Former President Jerry John Rawlings has urged Christians to emulate the humility of Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, in their service to God and mankind.
He cited last year’s rare decision by the sovereign of the Vatican City State, to kneel and kiss the feet of two rival South Sudan leaders at the Vatican in an attempt to broker peace, as one of such exemplary acts.
At a thanksgiving service to climax the 75th anniversary of the Saint Paul Catholic Church at Kpehe in Accra, yesterday, he said Christians should be willing to overlook their social status in the interest of society.
“We engage in the prayer of thoughts and prayer of words but we need to do more than that. We must take appropriate steps to preserve human dignity, justice [and] freedom,” he said.
The colourful service which was on the theme, ‘Call to Holiness’ had in attendance personalities including the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and a former National Security Minister, Francis Poku.
The former President, who recounted his dream of becoming a priest, urged Christians to wake up to the essence of Christ’s death and fearlessly stand up for the truth like Jesus Christ did.
Unimpressed with the conduct of politicians, former President Rawlings urged them to learn ethics of life and noble conducts from traditional rulers whom he said were the embodiment of values of the country.
“As politicians some of us do ugly things. We lie and we steal. But the traditional leaders, they swear not to lie,” he said.
Delivering the homily, Most Reverend John Bonaventure Kwofie, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra described Christianity as a non-negotiable call to holiness and exemplary life because Jesus Christ on whom their faith was anchored was holy.
With this virtue, he said Christians were expected to cause a positive change in the “sour and dark” world by being “the salt and light”.
He quoted Matthew 5:13 to buttress this, saying, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
Touching on the Christian practice of fasting, the Archbishop said it should be backed by acceptable conduct and show love towards the homeless in the society.
“If our fasting and service as Christians do not affect society in a positive way, we lose our value and our call as Christians ,” he said.
He therefore charged the church to support the government to introduce social intervention programmes for the homeless people and the destitute in society.
Started in a rented room near the old site of the West Africa Secondary School at New Town in Accra with 25 members, the parish now occupies a church auditorium at Kpehe with members soaring over 2,000.