The connection between the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga in Ghana comes in the form of four priests who studied here and are now serving in their homeland.
The four priests – Fathers Kevin Abakisi, Robert Abotezabire, Peter Akudugu and Albert Wugaa – were ordained Dec. 1, 2012. They completed their formation at the St. Paul Seminary and served at parishes in the archdiocese during that time.
They built strong relationships here, which led some of their seminary classmates to travel to Ghana for their ordination. The new priests are excited about the chance to serve their diocese, and hope more young men will follow in their footsteps.
“There are some remote parts of the diocese that are still waiting to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ,” said Father Akudugu, one of the four priests who studied here. “We need priests, and we need to sustain the few that we have. We are also a mosaic diocese, endowed with many cultural and linguistic varieties – a challenging and exciting experience of working and witnessing together as a family of God.”
The diocese relies on funds from the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, which are used for evangelization, formation and training of pastoral care ministers and basic services in the communities like water, schools and health centers.
“The needs of the diocese can be summarized into three main areas – faith formation of pastoral agents, health and education,” Father Akudugu said. “We also ask Catholics to sustain the efforts – with their material support – of those who labor day and night in the remote villages, sometimes under trying conditions.”
In one instance, a priest on a motorbike brought pastoral care to a woman about to give birth. Two doctors were having a disgreement about whether or not the mother should undergo a Caesarean Section to deliver her baby.
Father Joseph Tabase arrived on his motorbike and prayed with the woman while blessing her with holy water. She ended up having the C-Section and delivered a baby boy.
“The mother believes strongly that the timely arrival of the priest with blessings from God saved the situation,” Father Akudugu said. “She was so touched by the fact that the priest was there when she needed him.”
A sign of hope for the diocese is the number of youth in the Church. Father Akudugu said the 45 percent of the people in the pews are children.
“They are a special gift of God to the Church at this time,” he said. “They are eager to learn about the faith and are looking for direction and light from the Church, which we are trying to provide with adequate programs.
“The diocese has potential, and hope for the future is bright, given the vibrancy of the youth. When these are properly harnessed, we have a bright future as a faith commiunity.”
Category: World Mission Sunday