Keta-Akatsi @25: Two Sons of The Diocese Appointed Bishops

Keta-Akatsi @25: Two Sons of The Diocese Appointed Bishops

By Damian Avevor

The 25 years of the creation of the Keta-Akatsi Diocese has seen the appointment, ordination and installation of two of its sons as Bishops, both born on Friday hailing from Agbedrafor and Tegbi respectively.

The two, both Missionaries are the Most Rev. Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi, belonging to the Society of African Missions (SMA), and the Most Rev. Emmanuel Kofi Fianu of the Society of Divine Word (SVD).

Bishop Agbenyadzi is the Bishop of the Diocese of Berbérati in the Central Africa Republic (CAR) while Bishop Fianu is the Bishop of the Ho Diocese in the Volta Region of Ghana.

After their ordinations and installations, the two sons visited their hometowns to celebrate Mass with the people of God.

Bishop Agbenyadzi, first African SMA Bishop

On Monday, May 14, 2012, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, made public the appointment of Rev. Fr. Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi, SMA to be ordained Bishop to the Diocese of Berberati in the Central African Republic.

Ordination of Bishop Agbenyadzi at Bangui, CAR

His Episcopal Ordination took place in Bangui on July 22, 2012 by His Eminence, Fernando Cardinal Filoni, Prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelization of Peoples.

He was ordained together with Rt. Rev. Nestor NONGO-AZIAGBIA, SMA, proposed Bishop of Bossangoa as well as Two other Bishops. He was installed in Berberati, CAR on August 5, 2012.

As the first African and Ghanaian Bishop of the Society of African Missions (SMA) to be appointed Bishop, Bishop Agbenyadzi three weeks after his Episcopal ordination in 2012 visited his hometown Agbedrafor to celebrate Thanksgiving Mass for his new appointment and consecration.

Bishop Adanuty leading Bishop Agbenyadzi

Until his appointment, Bishop Agbenyadzi was the Regional Superior of the SMA in Central African Republic (CAR) where he had served for 15 years.

He is the second Ghanaian Missionary Prelate serving outside Ghana. The first is the Most Rev. Franklyn Nubuasah, SVD, Bishop of Gaborone Diocese in Bostwana.

Visit to Keta-Akatsi Diocese and Agbedrafor

On August 11, 2012, Bishop Anthony Adanuty, the Local Ordinary of the Keta-Akatsi Diocese with the entire faithful of the Diocese organised a reception in honour of Bishop Agbenyadzi to mark his homecoming to the Diocese and subsequently to his hometown Agbedrafor after his ordination.

Bishop Agbenyadzi at Agbedrafor

He was given a tumultuous welcome at the outskirts of the Akatsi Township with brass band music, singing and dancing to the Christ the King Cathedral for Adoration and Benediction.

The reception was crowned with a Pontifical Solemn Mass by Bishop Agbenyadzi at Agbedrafor, concelebrated by Bishop Adanuty and some priests of the Diocese as well as the representatives of the SMA, Very Rev. Fr. Paul Ennin, the Vicar General of the SMA- Rome, Very Rev. James Owusu-Yeboah, SMA, Regional Superior-Ghana and other SMA Confreres.

Bishop Agbenyadzi, who was the main celebrant, expressed joy for the honour bestowed on him and felt humbled as the first African Priest of the SMA to be elected Bishop and the first indigene of Akatsi to have attained such status.

He thanked the Lord for his election and prayed for the Grace of the Lord for a fruitful and successful mission in the Central African Republic.

Priestly Ordination at Abor

As part of his visit to his home Diocese, he had the privilege to preside over the ordination of three Diocesan Priests and an SMA priest at the St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish at Abor.

Bishop Fianu being welcomed to Ho

The ordination Mass, the first of Bishop Agbenyadzi after his consecration on July 22 at Bangui in CAR, was concelebrated by Bishop Adanuty, and over 60 Priests including Rev. Fr. James Owusu Yeboah, SMA Regional Superior of Ghana.

In his homily in Ewe and French, Bishop Agbenyadzi urged the new Priests to be dedicated to the Ministry they had been called by God to serve, commending them for responding to Lord’s call and accepting to serve Him.

On his Episcopacy, he said, he was happy to start his duty in his home Diocese and thanked God for his appointment, expressing his gratitude to Ghanaians for their prayers and love.

Brief Profile
Bishop Agbenyadzi was ordained to the Priesthood on July 12, 1997 in Ghana. Though he hails from Agbedrafor, he was born at Kadjebi-Akan, in the Diocese of Jasikan on October 9, 1964 into a family of eleven children.

After completing his Primary and Secondary Education, he joined the SMA. He studied Philosophy at St. Paul’s Catholic Seminary, living at the SMA House of Studies at Sowutuom. He left for the SMA International Spiritual Year Programme at Calavi in the Benin Republic.

After taking his first Oath of temporary membership in the Society, he was assigned to Berbérati for a pastoral year (Stage), to prepare him for missionary life. After his one-year stage, he was sent to study Theology at the Inter-diocesan Major Seminary in Anyama, Cote d’Ivoire (1993-1997). Along with his fellow SMA students, he lived at the SMA Foyer Méraud, Ebimpé.

It was there, on June 29, 1996, that he became a permanent member of the Society of African Missions.

After his priestly ordination, he held the following offices: from 1997-1999: Parochial Vicar in Berbérati; 1999-2005: as a Parish Priest in Beleboke, and at the same time as Director of Development Project for the Pygmy people; as a Member of the Episcopal Council; 2004-2007: Assistant to the Regional Superior; 2005-2009: training in Bangui, Central African Republic, and service as a member of the Diocesan Commission for Pastoral Care of Migrants especially Anglophones from Nigeria.

