Religion of Tuesday, 19 November 2013
Parliament has commended the Catholic Church for its pioneering role in the provision of education and other social infrastructure in the country.
The House said since both the state end the church were in the business of promoting the well-being of the people, other churches should use part of their income to support the communities in which they operated.
The MPs were contributing to a statement made on the floor of the House by the MP for Sunyani West, Mr Ignatius Baffuor-Awuah, to commemorate the 40th anniversary celebration of the creation of the Sunyani Diocese of the Catholic Church.
The then Sunyani Diocese, which covered the entire Brong Ahafo Region, has now been divided into three with the creation of the Goaso and the Techiman dioceses as a result of the continuous growth of the church in the region.
The bishop of the diocese, Bishop Matthew Akwasi Gyamfi, who assumed office in April 2003, has not departed from the vision of the first bishop, the late Bishop James Owusu, by growing the church and embarking on religious and social programmes.
After the carving out of two dioceses from it, the Sunyani Diocese can now boast 33 parishes, 79 priests, 70 sisters, 240 seminarians and a total congregation of about 241,000 baptised Catholics.
Provision of Social Amenities
Mr Baffuor-Awuah, who is a former Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, said the Catholic Church is a strong agent for improving education of the people by establishing schools at all levels of the educational ladder, culminating in the establishment of the Catholic University by the Catholic Bishops Conference at Fiapre in the diocese.
The diocese can currently boast the establishment of two colleges of education, one nursing and midwifery training school, 15 secondary/technical/vocational schools, 141 pre-schools with a total enrolment of 13,958.
In addition, the Sunyani Diocese also has 148 primary schools with a total enrolment of 34,887 and 105 junior high schools with an enrolment of 11,946.
The MP added that but for the church there would have been a big deficit in health care facilities in the region as it had health facilities, all of which served as referral centres in the region.
He stated that the much touted National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was structured on the Nkoranzaman Mutual Health Scheme which the diocese established long before the establishment of the national scheme.
Mr Baffuor-Awuah added that the Wenchi Rural Water Project, which belongs to the church, had supported about 600 rural communities with the provision of potable water over the years.
Contribution from MPs
Contributing to the statement, the MP for Zebilla, Mr Cletus Apul Avoka, said the Sunyani Diocese was relatively younger as compared to other Catholic dioceses in the country and yet it had chalked up more successes than many of them.
He commended the past and present bishops, reverend fathers, sisters, parishes and the entire membership of the church in the region for their selfless devotion to duty.
Other MPs who contributed to the statement included a deputy minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing and MP for Bodi, Mr Sampson Ahi and MP for Nkoranza South, Major Derrick Oduro (retd).