Diasporian News of Monday, 20 August 2012
Source: Paul Awortwi-Mensah
Bishop Robert McManus, has asked Ghanaian Catholics to hold firm to their faith in all their dealings with Jesus Christ.
Bishop McManus, who is the Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts said as Catholics “we need to be steadfast in our faith to gain eternal glory at the end of our journey with Christ”.
Bishop McManus said this when he addressed about 600 Ghanaian Catholics at a two-day inter diocesan retreat and recollection at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Worcester.
The retreat, organized by the Ghanaian Catholic Apostolates’ Laity Council of New York, New Jersey and New England under the theme, “Living Healthy Spiritual Life In The 21st Century”, brought together Ghanaian Catholics from seven apostolates, which constitute the Laity Council.
Participants came from St. Mary's Parish, East Hartford Connecticut in the Archdiocese of Hartford; St. Margaret Mary and Christ the King Parishes both in Bronx, part of the Archdiocese of New York; St. Catherine of Genoa Parish, Brooklyn and St. Benedict the Moor Parish, Queens both in the Diocese of Brooklyn - Queens, St. Mary's Parish, Newark, New Jersey in the Archdiocese of Newark and St. Joan of Arc in Worcester.
The Retreat afforded delegates the opportunity to pray for peace and unity among all Catholics and Ghanaians, as well as sharing in their faith.
Bishop McManus said the Ghanaian Catholics are a treasurer to the Catholic Church in the United States of America and urged participants to pray for the unity of the church and the dioceses that they came from.
“It has been much pleasure for me to ordain a Ghanaian, Eric Asante, as a priest for the diocese of Worcester which is a blessing to the church”, Bishop McManus added.
He, therefore, urged participants not to relent in their faith but to keep on praying for more vocations into the priesthood and other religious life.
Rev. Fr. Anthony Mpagi, Chaplain of the African Catholic Ministry in the Diocese of Worcester stated that seeing the great number of people at the retreat is a sign of the great joy, the great happiness and the great thanksgiving the people have for the church.
He stressed the need for Catholics to continue to support each other and to participate fully in the activities of the church wherever they find themselves.
Rev. Fr. Miguel Pagan, Pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish, in his welcome address, said the Ghanaian Catholic Community is the heart of the St. Joan of Arc Parish.
He commended the leadership of the Community for their foresight in organizing the inter-diocesan retreat and urged other church groups to emulate the example to bring people together in sharing their faith.
In a Eucharistic celebration to crown the occasion, Rev. Fr. Eric Asante urged Catholics to be strong in their faith and not to be bothered by those who accuse them of worshipping the Blessed Virgin Mary.
He explained that “we as Catholics do not worship the Blessed Virgin Mary but pray through her and ask her to intercede for us”.
Nicholas Obeng President of the Ghanaian Catholic Community at the St. Joan of Arc Parish, Worcester, said this was the sixth time such a retreat had been organized by the Laity Council, adding that the Ghanaian Catholic Community in Worcester has hosted three out of the six.
He expressed his appreciation to Bishop McManus for being present to address the participants, pointing out that this is the first time that any bishop has ever addressed participants at any of the retreats.
Mr. Obeng stressed that this shows how the Community has grown over the years and the commitment members of the Community have in ensuring their spiritual development.
Present at the retreat/convention were Rev. Frs. John Kyere, Martin Asiedu-Peprah, Peter Dery, Augustine Agyei-Boakye, Monsignor Dr. Stephen Ntim and Deacons Anthony Xatse and Teddy Agyei-Kensah.
Awards were presented to twelve founding members and other people for their strong commitment and dedication to the growth and development of the Council. They included Teddy Agyei-Kensah, Anthony Boadu, Ambrose Amoakoh, Andrew Dormaah, Kwame Adu-Sarpong and Innocentia Ankamah. The rest were Kwadwo Opoku-Duro, Francis Baidoo, Joseph Amoh, Pius Wiafe-Akenteng, Kwadwo Swanzie-Yamson and Paul Awortwi-Mensah.