Rev Father Andrew Campbell, the parish priest of Christ the King Catholic Church in Cantonments, Accra, has described the benevolent support the Christ the King Soup Kitchen and the Lepers Aid Committee have received from Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in aid of the poor as “an honour and a privilege”, the assistance freely given despite the two men’s religious differences.
Father Campbell oversees charitable programmes by Christ the King Parish which feed street children and care for lepers. He said Dr Bawumia has been one of the biggest donors to both schemes.
Speaking on Friday at Jubilee House, where an Iftar (breaking of the Ramadan fast) was held in honour of the National Chief Imam’s 102nd birthday, Father Campbell commended Dr Bawumia for his kindness towards the poor and work to promote interfaith co-operation.
“How beautiful it was in Christmas when the vice-president gave me a present of 2,000 bags of rice to be distributed to the poor and needy,” Father Campbell said.
“Two thousand bags of rice! I was able to distribute to all the lepers all over the country, street children in Accra and Kumasi and many other institutions. About 51 needy institutions in this country, I gave them their Christmas gift of rice from the vice-president.”
Father Campbell was fascinated by what he described as the beautiful partnership between himself, a priest, and a Muslim to assist a Christian initiative for the poor.
“A Catholic priest working hand in hand with a Muslim vice-president was an honour, was a privilege.
“We are always working hand in hand and the vice-president’s door is always open. I do go to him and I say, ‘I need help. Please can you help me.’ His door is always open and he always has a warm welcome for me when I come.
“And it is so beautiful: a Catholic priest and a Muslim vice-president. What an honour! What a privilege!
“I thank His Excellency so much. He has taught me a lot and I am so grateful.”
Kind words for Chief Imam
As he wished the National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, a happy birthday, Father Campbell noted that the imam is another notable Muslim who has given him a deeper perspective of how Christians and Muslims can coexist peacefully.
He recounted what he described as an unforgettable experience when the Chief Imam visited Christ the King in 2019 to mark his 100th birthday.
“I always remember two years ago when the Chief Imam came to Christ the King Catholic Church. We prayed together and thanked God for the gift of his life for a hundred years.
“A day that was a historic visit. And I was very privileged to be the priest overseeing the Mass that particular day. That‘s one of the highlights of my stay here in Ghana, when the Chief Imam came to visit me on his 100th birthday.
“It got me thinking about the similarities between the Catholic Church and Muslims.”
Father Campbell maintained that Muslims and Christians have much in common and urged followers of the two main faith groups in Ghana to unite and do more for humanity.
“We have many things in common, so let us unite in our faith. Let us unite in sharing, caring; in protecting families; in taking care of the poor and the needy; and in respecting one another.”