THE Northern Regional Minister, Mr Moses Mabengba, has charged the clergy to urgently put in place mechanisms to help stem the tide of unbridled criminal activities and lawlessness perpetrated by the youth.
He stressed the need for intensive youth evangelisation as a way of addressing the growing lawlessness, indiscipline and ungodly behaviour among the youth in the country.
Mr Mabengba was addressing the opening ceremony of the 23rd National Biennial Congress of the National Union of Ghana Diocesan Priests Associations (NUGDPA) in Tamale.
It was on the theme, “Reconciliation, Justice and Peace: The deepest aspiration of the Catholic Priest”.
According to the minister, it was the responsibility of parents and priests to inculcate in the youth good moral values and virtues such as the fear of God.
“I need not remind you that diocesan priests must live up to their role as partners with the state in the process of social development and transformation. Indeed, the church and the state are complementary in seeking the spiritual and material well-being of the people,” he pointed out.
Mr Mabengba used the occasion to commend the Catholic Church for its immense contribution in providing social amenities and further urged it to extend those amenities to the rural areas.
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra, the Most Reverend Charles Palmer-Buckle, entreated Catholic priests to be ambassadors of God’s reconciliation and bear the fruit of God’s own peace, not the peace of the world.
The Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), Mr Paul Victor Obeng, said priests had the moral obligation to heal the rancour in families as a prerequisite for national reconciliation.
“As priests, you may be insulted in the process of reconciliation but the end of that process is rewarding, as it brings about peace. You must be agents of reconciliation, not agents of division,” he stated.
The Catholic Archbishop of Tamale, the Most Reverend Philip Naameh, pointed out that events in Cote d’Ivoire should teach Ghanaians that the “worldly ambitions of absolute power, wealth and holding on to entrenched positions can never be employed to achieve reconciliation, justice and peace”.
The President of NUGDPA, Father John Louis, noted that the union, which was founded in 1976, had, over the years, grown from eight diocesan associations with 150 priests to the current 20 diocesan associations with membership of 1,300 priests.
He said the congress hoped to achieve, among other things, reconciliation, justice and peace, as well as seek ways for members to be more effective animators, agents, promoters and collaborators of reconciliation, justice and peace in churches, communities, the nation and on the African continent.