Bishop Bambera visits Sunyani, Ghana
Report: Rev. Fr. Benedict Kwabena Badu
(Bishop’s Secretary, CDS)
Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani, on Friday, August 12, 2022 welcomed Most Rev. Joseph Charles Bambera, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Scranton in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. to Sunyani in Ghana West Africa.
The Bishop was accompanied by Very Rev. Fr. Gerald Shantillo, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Scranton and Rev. Fr. Brian Clarke, the Director of the Pontifical Mission Society (PMS) for the Diocese of Scranton.
The visit was guaranteed by the long standing relationship between the Diocese of Sunyani and the Diocese of Scranton. The two Bishops and the Dioceses have shared fraternal bonds in the ministry of Christ and in the Divine mandate to go and minster to the whole world. In this common ministry and service to God and humanity, the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani has sent some of her priests to minister in the Diocese of Scranton. Currently, eight priests from the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani and a Religious Sister from the Sisters of the Incarnate Word (SVI), the Diocesan Religious Congregation are in the Diocese of Scranton.
The visit of Bishop Bambera met with the Diocese’s Annual Pilgrimage to Grotto. Arriving in Sunyani, on Friday August 12, Bishop Bambera and his priests on Saturday, August 14, were pleased to join the Christi fidelis at the Mary, Queen of Peace Grotto in Nsoatre, Amanfoso. They were introduced to the entire Congregation by Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi. They were warmly welcomed by the entire Diocese.
Later in the day, the Bishops, Fathers Shantillo and Clarke joined the pilgrims in the Marian procession with candle lights, praying to seek the unfailing intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On Sunday, August 14, Bishop Joseph Charles Bambera presided over the Eucharistic celebration which climaxed the four-day celebration of the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In his homily, he thanked the Bishop of Sunyani, Most Rev. Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi, for the fraternal and missionary support that he extends to the Diocese of Scranton through his priests. Setting the Blessed Virgin Mary as an epitome for Christian living, the Bishop reflected with the faithful of Christ on how their lives can become meaningful when looked from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Bishop Bambera and his two priests were amazed at how the Catholic faithful responded to and demonstrated their faith.
Monday, August 15, 2022:
The Bishops started with their missionary journey on Monday, August 15, 2022 with the celebration of the Eucharist at St. James Minor Seminary/Senior High School with the formators, tutors and over nine hundred (900) students who were currently on campus.
After the celebration of the Mass, the visits were extended to the Pax Garments Limited,
a fashion and designing company situated at the premises of the Catholic Secretariat. From there, the Sisters of the Incarnate Word (SVI) Postulancy welcomed the Bishop and his entourage. Bishop Bambera encouraged the young women and their formators to respond to their vocation with zeal and enthusiasm.
The Car Mechanic and Training Center (CMTC), a center, which like the Pax Garments was established to equip young men and women with labour skills was the next place to be visited. Going further to the Old Catholic Secretariat which now houses the many departmental offices of the Diocese, the Bishop interacted with the workers of BACCSOD and Diocesan Health Services.
Bishop Matthew again led his brother Bishop and his priests to some of the parishes within the Sunyani and Odumase Deaneries. Among the parishes visited were the Sacred Heart Parish in Penkwase and the Holy Spirit Parish in Nkwabeng. At Sacred Heart Parish, the Gilberto Music Academy/Senior High School was not left out. Bishop Bambera prayed the Angelus with the students at midday, interacted with and prayed for them. The Diocesan Pastoral and Retreat Center was not left out.
The day’s visits ended at the Catholic University College of Ghana (CUCG) in Fiapre, Sunyani. Here, the Bishop met with Rev. Fr. Prof. Peter Nkrumah, who was acting in the place of the Vice Chancellor and a section of the University’s Staff.
