The government is set to airlift Christian pilgrims from Ghana to Israel and other parts of the Christian world on an annual basis, beginning with about 100 persons.
Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, made the announcement at a press conference yesterday in Accra.According to him, the ministry has set up two separate committees namely, Planning and Screening Committees, to oversee the operations of Christian pilgrimage in the country.
“Let me assure you that we intend to have an eventful pilgrimage. In view of this, the ministry has set up two sub-committees which are the Planning and Screening Committees which are composed of members of recognized Christian bodies,” he said.
He explained that government was in talks with the state of Israel to ensure that a special quota is given to Ghanaian pilgrims.
“Once the initial programme is successful in accordance with the key indicators, the Republic of Ghana shall be given a quota for subsequent pilgrimages. It is necessary that we secure an understanding of the quotas,” the minister stated.
He indicated that “…the initial and agreed fee for the pilgrimage per person is $2,700,” cautioning interested pilgrims not to make payment to any individual or organization except the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs.
On the highlights of the programme for the pilgrimage, the minister disclosed that there would be daily prayers and meditation at important and significant sites mentioned in the Bible, boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, worship on MT Camel, the mountain of the prophet Elijah, renewal of wedding promises in the Church of the Miracle of Cana.
Also, the minister said there would be “prayer at the Western Wall of the Temple of Jerusalem, visit to the Nativity Church of Bethlehem, renewal of baptismal promises in the river Jordan, ceremony of the awarding of Jerusalem Pilgrim Certificate.”
Mr. Kofi Dzamesi pointed out, “The pilgrimage programme of the ministry is not to the State of Israel only, but would cover countries where Christian pilgrimages are undertaken.”
Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid, said the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs would ensure that the pilgrimage was undertaken in an organized and systematic manner.
General Overseer of the Glorious Word Power Ministry, Rev. Isaac Owusu Bempah, speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the press conference, praised the government for introducing the organized and systemized pilgrimage initiative.
He noted that the amount being requested by the government would cover plane tickets, hotel bills, food, drinks and bus fares of pilgrims.
By: Bridget Boateng & Melvin Tarlue/Daily Guide