On Sundays in the Ghanaian city of Cape Coast, the pews in Roman Catholic churches do something most Americans would find surprising. They fill up. 

Unlike the typical 45-minute Mass in the United States, these services are two and a half hours long, but that’s what churchgoers come for. Those who show up late will find a few plastic chairs arranged outside. Better luck next week. 

The West Coast of Africa is one of the only places in the world where Catholicism is growing. Since 2005, the number of Catholics on the African continent has grown by more than 20% and it is expected to continue at that pace for the next decade.

So it’s no surprise, really, that the cardinal from Ghana, Cardinal Peter Turkson, was discussed as a likely candidate for pope in the early days after Pope Benedict announced he was stepping down. It now seems he is a long shot, but there are still plenty of people pulling for him here. There are also plenty of priests. In fact, seminaries here are producing so many priests, they often move to Europe to fill a growing shortage.