Catholic Free Press

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African Ministry hosts Mass

Posted By July 2, 2017 | 4:59 pm | Lead Story #3
Stanley Gacheru and Mark Bibiu bring Bishop McManus the collection basket at Sunday’s African Mass. 
Photos by Michael Kwarteng
Stanley Gacheru and Mark Bibiu bring Bishop McManus the collection basket at Sunday’s African Mass. Photos by Michael Kwarteng

By Paul Awortwi-Mensah
WORCESTER – A call for Christians to activate their faith, not their fears, was issued at the annual African Catholic Ministry Mass with Bishop McManus, held June 25 at St. Paul Cathedral.
The Mass brought together more than 200  immigrants from different African countries, who worship in various parishes in the diocese.
Worshippers, many wearing traditional dress, prayed, sang, clapped their hands and danced to the glory of God. Traditional choirs from St. Joan of Arc Parish and St. Andrew the Apostle, a mission of St. Peter Parish, led soul-inspiring songs in Latin and African languages, adding color to the Mass. Prayers were said in dialects from different African countries.
Bishop McManus commended Father Eric K. Asante, outgoing chaplain of the African Ministry, for his leadership and dedication. Other priests who concelebrated included Msgr. Robert K. Johnson, St. Paul’s rector; Msgr. Francis J. Scollen, St. Peter’s pastor; Father Edward C. Niccolls, pastor of St. George Parish; Father Patrick Ssekyole, incoming pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Templeton and St. Martin Mission in Otter River; Assumptionist Father Simon Niuguna, who serves at St. Anne and St. Patrick Parish in Sturbridge, and Father John Boadi, a Comboni Missionary who was visiting. Deacon Anthony J. Xatse assisted.
“Although we come from different countries in Africa, we share the same faith in God and in the Church,” said Father Asante, a Ghanaian, who preached.
He called for activating one’s faith in God, not one’s fears, and said if Christians do that, whatever they ask of God will be fulfilled.
He used Scriptures to support his assertion that having faith in God and doing works of charity will bring salvation.
He admonished listeners not to let their fears hold them down, and quoted Psalm 27:1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”
Simply calling yourself a priest or a Christian will not take you to heaven, he said. He urged listeners to strive to live a holy life worthy of emulation, so as to bring peace to the world and inherit the kingdom of God.
IMG_2939Afterwards, Nicholas Obeng, president of the Ghanaian Catholic Community at St. Joan of Arc said there are many Catholic immigrants in Worcester County who have stopped practicing their faith. He urged members of the various parishes to try to bring the faith to the doorsteps of their neighbors and invite those who have been absent to come back to the Catholic faith.