At the climax event commemorating the 140th anniversary of the introduction of Catholicism into Ashanti, the Vice Provincial of the Society of African Missions (SMA) of the Ghana Province, Very Rev. Fr. Dennis Senyo Etti, expressed deep concerns about the recent revelation of a decline in the growth of the Catholic Church in Ghana.
Speaking at the Thanksgiving Mass at the St. Paul Parish, Adukrom in Kumasi, Fr. Etti said “My dear people of God, we are all aware of the recent revelation about the decline in the church’s growth in Ghana. We as SMAs are particularly concerned because a lot has been sacrificed by our congregation in building the ‘Ghanaian’ church.”
The Vice Provincial emphasized the sacrifices made by the congregation in building the ‘Ghanaian’ church and underscored the importance of revisiting the past to gain insights from the early missionaries. “We feel it is time to revisit the past- we have to re-read the methods and the strategies of the early missionaries,” he stated.
While acknowledging differing opinions, the Vice Provincial dismissed the notion that the faithful do not contribute much to the church due to being ‘spoilt’ by the missionaries. He firmly asserted that the support provided by the missionaries at the time was vital in nurturing the faith of early converts.
Fr. Etti intimated that “whereas some hold the view that our faithful do not contribute much to the church because they were ‘spoilt’ by the missionaries, we strongly think it was the right approach at that time to sustain the small faith of the early converts. ”
Drawing a parallel with contemporary practices, he pointed to the strategy employed by Pentecostal churches today, where the central administration funds the construction of church buildings in villages. “This is the strategy that our Pentecostal brothers and sisters apply today. The many church buildings we see in villages are funded by the central administration. In this way, the weak are aided by the strong and together they all move with the hope that the weak today will be strong tomorrow. This is what we did in the past and it can be helpful today too,” he argued.
Fr. Etti’s comments come at the back of recent revelations that the Catholic Church in the country is grappling with a decline in growth, he urged the leadership of the Church to take immediate actions to avert further declines.
The Society of African Missions is known for its historical and ongoing contribution to the growth of the church.
The 140th Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass brought together members of the SMA, clergy, and faithful from various dioceses to commemorate the historic introduction of Catholicism into Ashanti and also to thank God for the growth of the mission over the past century and decades.