President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commended the residents of Kumasi and the Ashanti Region in general for the impressive turnout during the 63rd Independence celebration held at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium.
He said by far the Kumasi celebration had been the most successful and thanked the residents for their impressive participation.
The President made the commendation yesterday when he joined the Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kumasi, the Most Rev. Peter Akwasi Sarpong, during the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Archbishop’s episcopal consecration at the St Peter’s Basilica of the Catholic Church in Kumasi.
President Akufo-Addo expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the residents for their continuous support to the government and making the celebration a success.
As part of the government’s plan to rotate the independence celebration, Kumasi hosted this year’s event, after Tamale had hosted it last year.
Great man of God
President Akufo-Addo described the Most Rev. Sarpong as a great of man of God whose work transcended the borders of the country and great pillar in Ghana’s socio-cultural development.
He congratulated him on the celebration of his 50th anniversary as a bishop and prayed for God’s blessing over his life.
The President was accompanied by the Mayor of Kumasi, Osei Assibey Antwi; the Deputy Minister of Science, Environment ,Technology and Innovation, Ms Patricia Appiagyei; the Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto; the Ashanti Regional Women’s organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Ama Ampomah, and the Regional Organiser of the party, Mr Francis Adomako.
Delivering the homily, the Bishop of the Koforidua Diocese, the Most Rev. Joseph Kwaku Afrifa Agyekum, who was the celebrant’s student at the St Peter’s Major Seminary at Pedu, traced the achievements of the Most Rev. Sarpong as the first indigenous African Rector of a seminary, as well as his role in introducing Ghanaian traditions and culture into the liturgy celebration.
That, he said, incurred him the wrath of some people, who questioned his faith.
The opposition notwithstanding, the Most Rev. Agyekum said, the Most Rev. Sarpong persisted with the inculturation, which had become part and parcel of the liturgy in Ghana.
He described the Most Rev Sarpong as ‘the Abraham of our time’ for his great works in the then Kumasi Diocese, which gave birth to four other dioceses, namely, Obuasi, Konongo-Mampong, Sunyani and Goaso, and two universities, the Catholic University College, Fiapre, and the Spiritan University College, Ejisu.
He also commended the celebrant’s courage in expressing his views and that of the church on national issues, which did not find favour with the powers that be.
“You have the voice of the voiceless and have spoken openly and courageously, relying on the inspiration and the power of the Most High God,” the Most Rev. Agyekum said.
In a letter, Pope Francis also congratulated the celebrant on his Golden Jubilee and his good works for the Catholic Church throughout the world.
The President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, also commended the Archbishop Emeritus, who he said was the oldest bishop in the conference, for his contribution to the growth of the church in Ghana and Africa.
The mass was co-celebrated by six bishops, including the Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, Kumasi; the Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, Accra; the Most Rev. Philip Naameh, Tamale; the Most Rev. Joseph Osei Bonsu, Konongo-Mampong; the Most Rev. Hilary Okeke from the Anambra State, Nigeria, and the Most Rev. Agyekum, and a host of priests.
Also present were the various religious bodies working in the archdiocese and members of the Knights and Ladies of Marshall.