A Village Chapel for Ghana

Categories: Africa, Construction, Hope in Action, Our Work

When the first missionaries arrived in Ghana close to 110 years ago, it looked as though their mission had little prospect of success. Most died within a few weeks from tropical diseases and malnutrition, and the local population could be hostile to the Christian faith. Then something happened that looked very much like a miracle.

There was a severe drought in the country, and people and animals were dying of starvation, while crops dried up and withered. The witch doctors tried everything to conjure up the rain, but not a drop fell from the heavens. In their despair, the people turned to the local missionary, who knelt and prayed. Within half an hour, the rain was drumming down upon the earth. At this, many people were converted and asked for baptism.

There are still a number of foreign missionaries living and working in Ghana today. One of them, Franciscan Father Martino Corazzin has been working there ever since 1991, and by now he has built many churches and schools and sponsored numerous social and pastoral projects over the years.

Since 2014, he has been parish priest in the Parish of Saint Francis, in Elmina, in the south of the country, in Cape Coast Diocese. His parish includes eight village sub-parishes, one of which is Saint Anne‘s in Nkontrodo. There are some 200 Catholic faithful here who regularly attend Holy Mass and play an active part in the life of the Church. Sadly, they have no church of their own and so celebrate Holy Mass and their other community activities in the local school hall and refectory. This is not really a fitting place for the celebration of Holy Mass, and the parishioners must check beforehand every time with the school to make sure it is free, as scheduling conflicts occur again and again.

In addition, there are eight separate sects and Pentecostalist communities in the town, each of which has its own permanent church or temple, and there is a real danger that some of the Catholic faithful will drift away to the sects out of sheer frustration at their own situation.

As Father Martino reminds us, “Prevention is better than cure. We must do something now to save our community before it is too late!” He is now urgently appealing for our help. The people themselves are too poor to contribute more than a little to the cost of the work. They live from hand to mouth, growing a few vegetables and keeping a few chickens, mainly for their own needs and to sell at market. There is little money available, and many of the young people are unemployed. Without our help, the idea of a new church will remain no more than a dream.

Almost every day, people ask Father Martino, “So what about our chapel?” He responds by telling them, “Pray night and day with faith and with trust, and the Lord will hear your prayers and touch the hearts of those who can help us!”

We cannot disappoint the faith of the Catholic faithful in Nkontrodo, and so we are proposing to help with a grant of $34,800.

Will you help Father Martino and his congregation build this village chapel in Ghana?

Code: 121-01-19

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