In the evening of Monday, Bishop Bambera had a dinner with members of the College of Consultors, the Parents and Relatives of the eight Sunyani Diocesan Priests living and working in the Diocese of Scranton. He thanked the parents for having sacrificed their children for the ministry in the Lord’s vineyard. He assured them of his prayers for them and the good care of their children in the United States of America.
Tuesday, August 22, 2022:
The day’s activities commenced with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Novitiate House of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word at Mantukwa. After the Eucharistic celebration, the day’s activities centered around the Wenchi Deanery. Among the places visited were the Badu Parish and Clinic, Subinso Parish and the Subinso Agric. Project, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Wenchi, and the Koase, St. Joseph’s Clinic.
At Badu, led by the Parish Priest of St. Anthony Parish, Rev. Fr. Francis Adu-Poku, the Bishops were led to the New Church Building at Badu, the St. Anthony Clinic and the Sisters of St. Ann Convent which is situated very close to the Clinic.
Leaving Badu to Wenchi, the Our Lady of Fatima Parish was the first parish they went to. Led by the Parish Priest, Rev. Msgr. John Boachie-Gyan, who doubles as the Dean of the Wenchi Deanery, they went to the St. Stephen Parish at Subinso, the St. Stephen’s Preparatory School and the Subinso Farms, which is an Agricultural Project of the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani.
The last place to be visited was the St. Joseph’s Clinic at Koase. Here, the Parish Priest of Koase and his Associate, and some of the hospital staffs met the Bishops. Some on-going projects were inspected and some interactions were held.
Wednesday, August 17 2022:
The day’s missionary journey took Bishops Gyamfi and Bambera to the Kwasibourkrom and Berekum Deaneries.
The St. Mary’s Hospital at Drobo was the first place to be visited. Having been welcomed by Sr. Celestine, the Hospital Admiistrator and some other staff, they were led to see some of the wards in the Hosptial. The visit at the hospital was extended to the St. Mary’s Campus of the Holy Family Nursing and Midwifery Training College.
The Bishops journeyed towards Kwasibourkrom (the hometown of the first Bishop – Most Rev. James Kwadwo Owusu). At Kwasibourkrom, some of the places visited were the Our Lady of Providence Girls Senior High School, the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish and the Vocational and Technical Training Institute where the first Church building in which one of the earliest recorded baptisms in the Diocese took place is situated. Bishop Owusu, it is recorded, was among those baptized here.
From there, they proceeded to the Holy Family Hospital and Training College having gone through the St. Theresa of Avila Parish, the oldest parish in the Diocese. At the Hospital, they met with the hospital chaplain and some of the hospital staff. At the Training College, they were welcomed by the Principal – Mrs. Monica Nkrumah who took them around the campus.
The day’s activities were crowned with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Christ the King Cathedral. In great attendance were the young men and women from all walks of the Diocese.
In his homily, Bishop Bambera thanked Bishop Matthew and the entire Diocese for welcoming him and his priests to the Diocese of Sunyani. He extended to the young men and women of the Sunyani, warm greetings from the young men and women from the Diocese of Scranton. He shared some of experiences he has had with the youth of his Diocese since he became the Bishop. He mentioned that young people are the future of the Church; but most importantly, they are the now of the Church. He challenged the young people to always ask themselves about how they can leave a good mark in the world. “Each one of us must leave a good mark so that the world will one day know that you once passed through it.”
Going into the readings of the day, he said that the task of shepherding is not only reserved for Bishops and priests; but for all the baptized. Shepherding in the spirit of Christ is not about prestige, but service. He said that looking at the faithful in the Diocese of Sunyani, he sees faithful shepherds and again looking at the young people of Sunyani, he sees that the Church has a reason to hope.
Having encouraged the youth to listen to the voice of God within them so that they can faithfully respond to the call of God, he said to them that the world is counting on them and they must show by their example that they are disciples of Christ.
The young men and women in the Sunyani Diocese, after the Eucharistic celebration expressed their deep sentiments of appreciation to Bishop Bambera and Fathers Shantillo and Clarke for spending time with them.