History of The Ghanaian Catholic Community
Like all new organizations, the Ghanaian Catholic Community started in a small way. It started with a group of six people on Pentecost day 2000. Prior to that a few Roman Catholics in Berlin have been making efforts to organise themselves so that they can attend Mass in a language they better understand. Most people have difficulty understanding the sermon in German when they go to church on Sundays. To enable them participate fully in the Eucharist on Sundays they have been nursing this idea of gathering their likes so as to form a group.
The problem was where to meet when the number became considerable. Like Jesus told us, wherever two or three meet in my name I am among you. They did not give up seeking. Again we remember the words of Jesus as He said: “Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto thee, ask and it shall be rendered unto thee”.
They sought and they found. On the 11th June 2000 some Ghanaian Catholics, after attending Mass at St. Matthias Kirche at Winterfeldtplatz in Berlin, met Rev. Fr. Josef Rohrmayer (Fr. Joe as we popularly call him) and discussed the possibility of celebrating Mass for Ghanaians. Fr. Joe had served in Ghana for over 30 years as a missionary and knew the country well. He agreed. Then on Sunday, 2nd July 2000, the first Mass was celebrated in the Afrika Center for about six people.
These included Mr. Henry Boachie-Yiadom, Mrs. Georgina Boachie-Yiadom, Mr. Petrus Boakye-Yiadom, Mrs. Eunice Boakye-Yiadom, Mr. Mike Boadi, Mr. Emmanuel Opoku-Boadi and Mrs. Monica Serwaa-Hübler. That marked the birth of the Ghanaian Catholic Community, Berlin. Every Sunday mass was held at the Africa Centre and the number increased steadily. With the physical and hopefully the spiritual growth of the group it became necessary to organize the congregation. A group of Community elders was selected to attend to the organization of the affairs of the community.
These elders or executive meet on regular basis to discuss problems and plan activities of the community. There is constant consultation between chaplain, executive and church members. Apart from the weekly Sunday services there are various other activities which are organized throughout the year. The church choir which was formed shortly after the community started meets every Saturday at the Africa Centre to practice and rehearse. The choir has been invited to number of places both Catholic and ecumenical to contribute music and hymns.
Non Catholics have invited the choir to weddings to grace the occasion. Donations of various types have been made to the choir on these occasions. Currently our membership has risen from the original six to well over 100 members. Some members of the Community have formed themselves into various other groups depending on their affiliations in the Catholic Church. The St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Women’s Association is quite an attraction in the Church for our female members. Recently the Christian Mothers’ Association has also been formed to give the other female members another platform to express their love of God and service to society. . It is also attracting a lot of members. The men have formed the Men’s Fellowship which is the male counterpart of the St. Theresa and Christian Mothers’ associations. The youth have not been left out and the Youth movement has been established to help the youth in their proper orientation in serving God and managing their future
The Community organizes an annual harvest thanksgiving usually in October. The proceeds of these harvest celebrations are sent to Ghana to support projects or charitable organizations. The harvest which is quite an interesting occasion helps the community generate funds to run properly. The disbursement of funds is the duty of the executive. Members are informed bi-annually of the financial and other activities of the community. At such meetings members bring in their views and suggestions as to how best to move forward together. Every three months or thereabouts a priest is invited from Ghana to celebrate with us. This keeps us abreast with church activities in Ghana so that we do not lose touch.
Once in a while there is a common celebration with the German congregation like on Misereor Sunday in Lent, Holy Thursday, World Mission Sunday and Christmas, so that the interaction between Germans and Ghanaians is also not lost.