Keynote address by Rev Fr Bro David Ankrah at south Volta Regional conference
IDENTIFY THE ROLE AND THE RELEVANCE OF THE NOBLE ORDER IN THE NEW EVANGELISATION OF THE CONTEMPORARY CHURCH OF GHANA
I would like to express my greatest appreciation to the organisers of this conference on the confidence repose on me to nominate me to deliver the keynote address at this year’s Regional Conference on the above theme. However I must point out immediately that after a careful consideration of the theme I nearly decline owing to the two concepts “role” and “relevance” that are integral part of the theme. I believe they are more sociological and philosophical and I might be tempted to be more academically than the pastoral. Again, I was given a theme and not a topic to speak on. This has given me more room to manipulate to suit our pastoral concerns which we are gathered here. After a careful consideration of the theme and its two important concepts of the theme I would like to proceed with the definition of these concepts. This will help us to underpin what I would like to say.
I will be very brief in the sense that I will not take much of your time. Because most of us have listened to these topics more than necessary. But in the event that I am going to much kindly prompt me.
Definition of the terms
The Concept of Role
Substantial debate exists in the field studies over the meaning of the “role” in role theory.
- A role can be defined as a social position, behaviour associated with a social position, or a typical behaviour. For example a behaviour associated with being a Knight or a Lady in the noble order.
- Some theorists have put forward the idea that roles are essentially expectations about how an individual ought to behave in a given situation, while others consider it as how individuals actually behave in a given social position. Eg. Marshallans
- Others have suggested that a role is a characteristic behaviour or expected behaviour, a part to be played, or a script for social conduct. Eg. One conduct vis-à-vis the Noble order and New Evangelisation.
In sociology there are different categories of social roles:
- cultural roles: roles given by culture: e.g. priest, father, mother
Cultural roles are seen as matter of course and are mostly stable. In cultural changes new roles can develop and old roles can disappear – the roles from the inception of the knighthood in the church have evolved over the years. What pertains to the Knight of Templars cannot be relevant in our time.
- social differentiation: e.g. banker, teacher
Social differentiation got a lot of attention due to the development of different job roles. For example, a Grand Knight/Noble Lady has to develop his own Christian/ social/ leader roles facing the expectations of his team members and Immediate supervisors – this is an interpersonal role conflict. He also has to arrange his different social roles as father, husband, club member – this is an intrapersonal role conflict.
- Situation-specific roles
Situation-specific roles develop ad hoc in a given social situation. Nevertheless the expectations and norms are predetermined by the social role.
In their life people have to face different Christian and social roles, sometimes they have to face different roles at the same time in different social and cultural situations. There is an evolution of social roles: some disappear and some new develop.
Again on the other hand, the central weakness of our roles as knights or ladies is the conflict we got ourselves entangled when we are not able to align carefully our Christian and social roles. With this we land ourselves in roles conflict. I think the organisers have chosen this theme because they have realised that most of us find ourselves in this situation
Role conflict is a conflict among the roles corresponding to two or more statuses, for example, teenagers who have to deal with pregnancy (statuses: teenager, mother).
The Concept of Relevance
Relevance is the concept of being connected to another thing or being in a way that makes it useful to consider the first thing when considering the second. The concept of relevance is studied in many different fields of study Different theories of knowledge have different implications for what is considered relevant and these fundamental views have implications for all other fields as well.
This means that when we are relevant we need to connect to Christ and its injunction simply captured in Mathew 28:19-20
“Something (A) is relevant to a task (T) if it increases the likelihood of accomplishing the goal (G), which is implied by T.” A Knight or a lady of the Noble Order might be relevant if he or she is connected to goals and aspiration of the Knighthood and the motto of the Order which UNITY, SERVICE FRATERNITY. This send us directly to who is member of the Noble Order.
Who is a Knights?
