The Vice-President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has urged religious leaders to preach against the get-rich-quick syndrome which is fast eroding the moral fabric of society.
He said as a result of the desire of some people, particularly the youth, to acquire material possessions at all cost, they had now resorted to various means, including killing human beings, to achieve their selfish desires.
Dr. Bawumia, therefore, asked religious bodies to inculcate values such as hard work, honesty and integrity in their congregants for them to appreciate the need to live above reproach.
This was contained in a speech read on behalf of the Vice-President by the Minister of Railway Development, Mr. John-Peter Amewu, at the centenary celebration of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Minor Basilica in Navrongo in the Upper East Region last Saturday.
The celebration was on the theme: “100 years of existence of the Church of the Minor Basilica: Celebrating our membership of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19)”.
The Vice-President described the Minor Basilica as a national heritage site and, therefore, urged the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board to collaborate to ensure the regular maintenance and protection of the building.
“While you take stock, I expect that you plan for the future; this should include a maintenance plan with new ideas and strategies on how to enhance this House of God and ensure the traditional architecture is protected,” he added.
Dr. Bawumia commended the maintenance committee of the Basilica for the “good work”, adding: “I urge them to keep it up to boost the tourism potential of not only the church but also the locality."
“Today's centenary celebration is a time to take stock of how far the church has come; it is worth noting that as a House of God, it has strongly promoted the sacramental life of worshippers and also given spiritual solace to countless individuals faced with challenges of life," he added.
The Vice-President further expressed appreciation to the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference for taking a keen interest in “national discourse and contributing to shaping the fabric of society".
He also lauded the efforts of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) that had, since 1958, worked closely with the government to reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of many vulnerable people in society.
On security, the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Stephen Yakubu, said the government was working towards the deployment of more security men at the country’s borders to quell any possible insurgency.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, the Most Reverend Henryk Mieczyslaw Jagodzinski, who led the mass to mark the occasion, gave a historical account of the establishment of the Minor Basilica.
He said the building of the 100-year-old structure started with the arrival of three African missionaries — Rev. Father Jean-Marie Chollet, Rev. Father Oscar Morin and Rev. Bro. Eugene Gall — in Navrongo on April 23, 1906.
The Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese, the Most Rev. Alfred Agyenta, described as fascinating the fact that the Basilica, which was built with mud and bricks, was still standing after 100 years.
During fund-raising for the maintenance of the Minor Basilica, Mr. Amewu donated GH¢20,000 on behalf of the Vice-President, while the Apostolic Nuncio also made a personal donation of €1,000.
There were contributions from individuals, groups and unions, including the Catholic churches in Accra and Kumasi.
According to the centenary celebration committee, the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese spent an average of GH¢20,000 annually to maintain the Basilica.
Those who contributed in diverse ways to the development and growth of the Minor Basilica and the entire Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese of the church were honoured.
They included the Founder of the Sirigu Women's Organisation of Pottery and Art (SWOPA), Ms. Melanie Kasise, for her major role in the artwork and designs in the auditorium of the Basilica, and the Paramount Chief of the Navrongo Traditional Area, Pe Dennis Aneakwoa Balinia Adda Asagpari II, for the immense contribution of the paramountcy towards the growth of the church.