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A Summary of Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love)

A Summary of Amoris Laetitia

Summary of
Amoris Laetitia: On Love in the Family

It is not by chance that Amoris Laetitia (AL), “The Joy of Love”, the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “on Love in the Family”,was signed on 19 March, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph. It brings together the results of the two Synods on the family convoked by Pope Francis in 2014 and 2015. It often cites their Final Reports; documents and teachings of his Predecessors; and his own numerous catecheses on the family. In addition, as in previous magisterial documents, the Pope also makes use of the contributions of various Episcopal Conferences around the world (Kenya, Australia, Argentina…) and cites significant figures such as Martin Luther King and Erich Fromm. The Pope even quotes the film Babette’s Feast to illustrate the concept of gratuity.

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Amoris Laetitia: Pope Francis’ Exhortation on Love in the Family

The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church. As the Synod Fathers noted, for all the many signs of crisis in the institution of marriage, “the desire to marry and form a family remains vibrant, especially among young people, and this is an inspiration to the Church”. As a response to that desire, “the Christian proclamation on the family is good news indeed”.

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2014 Pastoral Guidelines


Beloved in Christ,

As we stepped into the New Year 2015, Ghanaians flocked in their numbers into their various places of worship to thank the Lord for all the good things they had received in the past year and to ask for blessings upon the new one.

The Catholic Church in Ghana, as she counts her blessings of the past year, cannot overlook the grace of holding a very successful Second National Pastoral Congress in Sunyani in the month of August on the theme: The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith in Ghana in the Light of Africae Munus.

Participants at that Congress will certainly recall the emphasis placed on the need to follow up with the implementation, in all the Archdioceses and Dioceses of Ghana, of the outcome, to be based on the Pastoral Guidelines that would be issued by the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

To this end, the National Planning Committee of the Congress submitted to the Bishops at their Annual Plenary Assembly held in Accra in November 2014 the Acts of the Second National Pastoral Congress, a full record of the proceedings at the Congress for their attention and action.

I now have the pleasure to present to you the following Pastoral Guidelines from your Bishops to be assiduously followed during a period of three years, that is to say 2015-2017 after which, in fulfilment of the desires expressed at the Congress for a more frequent pastoral exercise of the kind which took place at Sunyani, another gathering of the Church in Ghana should profitably consider how best to proceed.

Furthermore, the Bishops have tasked the aforesaid Planning Committee to serve as the National Implementation Committee of these Pastoral Guidelines in order to co-ordinate at the national level, through the Office of the Department of Pastoral Ministry and Evangelization, the efforts of the various ecclesiastical circumscriptions geared at implementing the same Pastoral Guidelines. We urge all and sundry to make themselves available, if and when approached by the National Implementation Committee, to collaborate towards achieving the national goal of bringing the benefits of the Second National Pastoral Congress to the doorsteps of the Christian Lay Faithful.

May the Lord, who has entrusted to us the noble mission of proclaiming the Good News, accompany our every effort to bring the unchanging message of the Gospel to the men and women of today in a language and manner that they can understand

Given at the National Catholic Secretariat on this 12th day of January, 2015.



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Directive for Churches of Mercy


My dearly beloved Clergy, Religious and faithful People of God in the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra, may the Mercy of God the Father…be with you all.

In his Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy (MV 17), our Holy Father Pope Francis gives the following directives that “The season of Lent during this Jubilee Year should also be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy. How many pages of Sacred Scripture are appropriate for meditation during the weeks of Lent to help us rediscover the merciful face of the Father!”

In consultation with the Council of Priests, I bring to your attention the following designated as “Churches of Mercy” for the season of Lent in our Archdiocese. May I indicate that the “Churches of Mercy” and the Places of Pilgrimage already designated Archdiocesan Jubilee of Mercy Shrines (here-below) carry with them the Indulgences graciously granted by the Holy Father for pilgrims (see MV 22)

  1. They are the Holy Spirit Cathedral and its Holy Door as well as the following Marian Grottoes:
  • Christ the King Parish, Switchback Road, Cantonments
  • St. Margaret Mary Parish, Dansoman
  • Our Lady of Assumption Parish, New Achimota
  • St. John the Evangelist Parish, Adentan
  • St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Tema Community 8
  • Asutsuare Mountains Pilgrimage Place
  1. Churches of Mercy: The “Churches of Mercy” are to be places where priests would be available for a majority time of the day, especially at hours of the day accessible to workers for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation; the Sacrament of Mercy. The location of these Churches should enable the People of God avail themselves more easily for Confessions and other penitential and Lenten programmes in between office hours.

