Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana and representative of Pope Francis, His Excellency Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński is expected to return from his leave today.
His arrival is expected to generate increasing expectations about some announcements to be made concerning the Church in Ghana as earlier reported by Catholic Trends.
It will be recalled that since January this year, His Excellency Jagodziński has announced several decisions of the Holy Father, including the appointments of a new Bishop for the Wiawso Diocese and subsequently Auxiliary Bishops for the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Accra.
Amidst the return of the Nuncio, the following are possible happenings and expectations for the church in the second half of the year.
Appointment of Bishops
According to Canon Law [Can. 401 §1.] of the Catholic Church, a “Diocesan Bishop who has completed the seventy-fifth year of age is requested to present his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who will make provision after he has examined all the circumstances.”
This means that a Diocese or Archdiocese becomes eligible for the appointment of a new Bishop when the occupying Bishop reaches the age of 75 years.
Presently, there are twenty-one (21) bishops/archbishops; consisting of four archbishops; Most Rev. Philip Naameh (Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale), Most Rev. Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle (Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast), Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye(Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi), and Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, CSSp. (Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra).
The other Bishops include; Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi (Bishop of Sunyani Diocese and President of the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference), Most Rev. Emmanuel Kofi Fianu SVD(Bishop of Ho Diocese and Vice president of the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference), Most Rev. Alfred Agyenta (Bishop of Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese), Most Rev. Matthew Yitiereh (Bishop of Yendi Diocese), Most Rev. Peter Paul Yelezuomeh Angkyier (Bishop of Damongo Diocese), Most Rev. Peter Kwaku Atuahene (Bishop of Goaso Diocese),
Most Rev. Dominic Yeboah Nyarko (Bishop of Techiman Diocese), Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu (Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese), Most Rev. John Yaw Afoakwa (Bishop of Obuasi Diocese), Most Rev. Most. Rev. Samuel Nkuah-Boateng (Bishop of Wiawso Diocese), Most Rev. Joseph Kwaku Afrifa Agyekum (Bishop of Koforidua Diocese and Vice president of RECOWA), Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante(Bishop of Jasikan Diocese), Most Rev. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji SVD (Bishop of Keta-Akatsi Diocese) and Most Rev. John Baptist Attakruh (Bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi Diocese) and Most Rev. John Alphonse Asiedu SVD who is the Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Donkorkrom, the only Vicariate in the country.
The oldest crop of Bishops/Archbishops who have served the church dutifully and nearing their period of retirement are Most Rev. Philip Naameh of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale (He will be 75 years in September 2023) Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu, Bishop of Konongo-Mampong Diocese ( He was 75 years in February 2023) and Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante, Bishop of Jasikan Diocese (He will be 76 years old on July 27, 2023)
It must be carefully noted that all bishops offer to resign at age 75 as stipulated by the Canon Law. However, he may request to have his resignation accepted before that age if he feels he is unable to continue in his ministry due to ill health or other reasons.
Whether or not to accept a resignation lies with the Pope. If the Pope believes that a Bishop is still able to carry out his duties effectively, he may choose to keep him in place beyond the age of 75. However, if the bishop is no longer able to perform his duties adequately, the Pope will typically accept his resignation and appoint a successor.
In the case of the former, one may see a bishop serve well beyond his 75th birthday, in which case their retirement age may be extended by up to five years by a Holy See approval.
Per the observations of the ages of the bishops, some, if not all may have Pope Francis accepting their resignation and appointing their successors soon. This may involve Most Rev. Philip Naameh, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu and Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante.
It will be recalled that Bishop Mante was discharged from the 37 Military Hospital in Accra where he was receiving treatment in June 2023.
This was after Catholic Trends reported on May 22 the absence of Bishop Mante at this year’s Ad Limina Visit to Rome due to ill health.
The report said “Catholic Trends correspondent in Rome reports that the Bishop of Jasikan Diocese in Ghana, Most Rev. Gabriel Akwasi Ababio Mante is not with his brother Bishops on their Ad Limina visit.
Aside from these retirements, the Catholic Diocese of Wa has a vacant seat following the demise of its Bishop, the Late Richard Cardinal Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr, M. Afr.
Elevation of the Donkorkrom Vicariate to a Diocese
Another expectation is the elevation of the Apostolic Vicariate of Donkorkrom.
The Catholic Bishops of Ghana at their 2014 Ad Limina visit to Rome appealed to Pope Francis to elevate the Apostolic Vicariate to the status of a Diocese.
“The Prefecture of Donkorkrom was erected in 2007 and was raised to an Apostolic Vicariate in 2010. During the last seven years, the Apostolic Prefect of the Vicariate, Most Rev. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji, has nurtured the People of God in that jurisdiction and has put in place the necessary pastoral and administrative structures for it to become a diocese. The Conference humbly appeals to Your Holiness to consider the possible elevation of the Donkorkrom Vicariate to the status of a Diocese,” the statement said.
Invitation to Pope Francis to Visit Ghana
The Bishops of Ghana again in 2014 appealed to the Pope to visit Ghana. They argued that the visit will give the faith of Catholics in Ghana a great boost and will be a source of inspiration to the Catholic Church in Africa
“Your Holiness, as we have already mentioned above, your predecessor, Pope St. John Paul II, visited our country in 1980 on the occasion of the centenary of the Catholic Church in Ghana. The visit gave the Catholic Church in Ghana a great spiritual uplift. We would be most grateful if your Holiness would visit your flock in Ghana and in other parts of Africa at your earliest convenience,” the Bishops appealed.
The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference missed their meeting with the Pope at this year’s Ad Limina Visit. It is possible that the Holy Father may want to compensate Ghana with a visit.
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