Regional News of Wednesday, 30 June 2004
Kumasi, June 30, GNA - Pope John Paul II, has elevated the Saint Peter's Catholic Cathedral in Kumasi to the status of a Minor Basilica. By this honour, the Cathedral has become the first Catholic Church to assume the status of a Minor Basilica in Ghana and the 13th in Africa.
The most Reverend George Kocherry, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, who announced this at the celebration of the feasts of Saint Peter and Paul at the Saint Peter's Cathedral in Kumasi on Tuesday, said the conferment of the title on the cathedral was in appreciation of its meritorious pastoral and liturgical works over the decades.
The clergy, religious and laity from all over the country as well as various Catholic groups attended the feasts.
The groups included the Knights and Ladies of Marshall, Knights and Ladies Auxiliary of Saint John International, Christian Mothers Association and the Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus Society. The Apostolic Nuncio also stated that the decision to raise the cathedral to the status of Minor Basilica by the Pontiff stems from the acknowledgement that the cathedral was one of the oldest in Ghana and a church that has blended Christian art with Ashanti culture.
The Most Rev Kocherry said, "by this honour, the Saint Peter's Minor Basilica, Kumasi now bears an intrinsic relationship with the chair of Peter and the Holy Father, successor of Peter".
He observed that the Holy Father has been very thoughtful of Kumasi and for that matter, the faithfuls owe it a moral duty to reciprocate his benevolence to the Metropolitan Archdiocese by being loyal and obedient to him.
He said the Pope's benevolence to the Metropolitan Archdiocese is evidenced in the fact that "two years ago he raised the status of Kumasi to the rank of Metropolitan Archdiocese and appointed the Most Rev. Peter Sarpong as the first Archbishop of Kumasi".
This apart, the Apostolic Nuncio said, "the Pontiff also gave you an Auxiliary Bishop last year in the person of Most Rev Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, who is the only Auxiliary Bishop in Ghana".
Archbishop Sarpong expressed gratitude of the Catholic faithfuls in the diocese to the Pope and called on all Catholics to work more diligently so as to justify the benevolence of the Pontiff to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Kumasi.