The “Churches of Mercy” for this season of Lent include the following:

Osu Deanery

Holy Spirit Cathedral, Adabraka

Christ the King, Cantonments

Divine Mercy, Okponglo

Mamprobi Deanery

St. Margaret Mary, Dansoman

Sacred Heart, Derby Avenue

Ss. Peter and Paul, New Aplaku

Kaneshie Deanery

St. Theresa, Kaneshie

Our Lady of Assumption, New Achimota

St. Paul’s Catholic Seminary, Sowutuom

Madina Deanery

Queen of Peace, Madina

St. John the Evangelist, Adentan

St. Agnes, Dodowa

Kpehe Deanery

St. Kizito, Nima

St. Sylvanus, Pokuase

St. Paul, Kpehe

St. Thomas Aquinas, Legon

Tema-Battor Deanery

St. Joseph the Worker, Comm. 8

Our Lady of Mercy, Comm. 1

St. Augustine, Ashaiman

St. Mary, Koluedor

St. John Vianney, Asutsuare

St. Maria Goretti, Battor

St. Peter Claver, Ada Foah

Archbishop Andoh Catechetical Centre, Kordiabeh

  1. Some Suggestions: Besides the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation (Confessions) at the “Churches of Mercy”, other liturgical and para-liturgical services, i.e., “Hour of Grace”; Divine Mercy Chaplet and Devotion, Stations of the Cross, Community Prayer of the Holy Rosary, etc., should be encouraged during this Lenten Season. It is suggested that in each deanery a roster of Confessors be drawn up to enable the faithful know when the Confessors and “Missionaries of Mercy” are available at the “Churches of Mercy” and also to guide the Faithful as to where to visit for Confessions in the course of the week.

According to Pope Francis, “…the Missionaries of Mercy will be a sign of the Church’s maternal solicitude for the People of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith. They will be, above all, living signs of the Father’s readiness to welcome those in search of his pardon. They will be facilitators of a truly human encounter, a source of liberation, rich with responsibility for overcoming obstacles and taking up the new life of Baptism again. … Everyone, in fact, without exception, is called to embrace the call to mercy” (MV. 18).

  1. Concluding, the Holy Father writes: “May pastors, especially during the liturgical seasons of this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, be diligent in calling back the faithful ‘to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace’ (Heb 4:16)” (MV 18).

“May the message of mercy reach every one, and may no one be indifferent in our Archdiocese to the call to experience mercy” (MV 19). Finally, “in this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of casting open the doors of his heart and of repeating that he loves us and wants to share his love with us” (MV 25).

May Mary, the Immaculate Conceived, the Mother of Mercy and Refuge of Sinners, who at the foot of the Cross of Christ received us sinful men and women for her children in the faith, continue to intercede for each and every one of us!

Given by

Most Rev. Charles G. PALMER-BUCKLE,

Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra.

On the First Sunday of Lent,

Sunday, February 14, 2016.

Fifteen Things You Should Know About Lent


  1. What is Lent?

Lent is the 40-day period before Easter, which the Church uses to prepare for the celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

  1. What is the duration for the period of Lent?

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is the day on which the faithful have their foreheads signed with ashes in the form of a Cross. It ends at noon on Holy Saturday. The 40 days excludes the five Sundays of Lent.

  1. Why do Catholics have their foreheads marked with a cross on Ash Wednesday?

In the Bible, a mark on the forehead is a symbol of a person’s ownership. When a person’s forehead is marked with the sign of the cross, this symbolizes that the person belongs to Jesus Christ, who died on a Cross. This symbolic action is done in imitation of the spiritual mark or seal that is put on a Christian in baptism, when he is delivered from slavery to sin and the devil, and made a servant of righteousness and Christ (Rom. 6:3-18). It is also in imitation of the way the righteous are described in the book of Revelation: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God upon their foreheads.” (Rev 7:3). So the sealing with the cross means we have been marked for God and are ready to make a covenant with God for 40 days.

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Message Of Pope Francis For Lent 2016


“I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (Mt 9:13).

“The works of mercy on the road of the Jubilee”

  1. Mary, the image of a Church which evangelizes because she is evangelized

In the Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, I asked that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 17). By calling for an attentive listening to the word of God and encouraging the initiative “24 Hours for the Lord”, I sought to stress the primacy of prayerful listening to God’s word, especially his prophetic word. The mercy of God is a proclamation made to the world, a proclamation which each Christian is called to experience at first hand. For this reason, during the season of Lent I will send out Missionaries of Mercy as a concrete sign to everyone of God’s closeness and forgiveness.