Basically, a knight is a professional soldier. A very short history of the Orders of knighthood will enlighten us on the purpose of our discussion today. The Orders of knighthood origins are in the Crusades. In the Latin Orient, a new institution emerged in which professional soldiers (knights) associated themselves under a strict quasi-monastic rule of life in the Middle Ages. The purpose of this strict rule of life was for protecting pilgrims and defending Christian conquests in the Holy Land. The loss of the Holy Land left the original military-monastic orders searching for a new mission in the 14th century. Kings began creating orders of their own. These orders were modelled in part on these original orders, but with a different purpose. The different purpose was to bind their nobility to themselves. In the late 16th century, these monarchical orders were imitated in form by the new orders of merit. The new orders became common throughout Europe.
The term “order of knighthood” has been passed on and is now used for modern awards and decorations because each institution tried to use the prestige of the previous one by imitating it. These modern awards and decorations are neither orders nor composed of knights. Only a very few orders survive from the times of the Crusades in modern society, and most “orders of knighthood” that are awarded by sovereigns or governments (such as the English Garter or the Spanish Golden Fleece), despite their historical connection, are awards of merit.
The Noble Order of Marshall was created base on the idea of Christian crusade of the mission land of Ghana. Someone might ask whether this crusade is still relevant in the 21st century Ghana. I can assure you the crusade has taken a new dimension.
- Our political situation in Ghana
- The advent of same sex relationship
- Break down of family life
- Corruption at the highest
As the knighthood has evolved over the years so it is still evolving in our time to match the new trend of the Evangelisation. It is very sad to mention that most of us don’t know why we have joined the order. If we were to have time I would have done some kind of exercises among us right here. You would have realised that our individual focuses for joining the Knight and Ladies of Marshall are miles apart and this has direct influence on our team spirit and our roles and relevance as members of the catholic fraternity.
We can say conveniently that we are soldiers. Not soldiers in the sense of the word as the modern world may consider but soldiers of God. However, we must know that God does not need any of us to defend Him. But being a mounted soldier or a knight in the Middle Ages was expensive, since it required enough courage, valour and income to sustain a horse and the equipment (armor, weapons) to go with it. Thus, those who were too poor to provide this service became mere peasants, attached to the land in the middle age. Transferring this same notion to our setting today, most of us have erroneous idea about the Knight and Ladies of Marshall. Being a member of this noble order is very expensive. It entails sacrificing our time, our resources and our humanness for Christ.
What is the New Evangelisation?
The new evangelisation is no longer carrying Bible from place to place to preach of discuss with people. Rather it is living Christ in the simplest way captured in Mathew 25. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers
However this role of a Marshallan must go with certain qualities. We must know that as marshallans we are leaders. This qualities goes with leadership roles which we are enjoined to be.
The Noble Order and Christ should be a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behaviour a key value, your team will follow suit.
- Ability to Communicate Christ
Being able to clearly and succinctly describe Christ in both your verbal and none verbal attitude.
There may be days where there will be setbacks. Keep up your confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal that is Christ. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, you will help keep the team feeling the same. Remember, your team will take cues from you.
Being committed to God and your roles as a Marshallan.
- Positive Attitude
- Being prayerful person
- Ability to Inspire
The Heartbeat of a knight or a lady of the noble order in the new evangelisation lie in the ability to interpret effectively the motto of the Knight and Ladies of Marshall. To do this effectively we need to consider the following
- The Heartbeat of the Noble Order is Service.
Service to the Christ, to the Clergy and the Laity
- The Noble Order must Supports the Catholic Church
Every kind of support to the Church
- The Noble Order must be a crusader for Pro-Family.
Fight positively against same sex marriage, contraceptive and anything that interfere with creation of new life
- The Must be Faithful to the Catholic Church
Be obedient to the teachings of the Church, its Bishops and Priests, and showing fidelity to the See of Peter. As faithful Catholics, the Knights foster and develop Vocations to the Priesthood, Religious Life, and Holy Matrimony. Standing with the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus also fight for Religious Liberty, which is being threatened here in the United States, but across the globe still to this day.