The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC) has urged Ghanaians to use this year’s Lent to reflect on their lives and contributions to the country.
It said it was by God’s own design and providence that this year’s Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent, had coincided with the celebration of Ghana’s 62nd Independence anniversary.
“We consider this occurrence not just a mere coincidence or accident of history but a special moment of grace intended by God as an occasion for sober reflection on our lives as Christians and our contributions to Ghana as citizens of this dear nation of ours,” it said.
The conference made the appeal in its 2019 Pastoral Letter which was signed by its President, the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, and released to the press in Accra on Tuesday.
Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins from Ash Wednesday (March 6) and ends on Thursday, April 18, before Easter Sunday.
The purpose of Lent is to prepare the believer for Easter through prayers, doing penance, repentance of sins, alms-giving and self-denial.
The letter urged Ghanaians to commit themselves to building Ghana up “as a beacon of hope, peace and progress by living the ideals of patriotism, selflessness, hard work and love towards one another, in spite of our ethnic, political and religious differences, while eschewing every act of lawlessness, violence, indifference, apathy, bribery and corruption.”
It said Ghanaians must be grateful to God for the significant gains made towards economic development and prosperity.
“In particular, we wish to thank God for the huge progress made towards the restoration of peace in Dagbon after many years of protracted conflict, praying and hoping that the new-found peace in the area will be sustained to lead to development, while other areas that are currently crying for peace, like the Alavanyo-Nkonya enclave, Sankore, Mim, Drobo and Japekrom, among others, will also experience peace soon,” it said.
The letter expressed concern about the lawless activities of political vigilante groups that continued to threaten the peace of the nation and the loss of lives.
It called on the government to resource the security agencies with the necessary logistics and equipment to help them bring all perpetrators to book, while putting in place the necessary measures to forestall such occurrences in the future to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and residents countrywide.
“Ghana, at this material moment, needs its sons and daughters to live in peace and harmony in their homes and families, in their localities, in their places of work, in their social intercourse, in their clans and ethnic groups and in the nation as a whole.
“We believe that it is time to change our hearts and seek peace and reconciliation with God, neighbour and the world around us, and our prayer is that we will all endeavour to use this year’s Season of Lent to seek peace and reconciliation with God, our neighbours and the creation around us,” the letter said.
Since Lent is also a special time of repentance, renewal and recommitment to good neighbourliness and reconciliation with one another, the letter encouraged Ghanaians, all men and women of goodwill in the country, to spend the 40 days of Lent in personal and collective reflection, renewal and recommitment, especially commitment to reconciliation, justice and peace.
“We believe that it is only by such personal and collective effort, working for the restoration of one’s inner peace through reconciliation with our God and our fellow men and women, that we can then go on to become ourselves ambassadors of reconciliation and peace-makers, that peace which only Christ Jesus our Lord gives (cf. John 14:27). This is the peace that Ghana needs in this period of grace and hereafter,” it stated.