After receiving the Good News told to her by the Archangel Gabriel, Mary, in her Magnificat, prophetically sings of the mercy whereby God chose her. The Virgin of Nazareth, betrothed to Joseph, thus becomes the perfect icon of the Church which evangelizes, for she was, and continues to be, evangelized by the Holy Spirit, who made her virginal womb fruitful. In the prophetic tradition, mercy is strictly related – even on the etymological level – to the maternal womb (rahamim) and to a generous, faithful and compassionate goodness (hesed) shown within marriage and family relationships.

  1. God’s covenant with humanity: a history of mercy

The mystery of divine mercy is revealed in the history of the covenant between God and his people Israel. God shows himself ever rich in mercy, ever ready to treat his people with deep tenderness and compassion, especially at those tragic moments when infidelity ruptures the bond of the covenant, which then needs to be ratified more firmly in justice and truth. Here is a true love story, in which God plays the role of the betrayed father and husband, while Israel plays the unfaithful child and bride. These domestic images – as in the case of Hosea (cf. Hos 1-2) – show to what extent God wishes to bind himself to his people.

This love story culminates in the incarnation of God’s Son. In Christ, the Father pours forth his boundless mercy even to making him “mercy incarnate” (Misericordiae Vultus, 8). As a man, Jesus of Nazareth is a true son of Israel; he embodies that perfect hearing required of every Jew by the Shema, which today too is the heart of God’s covenant with Israel: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Dt 6:4-5). As the Son of God, he is the Bridegroom who does everything to win over the love of his bride, to whom he is bound by an unconditional love which becomes visible in the eternal wedding feast.

This is the very heart of the apostolic kerygma, in which divine mercy holds a central and fundamental place. It is “the beauty of the saving love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ who died and rose from the dead” (Evangelii Gaudium, 36), that first proclamation which “we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment” (ibid., 164). Mercy “expresses God’s way of reaching out to the sinner, offering him a new chance to look at himself, convert, and believe” (Misericordiae Vultus, 21), thus restoring his relationship with him. In Jesus crucified, God shows his desire to draw near to sinners, however far they may have strayed from him. In this way he hopes to soften the hardened heart of his Bride.

  1. The works of mercy

God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn. In an ever new miracle, divine mercy shines forth in our lives, inspiring each of us to love our neighbour and to devote ourselves to what the Church’s tradition calls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. These works remind us that faith finds expression in concrete everyday actions meant to help our neighbours in body and spirit: by feeding, visiting, comforting and instructing them. On such things will we be judged. For this reason, I expressed my hope that “the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; this will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty, and to enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy” (ibid., 15). For in the poor, the flesh of Christ “becomes visible in the flesh of the tortured, the crushed, the scourged, the malnourished, and the exiled… to be acknowledged, touched, and cared for by us” (ibid.). It is the unprecedented and scandalous mystery of the extension in time of the suffering of the Innocent Lamb, the burning bush of gratuitous love. Before this love, we can, like Moses, take off our sandals (cf. Ex 3:5), especially when the poor are our brothers or sisters in Christ who are suffering for their faith.

In the light of this love, which is strong as death (cf. Song 8:6), the real poor are revealed as those who refuse to see themselves as such. They consider themselves rich, but they are actually the poorest of the poor. This is because they are slaves to sin, which leads them to use wealth and power not for the service of God and others, but to stifle within their hearts the profound sense that they too are only poor beggars. The greater their power and wealth, the more this blindness and deception can grow. It can even reach the point of being blind to Lazarus begging at their doorstep (cf. Lk 16:20-21). Lazarus, the poor man, is a figure of Christ, who through the poor pleads for our conversion. As such, he represents the possibility of conversion which God offers us and which we may well fail to see. Such blindness is often accompanied by the proud illusion of our own omnipotence, which reflects in a sinister way the diabolical “you will be like God” (Gen 3:5) which is the root of all sin. This illusion can likewise take social and political forms, as shown by the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century, and, in our own day, by the ideologies of monopolizing thought and technoscience, which would make God irrelevant and reduce man to raw material to be exploited. This illusion can also be seen in the sinful structures linked to a model of false development based on the idolatry of money, which leads to lack of concern for the fate of the poor on the part of wealthier individuals and societies; they close their doors, refusing even to see the poor.

