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Opinions Sun, 8 Dec 2013

Tribute—Very Rev. Fr. Martin Wels, SVD

IN MEMORIAM-

Tribute—Very Rev. Fr. Martin Wels, SVD

In my early days’ association with Christ the King Parish, I came to enjoy the greatness of my Catholic faith and my membership of the Catholic Church under the direction and guidance of Father Wels and his parochial assistant Rev. Fr. Schneider.

First my Father in-law had almost come to the end of the road of his earthly journey and was bidding farewell to all the loved ones at the Korle Bu Hospital. When we called on him to visit Daddy and usher him to his Maker, he readily obliged, entered our vehicle and asked us all to say the Rosary from the Christ the King church all the way to Korle Bu. At the end of our prayers and his blessing, he advised us to call on Very Rev. Fr. Quaye, then at Mamprobi, Martyrs of Uganda with oversight responsibility of KorleBu to continue with the visitations. They made my Catholic faith stronger and more beautiful.

Then came the blessing of the new home my wife had put up. When we approached him again, he willingly obliged, and with little Raphael carrying the holy water, every corner of the house and site was blessed.

Next was Fr. Wels ’adverse attitude to too many ‘taxations’ of the parishioners. He felt one contribution on Sunday was enough pressure on the finances of the parishioners. He would advise us ahead of time to prepare a more generous single offertory than normal so that he would deduct a per cent age for whatever occasion that needed our financial help. This went well with all of us and made Father happy.

Again, people who were mental and others who were physically challenged ‘raided ‘the mission especially after mass (I am told they were there at different times to eat breakfast, lunch etc.). When some elders of the church reproached him about the raid of these human beings, his reaction was that the expenditure on their welfare came from his personal resources and not that of the parish. In the end he found other parishioners ready to contribute to this exceptional human kindness.

The last of what I recall of him as my pastor was his admonition about the creation of ethnic groupings in the church. In a Sunday homily, he expressed his sadness about this new development and warned that his fear was that members could in future attach more importance to such new groupings and see their membership of them and what the associations stand for, more important, than their membership of their catholic church, and that church events could be secondary in importance to their ethnic groupings, and their importance. The judgment here is for all in ethnic groupings in the church to pronounce.

Yes the diminutive Fr. Wels was everywhere and ever ready to carry his missionary work to every member of the parish. His was a great journey of love, mercy, and devotion to the Catholic Church. He served it well and brought a great change to many Catholics and Ghanaians including me. Oh how I wished he was still with us, and that his tomb was part and parcel of the Parish complex.

We all miss him and wish that Enoo Mary will pick him up and take care of him.

Fare thee well, Father—Requiescat in pace—Deo Gratias.

Author: e-mail nanabaawiredu@yahoo.com

Columnist: Innocent Samuel Appiah