Reverend Father John Yaw Afoakwa, 60, has been enthroned as the third Bishop of the Obuasi Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church at a colourful ceremony at the Obuasi Len Clay Stadium.
Until his enthronemnet, Bishop Afoakwa was the Rector of the St. Louis Rectorate, Bodwesango, a chaplain and teacher at the Bodwesango Senior High School, and a Board member of Saint Louis Clinic, also at Bodwesango in the Adansi North District.
The Episcopal ordination and installation was performed by Most Rev. Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi as the principal consecrator with Most. Rev. Jean-Marie Speich, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, and Most Rev Thomas Kwaku Mensah, the second Archbishop Emeritus of Kumasi as co-consecrators.
The new bishop who was ordained into the priesthood in July 1992, has served in various capacities within the Obuasi Diocese since it was carved out of the Kumasi Diocese in 1995. These included a teacher of religious and moral education, guidance and counseling, Christian and religious studies (CRS) and Assistant Headmaster (Administration) at the Christ The King Catholic Senior High School at Obuasi-Akapoliso.
He also started the Holy Trinity Catholic Church at Obuasi-Anyinam, and became the first parish priest, before becoming the rector of Corpus Christi Catholic Church at Obuasi Akapoliso.
The First Archbishop Emeritus of Kumasi, Most Rev Peter Kwasi Sarpong, who delivered the homily, drew the new bishop’s attention to a number of challenges he was likely to meet in his new office, but hoped God would be his helper.
He said as bishop his main duties could be categorized into three, namely, sanctifying, teaching, and governing and added that “ John, I know you well that you will display love to all who are placed in your care.”
Most Rev Sarpong stressed that bishops should proclaim the gospel of Christ to men as one of their principal duties, and should help maintain close relationship with the society.
The Principal Consecrator, Most Rev Anokye in his welcome address, said the Obuasi Diocese which began with 26 diocesan and three missionary priests, has now 82 diocesan and six religious priests and 27 religious women.
“Currentlt, the Catholic Diocese of Obuasi covers a territory of 6,350 km2 with a total population of 1,394,910, out of which 106,260 are baptized catholic” he said, and added “ the catholic population is distributed within nine distinct administrative configurations namely, Obuasi municipal ,Adansi North, Adansi South, Amansie west, Amansie Central, Bekwai municipal,Bosomtwe, Atwima Kwanwoma and Bosome Freho districts.”
The Obuasi Municipal Chief Executive, Richard Ofori Agyemang Boadi, gave the assurance that government would continue to partner the church for the desired development of the nation.
The new bishop was thankful to the entire membership of the church for making his ordination and installation ceremonies a big success. GNA