When my wife Kathy, I, and our four boys returned to Cincinnati after our Maryknoll lay mission assignment in South America, we were blessed to meet Fr. Paul Reling. He had recently returned from Ghana, West Africa, as a spiritual counselor at a seminary there. Fr. Paul invited me and other parishioners to meet his friends in Ghana. It was a simple invitation that would lead to more trips and friendships with Ghanaians also living in Cincinnati.
Sadly, Fr. Paul died of cancer, but we were determined to keep these relationships alive and so invited local African American Catholics to join us on our trips. I believe it was through Fr. Paul’s intercession these past dozen years that we have now made five more excursions to the diocese of Goaso. In the process, many more nurturing spirit-filled friendships have blossomed.
Our visit to Ghana
During our most recent visit this September 2023, we were overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit’s joy: we danced at a Catholic girls’ high school celebration, participated in a huge outdoor ordination Mass, took part in a village leaders’ induction ceremony of our Deacon Royce Winters, attended Mass with some amazing seminarians, attended a JOY- FILLED Confirmation service with college students, and much more. Our hearts and souls were on fire with enthusiasm, thanks to the Spirit alive in our Ghanaian fellow Catholics.
Our Cincinnati Mission Office Administrative Assistant, Melonise Knight, who has been on three previous solidarity journeys to Ghana, shares this reflection about the impact TPMS has on this mission diocese of Goaso. “My reflection is about the constant financial challenges the people of Diocese of Goaso must face. Yet they are determined to bring good out of it. While traveling with Bishop Peter Atuahene, I learned more details about their church and community projects that have been started and still need to be completed. I also became aware that they receive smaller amounts of financial help, since World Mission Sunday collections are down everywhere. Their diocese is down from receiving in the mid $30k to the lower $20k annually.”
“As I look at this photo below, I have heartfelt memories about where and when our friendships all began about a decade ago. Bishop Peter walked us through the grass and mud/dirt to see the place where a seminary would be built. All you could see was a large plot of red dirt that had been dug by hand for the foundation. I was looking around because I just had to have a rock from this location for memories. And yes, I found my rock and it sits on my shelf for reminders of the once empty field. But for me to see how far this building has come, is simply amazing, even if what seems like a small contribution from our Mission Office and TPMS support.”
Thank you, Fr. Paul for your past promotion of TPMS and your mission spirit that continues in us today.
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