Bishop's Meeting With Pastoral Leaders On The Need To Work Towards A Self-Reliant Church
TOWARDS A SELF-RELIANT DIOCESE
On Thursday 11th May, Most Rev. Joseph Afrifah Agyekum and his curia held a forum with all Priests, Chairpersons of Parish Pastoral Councils (PPC), Parish Finance Committees Chairmen and Secretaries to the PCC from all Parishes and Quasi-Parishes within Koforidua Diocese. The Chief-Shepherd met these pastoral leaders to discuss the finances of the diocese and the need to strategize and work harder towards a self-reliant diocese.
In his welcome address, the Vicar General Msgr. Francis Twum Barimah, on behalf of the Bishop thanked the participants for responding to the invitation of the Bishop to attend the meeting. He encouraged them to take active part in the discussion so that rich ideas could be harnessed which will help in consensus building and decision making.
A presentation was done by Very Rev. Fr. Justin Frankson Mensah the Financial Administrator and the Bursar of the Diocese on the Statement of Accounts of the Diocese for the year 2016. Before his presentation, the Bursar called a participant to read some recent letters received from the Department of Propagation of Faith in Rome asking the Bishop to indicate to ‘the Office of Propagation of Faith through the Nuncio, whether of the Diocese needed to be given subsidy from Rome or otherwise. According to another letter read to the hearing of participants, the Bishop in his response asked for the continues financial support of Rome. As a follow-up to the Bishop’s response Propaganda Fide asked him to submit the 2016 Statement of Accounts of the Diocese. The Financial Administrator reiterated that the letters from Propaganda Fide is a warning to the Diocese to sit up for a time will come that the subsidy the Diocese receives from Rome may be cancelled, hence the need to share ideas and work together towards a self-reliant church.
On his part, Bishop Afrifah Agyekum, asked all and sundry to own their Parish and the Diocese. He said the Parish belongs to the Parishioners and as such they have financial responsivities towards the parish and the diocese as well. The Bishop added that priests are only custodians and stewards. The ‘Priest cannot do what he likes with money belonging to the parish without consulting the Parish Pastoral Council’, the Bishop reiterated. He emphasised on the need to take good care of the temporal goods of the Church and use them judiciously. He called for greater cooperation between Priests and the PPC. He mentioned that parishes should respect the call by the Diocesan Finance Committee (DFC) to prepare annual budget and present it for discussion with the DFC for approval. Similarly, he stressed that Parishes should present their quarterly statement of accounts to the DFC at the end of each quarter. He also underscored the need for parishes to fulfil their financial commitments to the diocese.
At the end of the meeting participants lauded the move to work hard towards a self-reliant church. They resolved to ensure that Parishes fulfil their financial commitments to the Diocese by paying the annual levies (quota) allocated to each parish and be more committed to the Diocesan and Pontifical Collections. Again, each parish will contribute 5% of its income to the Diocesan Solidarity Fund to secure a future financial base in view of Parish developments. The Diocese will continue to provide vehicles to parishes for pastoral work. However, Parishes that are capable of purchasing their own vehicles are encouraged to do so after discussing it with the Bishop.
In his conclusion remarks, Most Rev. Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum thanked the participants for their attendance and wonderful contributions towards the success of the meeting. He requested that what transpired at the meeting should be brought to the knowledge of parishioners.