Christ the King Parish on Sunday (23 May) bid farewell to Reverend Father Andrew Campbell, who retired from priestly duties after 50 years of service to the Catholic Church in Ghana.
Before his retirement at 75, he had served as the parish priest of Christ the King for 12 years.
The farewell Mass climaxed the 70th-anniversary celebrations of Christ the King Parish, which were commemorated with a special Mass onthe forecourt of the church at Cantonments in Accra.
The year-long anniversary launched on 14 February 2021 and is on the theme “Celebrating our Faith and Love: Doing Something Beautiful for God”.
It was attended by the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin; the wife of the vice-president, Samira Bawumia; the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey; the wife of a late former vice-president, Matilda Amissah Arthur; the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Monsignor Henyk Mieczyslaw Jagodzinski; the Most Reverend Justice Ofei Akrofi, a former Anglican archbishop of Accra; and Sam Okudzeto, a member of the Council of State.
Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia joined Father Campbell to cut the anniversary cake.
A citation was read for Father Campbell, who also received gifts from Christ the King for his selfless and dedicated service over the years.
Another citation was read for the late Kojo Botsio of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) for securing the land on which the church is sited.
An Irishman by birth, Father Campbell has been in Ghana for the past 50 years and served at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Osu, Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Accra, the Good Shepherd Parish in Community Two, Tema, and Christ the King, Cantonments.
Father Campbell is known informally as Nii Lamptey.
Dedication and zeal
The director of pastoral missions for the Accra Archdiocese of the Catholic Church, Reverend Father John Patrick Tindana, expressed appreciation to Father Campbell for his perseverance, dedication and zeal during his stay.
“Pastor Campbell brings love and hope to the poor and vulnerable,” Father Tindana said.
He urged members of the Church not to rest on their laurels but be proud of their achievements so far.
He said the Church must be filled by the love shared by Christians because this is the only way to ensure the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church. A church embroiled in bitter quarrels was a church without spirit, he argued.
Father Tindana further urged parishioners to emerge from their comfort zones and take the Gospel to the periphery of society.
In his farewell message, Father Campbell apologised to all those he might have offended in the course of his service to the Church.
He listed a number of initiatives he undertook during his tenure, such as the construction of the Adoration Chapel at Christ the King, his support for various leprosaria and the setting up of the Christ the King Soup Kitchen.
“My heart is filled with joy as I share these memories of kindness, generosity and love,” he said.
Father Campbell also expressed appreciation to all those who have supported him and Christ the King, singling out Dr Bawumia for the sustained support for his (Father Campbell’s) initiatives.
He pledged to set up another soup kitchen in Osu and to launch a Father Campbell Foundation.
The vice-president described Father Campbell as the “Jubilee House parish priest and chaplain”, saying the priest had contributed his quota to society.
“Just over half a century ago, a young 25-year-old priest left his home in Ireland, left his church community, his mother, his father and his entire family and graced our shores.
“For 50 years, he has contributed his quota to our society, be it in his vocation or going the extra mile. This, I can say, he has, in all propriety, done.
“On behalf of the people of Ghana, I extend my sincere gratitude to the Catholic Church of Ghana for sharing Father Campbell with us. May God, in His infinite Goodness, favour him and grant him success in all his future endeavours as he continues his work in the Lord’s Vineyard,” Dr Bawumia said.
On behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the vice-president donated GHC100,000 and a kente cloth to Father Campbell as well as GHC50,000 to the parish.