President of Groupe Nduom, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, has charged the youth of Ghana to make god use of opportunities that may come their way, stressing that opportunity once wasted can never be regained.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 3rd World Youth Day to be staged in Ghana at Cape Coast in the Central region, Dr. Nduom who chaired the function, said although he did not have it all rosy while growing up, his success in life was attained through discipline and hard work as well as God’s grace.
“If you don’t work, you don’t eat as the Bible says… so work hard so that others will push you to get to the top,” he admonished the youth.
The event organised by the Ghana National Catholic Youth Council is on the theme “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart, For They Shall See God.”
The three-day programme at Aggrey Memorial Zion Senior High School in Cape Coast which has drawn Catholic youth across the ten regions of the country is to give them continuity to encounter God and do His will.
Also addressing the youth, the Vice President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference (GCBC), Most Rev Anthony Kwame Adanuttey, recounted that the celebration started in1984 in commemoration of the occasion when Pope John Paul II addressed young people in Rome and told them about the love of Christ and humanity.
He said since then the Catholic Church in the world over has celebrated 13 successive occasions to mark the day with the last one taking place in Brazil in 2013.
Most Rev. Adanuttey indicated that the GCBC decided to hold the Ghana version in 2005 since everyone could not travel to the worldwide programme, adding that since 2007 when the first event was held in Ghana, it has attracted massive participation annually.
He charged the youth to be pure in heart by living by the doctrines of the Gospel since God Himself is pure and it is within the heart He operates.
He pointed out that as a church, they are aware of the challenges confronting the youth hence their commitment in establishing youth centres to counsel the youth and equip them with the necessary skills to make them useful citizens.
He bemoaned the situation where many of the youth were leaving the Catholic Church for other churches because of the lack of understanding of the teachings of the church, particularly on marriage and the use of contraceptives.
“This is because our youth are not allowed to make contributions to this effect and we have taken notice as a church and will address it at the appropriate time”, he said.
To this end, the vice president of GCBC called on all churches in the country to listen to the youth and take their concerns seriously so as to secure the future of the country.
He again called for the need for catholic youth to be encouraged and trained to become authentic Catholics and proud of their faith to prevent them from leaving the church.
For his part, Archbishop of Cape Coast Diocese, Most Rev. Mathias Kobina Nketsiah, emphasised the contributions of the Central region in the early days of the Catholic Church in Ghana, indicating that that is why there are many graves of catholic missionaries in the region, particularly in Elmina and Saltpond.
He also observed that most of the missionaries died very young because of their dedication in doing their work and charged the youth to emulate them.
“Their sacrificial zeal and commitment saw the Catholic Church grow to be what it is today. Now the onus lies on us, the present generation, to live the gospel and make the lives of others better as they did,” he advised them.
Central Regional Minister, Mr. Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, charged the youth to start Catholic evangelism like other churches in order to sensitise the public on the doctrines of the Catholic Church to correct all misconceptions.