The SMA team in Ghana held their Regional Assembly from 25 – 28 February last. It was an opportunity for the 17 SMA priests and 4 Lay missionaries to meet together, exchange on their different ministries and plan for the future. It was also an opportunity to socialise and strengthen their bonds of friendship. The SMA team in Ghana is led by its Regional Superior, Fr James Owusu-Yeboah.
Read a brief resumé of the SMA and Ghana.
Fr Nelson Adjei-Bediako, Superior of the Gulf of Guinea DF and Fr Loic de la Monneraye, Coordinator of DCC, were special guests at the Assembly.
The DCC is a French Catholic Church based NGO which trains volunteers who want to spend some time in the developing world. They are part of the Mission Outreach of the French Church. In any one year they have more than 500 volunteers in some sixty countries. A former SMA Superior General, Fr Joseph Hardy, was the head of the DCC for many years.
According to Fr James the progress and the development of the Region will be built on the cooperation among all the members. The Region faces many challenges, but is slowly oversoming them. After several false starts the construction of a new Regional House is well-advanced at Ofankor-Accra. It is hoped that it will be roofed by the end of March 2013.
As is his responsibility, the Regional has visited the members on the ground in their various placements and missions.
New Members to the Region:
4 Priests have arrived or will arrive shortly in the Region: Thomas Mivodjoh (from the Benin Republic), Augustin Kassa (Togo), Jonathan Malong (Nigeria) and Fr Roy Marana (Philippines).
1 Lay Missionary has also arrived: Clarinha Des Anges from France who will work in the Hope for Life project in Accra. Some of the other lay missionaries (from France and the USA) may complete their assignments during 2013 and return to their countries of origin. The funding of their work is a heavy cost on the Region and we will be unable to meet it in the coming years. This is a further challenge we are facing. The Region has quite a number of plots of land in various locations.
At present there are 17 priests and 4 Lay missionaries in the Region. They are assigned in the following locations:
Regional Headquarters, Winneba
SMA House of Formation, Sowutuom, Accra – Fr Joseph Domfe (Superior) assisted by Fr Hyacinthe. Newly-arrived Fr Roy Marana will join the formation team.
ECO / JPIC (Environmental Concern Office), Winneba. Newly-arrived Fr Thomas Mivodjoh will work in this Office and also serve as Guestmaster at the Regional Headquarters pro-tem. He will eventually go to the Winneba parish team.
Parishes / Pastoral projects – urban areas
Queen Of Peace, Madina, Accra Archdiocese – a new outstation was opened recently (Our Lady of Apostles). Newly-arrived Fr Augistin Kassa will work in this parish.
St Paul’s SMA Parish & school, Adukrom, Kumasi Archdiocese. Newly-arrived Fr Jonathan Malong will be assigned to this parish.
Special Needs Project – Hope for Life – Accra Archdiocese
Medical apostolate, Budunburam Liberian Refugee Camp, near Winneba
Street children apostolate, Kumasi Archdiocese.
Parishes / pastoral projects – rural areas
Oku-Babaso Mission – Primary evangelization (Afram Plains)
Obuasi Mission, Kaniago
At the opening Mass for the 2013 Regional Assembly the Principal Celebrant was the Bishop of Goaso, Most Rev Peter Attuahene. The Bishop thanked the SMA for our leadership role in initiating the Goaso Diocese and being the pioneers in its development. He invited the SMA to return again to the Diocese.
It is expected that the SMA sign contracts with each diocese where SMA members work. Ghana is no different than many other Regions where there are still some Contracts waiting to be signed. However, this does not hamper the effective work of our missionaries or cooperation with the Local Ordinary. The Archbishop of Cape Coast wants the Society to establish another parish – at Kasoa-Accra Extension.
In the Afram Plains the expansion of the Poultry Farm was completed and we are now selling the poultry. The Teak Plantation is still in preparation. The short-term projects – Yam and Maize farms – will soon be ready for harvesting. The income from these projects helps the Region to fund some of its mission projects, thus lessening their dependance on outside funding (from other units of the SMA as well as funding agencies).
Vocations / Formation
In 2013 the Gulf of Guinea District-in-formation, of which Ghana is part, will celebrate the Priestly ordination of two Ghanaian members: Revv Anthony Dampson andf Dennis Etti Senyo. It is hoped that this will take place in August in the Cathedral in Accra.
Student numbers: In total we have 24 students in the Preparatory and Philosophy cycles of our formation in Ghana.
The SMA Family Movement is growing and we hope that its spiritual and financial support will be an additional help to the development of the Ghana Region. Other income-geenrating projects, as well as the farming projects already mentioned above are the Perpetual Mass and Christmas cards.
The Region also has its two annual Collections: on 25 June (anniversary of the death of the SMA founder) and 8 December (anniversary of the foundation of the Society). The income from these two collections are growing steadily each year.
There are 5 Stagiaires in the Region for 2012 / 2013 Pastoral Year. Two are assigned to the Madina parish; two to the Afram Plains proejct and one is in Kumasi.
(The above article was compiled by the SMA Communications Director from the Report presented to the 2013 Regional Assembly by Fr James Owusu-Yeboah. We are grateful for Fr James’ assistance in compiling this article).