Thanksgiving Mass at Tegbi

In 2007, he was elected to serve as the Regional Superior of the Society of African Missions and was re-elected in 2010 for a second term.
As well as serving as Regional Superior, he served on the Council of the Bight of Benin District-in-formation, which covers Benin, Nigeria, Niger and the Central African Republic.

With the experience of the different posts of responsibilities he has been entrusted with, Bishop Agbenyadzi is eminently suited for his new post.

Bishop Fianu, 4th Ghanaian SVD Bishop

On June 14, 2015, Ghanaians especially the people of Tegbi, woke up with joy upon the Vatican’s announcement of Bishop Fianu as the Bishop of Ho in the Volta Region, making him the fourth Ghanaian Society of Divine Word Missionary Priest to be appointed a Bishop.

Welcome ceremony for Bishops Fianu at Ho

The first is Bishop Franklyn Nubuasah of Gaborone Diocese in Botswana; Bishop Vincent Sowah Boi-Nai of Yendi and Bishop Gabriel Edoe Kumordji, Bishop of Keta-Akatsi (former Bishop of Donkorkrom Apostolic Vicariate).

He succeeded the Most Rev. Francis Anani Kofi Lodonu. Until his appointment, Bishop Fianu was the Secretary General of the Council of the Divine Word Missionaries in Rome.

On October 3, 2015, he took canonical possession of the Ho Diocese as its second Bishop after his consecration and installation.

Bishop Fianu being welcomed to Ho

The five-hour colourful event was presided over by the Vatican-based President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (Now Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development), Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson as the Principal Consecrator, assisted by the former Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana, Archbishop Jean-Marie Speich and Bishop Emeritus Francis Lodonu who has served as Bishop for 42 years.

Upon his ordination, Bishop Fianu said the Christian formation of the youth will be one of the areas that would receive his pastoral attention as the Shepherd of the Ho Diocese.

He said the way and manner parents live their Christian lives have a great influence on the Christian upbringing of children, noting that when a child leaves home to School, to the playground, to Church, he or she interacts with others who also shape his or her life.

Visit to Tegbi
Four months after his Episcopal ordination and installation, Bishop Fianu visited his hometown Tegbi during which he was given tumultuous welcome by the faithful with brass band from the outskirt in a procession to the town.

Mass at Tegbi

The visit was to thank the faithful for their prayers and attending his Episcopal Ordination on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at Ho.

The theme for the two-day visit from Saturday, January 9 to Sunday, 10, 2016 was: Before I formed you in the Womb, I knew You… I appointed you as Prophet to the Nations (Jeremiah 1:5).
The open-air Mass at the St. Anthony of Padua Church was concelebrated by Bishop Adanuty, the Most Rev. Gabriel A.A. Mante, Bishop of Jasikan; and Most Rev. Gabriel Edoe Kumordji, then Bishop of Donkorkrom but now Bishop of Keta-Akatsi.

Chrism Mass
On March 22, 2016, Bishop Fianu presided over the Chrism Mass for the Keta-Akatsi Diocese at the Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church, Sogakope-Agorkpo.

Appointment as Apostolic Administrator
Bishop Fianu’s appointment as the Apostolic Administrator was announced on April 7, 2016 at the Christ the King Cathedral at Akatsi by the Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, then Archbishop of Accra but now Archbishop of Cape Coast on behalf of the then Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Most Rev. Jean Marie Speich. It was simultaneously made in Rome.

Bishop Agbenyadzi with some Priests at Abor

The appointment follows the Pope’s acceptance of the resignation from pastoral care of the Diocese by Most Rev. Anthony Adanuty in accordance with Canon 401 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

In a response to his additional responsibility, Bishop Fianu said that although he was just six months old as a Bishop of Ho trying to familiarise himself as the Shepherd, he could not but to accept the Holy Father’s appointment.

He pledged his readiness to execute the responsibility assigned to him and hoped that the period of holding the fort will be a short one, asking for the support and prayers from the Priest, Religious and the lay faithful of Diocese.

Brief Profile
Bishop Fianu was born on June 14, 1957 in Tegbi, near Keta (now the town is located in the Diocese of Keta-Akatsi). From 1963, he attended Elementary and Secondary Schools in Tegbi, Ada-Foah and Accra respectively.
For three years (1976-1979), he was a student at the Major Seminary in Tamale. He entered the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Divine Word (SVD).

He took his first vows on September 8, 1980 and was ordained a priest on July 14, 1985 in Accra.
Since his ordination, he has served in the following academic and pastoral roles: 1986-1990: Assistant Parish in Togo, Chaplain of the young and in charge of the lay apostolate; teacher in the College d’Enseignement General in Kante; 1990-1994: student of Biblical Theology at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome.

From 1994-1996: Admonitor of the SVD District in Lome, Professor of Biblical Studies at St. Jean Paul II Seminaire and at the Institut St. Paul in Lome, Secretary of the Commission for the liturgical publications Ghana-Togo;
From 1996-1998, he served as Director of the Divine Word College in Rome; 1998 to 2000, Admonitor of the Divine Word College in Rome; 2000-2004, Rector of the College of the Divine Word in Rome and Professor and Formator at St. Victor’s Major Seminary in Tamale.

From 2001 to 2003, Bishop Fianu was Secretary for the formation of the SVD Provinces Africa-Madagascar; 2004 to 2006, Co-ordinator for the Afram area based in Accra before becoming the Secretary of the General Council of the Divine Word Missionaries in Rome.


Source: Damian Avevor//