Very Rev. Fr. Francis Appiah – Kubi, President of RUPWA – URPAO Accra, April 17, GNA – The first ever Executive Meeting of the Regional Union of Priests of West Africa (RUPWA – URPAO) opened in Accra on Wednesday.
It was on the theme: ‘Regional Integration in West Africa: the role of the Catholic Diocesan Priest of West Africa.’
The meeting seeks to promote and foster a common reflection on the life and Ministry of the Diocesan Clergy in West Africa.
It would also seek to encourage pastoral exchange programmes among priests, parishes and dioceses in the region.
Very Reverend Father Francis Appiah – Kubi, President of RUPWA – URPAO s said the Union was in line with the universal mission entrusted to the Church that all Catholic Diocesan priests had to come under one umbrella in response to the Lord’s call of bringing the Good News to the whole of West Africa in collaboration with Bishops.
He said the meeting would deliberate on some pertinent issues confronting the task of evangelisation in the sub – region.
Rev Fr Appiah – Kubi indicated that the strategy of evangelisation by priests must be based on sanctity and their enthusiastic response to Christ’s universal call to holiness.
He expressed worry about conflict situations in the region, serious humanitarian emergencies especially in Mali, Nigeria n among other countries.
Rev Fr Appiah also spoke against human trafficking, particularly among women, migrants and refugees.
He noted that peace and stability are being threatened in the region with implications on the family, education, youth, political power, social justice and regional integration.
‘These struggles always exist in the parish, family, neighbourhood and among friends,’ he added.
Rev Appiah – Kubi said the objective of the union is to promote among members, interest in cultural studies that would enhance and encourage the incarnation of Christ in their way of life, and also to seek to promote justice and peace, integral human development and preferential option for the poor.
He said in fulfilling the huge challenges of evangelisation, the Presidents of Priestly Associations or Unions in West Africa (Francophone, Lusophone and Anglophone), met in Abidjan in April 2012 to form RUPWA.
The aim was to reinforce unity and collaboration among priests and with Bishops.
He observed that a regional congress was held from November 27 to December 3, 2012 adopted a draft constitution and elected substantive leaders to manage the affairs of the union.
The executive include Abbe Pierre Dione, from Senegal, Vice President, Pere Ambroise Mandah, from La Cote d’Ivoire as Executive Secretary, and Fr Dr Vitalis Anaehobi, from Nigeria as Assistant Secretary.
Most Rev Gabriel E. Kumordji, Apostolic Vicar of Donkorkrom who chaired the ceremony indicated that the establishment of RUPWA was timely to catch up with problems across borders and countries.
He said the union would integrate members and break the language barrier that existed and bring the common view of Priesthood.
Mr Anthony Esiape, Grand knight of Council 64, Knights of Marshal, Teshie – Nungua and Sectional Manager of Operations Electricity Company of Ghana who gave the keynote address said integration is a phenomenon that is gaining ground all over the world.
He noted that West Africa has been one of the most successful regional integration blocks in Africa and this implies that RUPWA would have to play a leading role to impact positively in West Africa, catering mainly for free moving Catholics.
Rev Fr Emmanuel Abbey – Quaye, Assistant Secretary General, National Catholic Secretariat said the creation of RUPWA was a move towards making the Catholic Church in West Africa an undivided body of Christ.