This year's Lent has special significance because Ash Wednesday, March 6, marks the celebration of Ghana's 62nd anniversary of independence, said the Ghana Bishops' Conference.

"We consider this occurrence not just as a mere coincidence or accident of history, but a special moment of grace intended by God as an occasion for sober reflection on our lives as Christians and our contributions to Ghana as citizens of this dear nation of ours," the bishops said.

It is also "a true moment of grace for our church and our nation to pray together in gratitude to God and to seek God's blessings in the days ahead," the bishops said in a Lenten message issued March 2.

They set aside March 3-10 as the Week of Peace and Reconciliation, a period to pray for God's favor on Ghana.

As the nation celebrates its independence, "We cannot but continue to thank God for the peace and stability we enjoy and the significant gains we are making toward economic development and prosperity."

Ghana declared independence from Great Britain in 1957.