The West African nation of Ghana has a population of almost 29 million. Roughly 70% of the population are Christians, most of whom belong to a variety of different Protestant denominations. Approximately 15% are Catholics. However, particularly among the followers of the traditional African religions, there are many who are interested in Christianity. For them the Good News of Christ means liberation from their fear of sorcery and evil spirits.
One example of a flourishing new parish, where many people are now turning to the Catholic faith, is the parish of Saint Michael in Kpassa. This town of around 45,000 people is situated in the east of the country roughly 250 miles (400 km) from the capital Accra. In the year 2008 the Capuchin Fathers established a mission station here, which in 2010 was raised to the status of a parish. Today it includes 34 outlying villages, in 17 of which outstations have already been established – in other words, small Catholic communities, each accompanied by two catechists. The priests visit these villages regularly to celebrate Holy Mass and administer the Sacraments. Meanwhile, four other villages are in the process of developing into similar outstations. Some of these outstations lie up to 28 miles (45 km) from the centre of the parish.
There are other villages, however, that are so remote that it has not yet been possible to proclaim the Gospel there. For one thing, the state of the roads is very poor. In the rainy season many of these tracks degenerate into almost unnavigable rivers of mud. What is needed here is a powerful and robust all-terrain vehicle. For now, however, the three Capuchin priests in the parish have just one motorcycle and one old car between them. Better than nothing, of course, but it means that they simply cannot minister to the outstations as intensively as they need to – to say nothing of regularly visiting the other outlying villages. This is a cause of concern to the Fathers, since it means not only that the people are left to themselves in their spiritual and often their social needs as well, but also that there is a danger, wherever the Church cannot be physically present, of an invasion by the sects.
And so the parish priest, Father Robinson Melkis has turned to ACN for help to obtain a suitable all-terrain vehicle. As he says in his letter, these pastoral visits are essential in order „to keep the flame of the Christian faith alive in the hearts of the faithful“. He needs another 10,000 Euros to be able to purchase this vehicle, and we have already promised this sum. Will you help us?