For all of us, then, the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favourable time to overcome our existential alienation by listening to God’s word and by practising the works of mercy. In the corporal works of mercy we touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited; in the spiritual works of mercy – counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer – we touch more directly our own sinfulness. The corporal and spiritual works of mercy must never be separated. By touching the flesh of the crucified Jesus in the suffering, sinners can receive the gift of realizing that they too are poor and in need. By taking this path, the “proud”, the “powerful” and the “wealthy” spoken of in the Magnificat can also be embraced and undeservedly loved by the crucified Lord who died and rose for them. This love alone is the answer to that yearning for infinite happiness and love that we think we can satisfy with the idols of knowledge, power and riches. Yet the danger always remains that by a constant refusal to open the doors of their hearts to Christ who knocks on them in the poor, the proud, rich and powerful will end up condemning themselves and plunging into the eternal abyss of solitude which is Hell. The pointed words of Abraham apply to them and to all of us: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Lk 16:29). Such attentive listening will best prepare us to celebrate the final victory over sin and death of the Bridegroom, now risen, who desires to purify his Betrothed in expectation of his coming.

Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favourable a time for conversion! We ask this through the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who, encountering the greatness of God’s mercy freely bestowed upon her, was the first to acknowledge her lowliness (cf. Lk 1:48) and to call herself the Lord’s humble servant (cf. Lk 1:38).

From the Vatican, 4 October 2015

Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi





INTRODUCTION: RECOWA-CERAO is a Catholic Regional grouping which brings together both Anglophone and Francophone Catholic Bishops in West Africa.

DATE:  From 22nd – 29th February 2016, the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) will host the 2016 RECOWA-CERAO Plenary Assembly.

ATTENDANCE: 150 participants made up of Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops & other Church leaders are expected to attend.

THEME: “The New Evangelization and the Specific Challenges for the Church, Family of God in West Africa”

AREAS: (i) Reconciliation (ii) Development (iii) Family Life

COST: The cost of organizing this conference is huge. Donations in cash and in kind will therefore be needed to cover the cost of the following items.

  1. Made-in-Ghana chasubles to be given out as gifts to all participating clergy. The cost of a chasuble is 300 Ghana Cedis. Sponsors will have their names written in the chasubles for the recipients to pray for them.
  2. A full-colour Conference Brochure
  3. Accommodation for all participants for one week
  4. Transportation expenses
  5. Translation services
  6. Banners, flyers, etc

SPECIAL APPEAL: All cheques should be written in the name of the NATIONAL CATHOLIC SECRETARIAT or Cash Payment directly in any of the Accounts below:

  1. Account Name: National Catholic Secretariat

Account Number: 1047111000020

Branch: Adabraka


  1. Account Name: National Catholic Secretariat

Account No: 1261130001727

Branch: Gulf House

Bank: GCB Bank

  1. Account Name: National Catholic Secretariat

Account No: 00821162302511

Branch: Dzorwulu Motorway Business Office

Bank: UBA

Press Statement By The Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference On Accepting Former Guantanamo Bay Prisoners In Ghana



We, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, have received news of the transfer of two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners, namely, Mahmoud Omar Mohammed Bin Atef (36 years) and Khalid Shayk Mohammed (34 years) to Ghana with great distress and sadness and wish to call on our Government to act responsibly and in the interest of the nation by sending these men back to wherever they came from.

Having learnt that of these two former prisoners, Mahmoud Bin Atef fought for the late Osama Bin Laden at one time, while Khalid Shayk Mohammed is known to have trained with the terrorist group, Al Qaeda, we wish to pose these questions, among others, for our Government’s response: What is their mission here in Ghana? Does their presence not constitute or pose a clear danger to us? If indeed these two persons are harmless and  if they have been “cleared” of any terrorist act by the US Government, as our Government and the US Government and some others want us to believe, why were they not sent back to Yemen or Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan where they come from or taken to the USA which found them harmless? Did our representatives in Parliament discuss the merits and demerits of their resettlement here in Ghana? We need urgent answers to these and other questions because we think that their presence clearly poses a threat to Ghana.

Our Government should not take the citizens of this country for a ride by acting in ways that can have serious consequences on the nation’s safety and security. Ghana has been open to receiving refugees in the past but these two men are not in this category. We think that they are not refugees but time-bombs and so Government should do all it can to send them back as soon as practicable.

Upsurge of Terrorist Activities in the World

Over the past years, we have witnessed the upsurge of many terrorist groups wreaking havoc on innocent people in many places of the world. Today, the problems caused by such groups as those in the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Cameroun, Al- Shabab in Somalia and Kenya, Houthi rebels in Yemen, to mention but a few, are evident for all to see. The recent terrorist attacks in France, Mali and other countries cannot escape our attention.

