Parishioners of St. Mark Catholic Church, Ashongman Estate, Accra on Saturday, November 27, 2021, celebrated 25 years of existence with the dedication of its church building to the glory of God.
The joyous congregation, clad in branded anniversary Polo and T-shirts were present in their numbers for this memorable occasion.
The journey of St. Mark Catholic Church began by some lay faithful who resided in and around Ashongman Estates, particularly in the house of one Mr. Alex Mensah. As a family of Catholics, they gathered to pray the Holy Rosary, shared the Word, and later expanded to include a number of catholic faithful living in the locality.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, Most Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie CSSp was the principal celebrant for the dedication of the church. Concelebrating with the Archbishop were the Priest-in-Charge, Rev. Fr. Precious Franklin Eliplim Kofi Nutsugah, Very Rev. Fr. Lazarus Anondee, General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Rev. Fr. Destiny Amenuvor, Rector of Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Okponglo, Very Rev.Fr. Emmanuel Appah, Secretary to the Archbishop of Accra, Rev. Fr. Francis Oteng-Bawuah, Parish Priest, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Abelenkpe, and a number of priests who graced the occasion.
Very Rev. Fr. Lazarus Anondee, the Secretary-General of the National Catholic Secretariat gave the homily. He reminded all of the sacrifices of the founding fathers of the Church who selflessly began the church.
Fr. Lazarus, as he is commonly known, encouraged all who come to worship and participate in the liturgy from the beautiful and dedicated church, to go out to the world and share the good news of the Lord, and also transform it.
Fr. Lazarus referred to the day’s Second reading where St. Paul made profound statements, which he used to teach the congregants. He enjoined that the Church does not only comprise of stones and wood and other building materials but it is made up of people. “We are the Church. We are like living stones on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Together with Jesus, we are joined in one body with Christ as its head.” Fr. Lazarus further admonished that “we are the temples of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in us. We are holy and we all aspire to be saints who will leave with God one day in eternity”.
THE RITES OF DEDICATION
Every Catholic Church is dedicated to God to set the building apart for divine worship. The ritual began with all the congregation outside the church for the official opening by the Archbishop. There was the sprinkling of Holy Water on the people who are the spiritual temple, then the walls of the church, and finally the altar as stipulated in Ezekiel 36:24-28.
A relic of a martyr was deposited in a space on the altar to signify the sacrifice of the members has its source in the sacrifice of the head.
There was also the anointing of the altar with the oil of Chrism which makes the altar a symbol of Christ.
Incense is then burned on the altar, rising up as an odor of sweetness to signify Christ’s sacrifice and to ascend the prayers of the people rising up pleasing and acceptable to God.
The covering and dressing of the altar is to signify that it is the Lord’s table at which all God’s people joyously meet to be refreshed with the body and blood of Christ hence the “sacrificial meal”
In an interview with Radio Angelus news, the Chairman of the anniversary planning committee, Mr. Boniface Dakorah said that St. Mark Catholic Church has a lot of committed and dedicated people who are willing to support the work of God, and that has been the source of motivation to get the church completed and dedicated.
Mr. Dokorah used the opportunity to thank all members of St. Mark Catholic Church, especially the 25th Anniversary Planning committee members for a very good job done.
JULIETTE MANOMEY//DEPSOCOM ACCRA