were the heart, the lungs, liver, kidneys and the pancreas did not make noise, yet worked without pump and pageantry.
He, therefore, charged the two to seek to avoid whatsoever thing that was so nice, cheap and beautiful.
In his message, the Most Rev. Kwofie announced both of them as vicar generals and asked members of the church to pray and support them in their work.
For his part, Most Rev. Jagodzinski congratulated them and asked God to help them to be good shepherds of His people.
The message from the GCBC was read by the Most Rev. Gyamfi, who welcomed the two auxiliary Bishops to the conference and expressed the hope that they would bring their various expertise and experiences to bear on the work of the conference.
“There is no doubt that your appointment and ordination today has come as a great relief to our brother Archbishop Kwofie who has not enjoyed the best of health in almost three years. We also believe that your new role as auxiliary bishops will make the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Accra a bit easier and make lighter the pastoral demands on our brother, Archbishop Kwofie,” he said.
Who are the two auxiliary bishops?
Most Rev. Asare is the fifth born of eight children. He began is seminary formation at the Sowutuom Philosophy Campus in September 1988. He proceeded to the St Peter’s Seminary in Pedu, Cape Coast, in 1991 and was ordained a priest on July 22, 1995 for the Clergy of Accra by Archbishop Dominic Kodwo Andoh at the St Joseph the Worker Parish in Tema Community 8.
Most Rev. Louis, on the other hand, was born in Accra in 1964 and baptised in 1965 at the Holy Spirit Cathedral by the late Very Rev. Fr Charles Schneider. He was admitted to the St Peter’s Seminary, Pedu, Cape Coast in September 1986. He was ordained as a deacon by the then Rt Rev. Dominic Andoh at the Holy Family Catholic Church, Mataheko, in 1991.