Emeritus Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wiawso, Most Rev. Joseph Francis Kweku Essien has revealed that a residence meant to be a gift to him upon his ordination as Bishop of Wiawso turned out to be a staged.
He made this revelation during a homily at the 50th anniversary climax of the Episcopal Ordination of Most Rev. Francis Lodonu in Ho on Thursday.
Addressing the gathering, Most Rev. Joseph Francis Kweku Essien, disclosed a past ordeal involving a supposed gift that turned out to be a deceit and a ploy only used to secure the Diocese.
Bishop Essien narrated his encounter with Bishop Lodonu when he was elected Bishop of Wiawso in December 1999. At the time, he served as a military Chaplain in Burma Camp, Accra. Bishop Lodonu, a source of inspiration and encouragement, invited him for lunch at a restaurant in Osu, where he offered words of wisdom that instilled confidence in him (Bishop Essien).
Little did Bishop Essien know what awaited him on his journey as a Bishop. Ordained on March 25, 2000, he soon discovered that he could not occupy the residence intended as a gift to him because it was fabricated with no truth.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, he narrated that he brought the matter to the attention of the Bishops’ Conference in Accra during the same week.
The revelation left all the Bishops stunned, as many had witnessed the supposed donor being applauded for his generous act during the celebration.
Seeking a resolution, Archbishop Turkson, the Provincial head of Cape Coast Province, and Bishop John Martin Darko, the Bishop of Takoradi, visited Wiawso to investigate the matter and find a way forward.
During a break in their meeting, Bishop Lodonu took Bishop Essien aside and offered words of reassurance. “Look here, are you afraid? Don’t worry. You have been made a bishop. You will build a house of your choice,” Bishop Lodonu is quoted to have said.
“I was ordained on the 25th of March 2000 in Wiawso. Then in May 2001, it came out that the Bishop’s residence which was supposed to be a gift, to the Bishop from a church member was a deceit. The residence was used to get the Diocese. So, I brought the issue to the Bishops’ Conference in Accra in the same week. All the Bishops were taken aback when they heard of this because those who were at the celebration saw how somebody was brought in front and was applauded for donating a residence to the Bishop,” Bishop Essien said.
He added that “Then Archbishop Turkson, Provincial head of Cape Coast Province and Bishop John Martin Darko, then Bishop of Takoradi went to Wiawso for fact-finding and possible resolution of whatever the issue was. Then at the recess of our meeting, Bishop Lodonu called me aside. He sat me down and said “Look here, are you afraid? Don’t worry. You have been made a bishop. You will build a house of your choice.”
He continued that, “I thanked him and we continued our meeting. How was the issue resolved? We are in the Holy Roman Catholic church. It was resolved. But it is a fact, that in the year 2002, I have built a house of my choice and moved into it to the greater glory of the Lord.”
Watch the full homily below