We have reports of the movement of Boko Haram fighters across parts of West Africa, looking for places to pitch camp. This and other reports should make Ghana reflect soberly on how to tighten our nation’s borders and security to ensure that we do not fall victim to the attacks of these terrorist groups in the near future. The acceptance of two former prisoners of Guantanamo Bay Camp is surely not a good move in the effort to secure the security of the nation.

Ghana’s Security in Election Year

In the lead up to elections this year, the security of our nation is going to be put to a severe test once again. We must understand that Ghana is not immune to the attacks of potential external terrorist forces. Yet, internal issues can make our country susceptible to such attacks. The Honourable Minister of Interior, Mr. Mark Woyongo, has mentioned that Brong Ahafo, for example, is a hotspot due to the challenges the people are facing in the aftermath of the closure of some financial institutions there. We still have security challenges in places like Bimbilla, Yendi, Alavanyo-Nkonya, and other places because of land and chieftaincy disputes. We have witnessed and continue to witness inter-party and intra-party violence and chaos.

This year is an election year and we expect our Government to focus a lot of attention on helping to secure peace and security in the country by dealing with the above-mentioned and related challenges and not to risk the security of our land by hosting two former terrorists. This is why we think sincerely and honestly that to have two ex-prisoners of very dangerous backgrounds walking freely on our land is a wrong move and wish to call on Government to repatriate them as soon as practicable.


We call on Parliament, Religious Leaders, chiefs, opinion leaders and civil society organisations interested in the security of Ghana to speak against this unilateral decision of the Government to accept these ex-prisoners to Ghana and to advise the Government to do all it can to send these men back to wherever they came from. We expect our Government to heed our humble call, if it is indeed a listening Government.





(January 11, 2016)

Why You Cannot Remain An Employee Of The Catholic Church If You Enter Into Gay Marriage / Relationship


Addressing news about a church cantor (chorister) who was terminated after entering into a gay marriage, Washington’s Cardinal Wuerl posted this on his blog:

Recently you may have heard stories in the news about how the employment of a person in public ministry at a local parish was no longer possible when he indicated that he would continue to openly live in contradiction to what the Church proclaims as true, specifically a civil “same-sex marriage.” Since mercy is at the heart of our Catholic faith, this outcome is unfortunate and I would like here to discuss the principles involved in this and other similar situations.

First, any person who struggles in trying to live according to the revealed truth of Catholic teaching should know the Church recognizes his or her dignity as created by God and that the person need not face life’s challenges apart from the grace of the Lord and his Church, which seeks only the highest good for everyone.

The Church recognizes that we all need to grow in faith and in closeness to the Lord. Simply acting contrary to Church teaching on occasion would not preclude serving as a ministerial employee or volunteer. For us to acknowledge that we are sinners, as we do, is to admit that occasionally we too have at times not lived up to the truth. On those occasions, we are expected to acknowledge our failings and seek to amend our lives in Christ.

However, if one persists or effectively insists that they are right and the Church is wrong, in the face of such irreconcilable differences it is not discrimination or punishment to say that continued ministerial service is not possible. It is not a question of personal private activity, but the social consequences of conduct which undermines the Church’s ability to fulfill her mission. When there is the potential for scandal that might lead people astray regarding the Catholic faith, continued service becomes untenable.

The purpose of our parishes, schools, ministries and other Catholic entities – “and the task of those who work for them – is to lead people to Jesus,” as I wrote last spring in my pastoral letter Being Catholic Today: Catholic Identity in an Age of Challenge (13). That purpose and task is challenged by a secular culture that is in contradiction to traditional concepts of marriage, family, the common good and objective right and wrong.

“Those who agree to assist the Church in her mission and ministries represent the public face of the Church,” and thus they have a special responsibility to “respect our Catholic identity and avoid behavior that contradicts the very mission of the Catholic institution” (14). The Catholic faithful, and the other people that our ministries serve, have a right to the Gospel and to receive authentic Church teaching (Redemptoris Missio, 44; Evangelii Gaudium, 14).

Conversely, people are denied that right, and our mission and Catholic identity can be compromised “either through explicit dissent, miscatechesis or personal conduct that tends to draw people away from the communion of the Church” (Being Catholic Today, 22). “When people are faithful and give good witness, they lead people to Christ. But when we give bad witness, we can lead people away from Christ” (16).

Homily Of Archbishop Palmer-Buckle At The 2016 Diaconate Ordination Ceremony


Sermon: My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I deliberately selected the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7, in which St. Luke the Evangelist gives us a very graphic account of how the Order of Deacons began in the early Christian Community.  The Gospel for today is that of Wednesday after Epiphany.