Aug 18, 2010

Ordination of 5 SVDs in Ghana

On Saturday, 7 August, 5 young SVD missionaries from Ghana have been ordained priests in St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Church in Abeka, Accra.  I was honoured to be a presiding bishop to ordain these 5 young men.  During 4-hour long celebration under mild Sunshine of rainy season in Ghana, (from left to right in the photo above) Fr. Hans Gerber Agbenafa, Fr. Elrom Akpatsa, Fr. Francis Dolagbenu, Fr. Martin Dumas and Fr. Peter Kabutey presented themselves with their respective parents as candidates for priesthood in front of more than 70 concelebrating priests and big crowd of Catholic faithful from all over Ghana.

I was particularly happy to ordain one of them, Fr. Martin Dumas whom I had known as a small alter boy in my parish in Osonson since 23 years ago.  When I was appointed to Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Osonson, Upper Krobo in June 1987 as a priest-in-charge, Fr.Dumas was a 10-year old boy whose native name is Akwetey.  A son of Mr. Kwesi Dumas, faithful Catechist of Osonson, Martin was a member of the Knights of Alter boys in Osonson.   Though the most alter boys did speak quite good English, which made me easy to communicate with them, Martin, though he was one of the youngest, was particularly good in English.  Therefore I used to call him a lot to help me.  I still remember Martin and I tried to plant a lot of trees around the mission house in Osonson.  You may see the results of the planting exercise as small forest surrounding the mission house today.

Many of the alter boys joined the seminary later from Osonson but only Martin made it through.  Though I expected many more priests from Osonson, I am not disappointed as such since many of the former alter boys are now doing well in different fields in the society.  Some are teachers, businessmen, police, government officials etc..  God has unique way to call people to be a part of his own plan.  The vocation is not only for the call to be a priest.  Each one has his or her own call by God to be somebody and as they are somebody in the society, I am happy.

Out of these 5 newly ordained, only one, Fr.Kabutey has been appointed to Ghana province.  Fr.Agbenafa is for Venezuela, Fr. Akpatsa for Philippines, and Fr. Dolagbenu is for Ecuador.  Then Fr. Martin Dumas has been appointed to Japan province.   He may join the Japan province of the Society of the Divine Word as soon as next January.