The pilgrimage started with a retreat on 11th January 2019 at the Elizabeth Frances Sey hall of the University of Ghana. Out of 71 pilgrims expected, about 30 reported on the first day. However not all stayed at the camp.
After supper, the chairperson of the Ghana Catholic Youth Council (GHANCYC), Mrs. Joyce Osei Bonsu, welcomed the team after which the GHANCYC treasurer (Mr. Charles Mark Odoi) briefly went over some points relating to the retreat and other travel preparations. Pilgrims introduced themselves. Committees were formed to assist with smooth functioning of retreat proceedings. These were: food, secretariat and liturgical. A time keeper was also appointed to help with time consciousness.
On Saturday morning, about 20 pilgrims undertook a rosary procession from the hall to the Divine Mercy Catholic Church. At the church, there was a recollection led by Rev. Fr. Davis on the theme for the WYD. Luke 1:38 “Here I am the servant of the LORD let it be done into me according to your word.” He entreated pilgrims to say yes to God as Mary did and once they did, they should continue to say yes without ever turning back. He reminded pilgrims that holiness is about selflessness. After the recollection, there was a time for personal reflection and confession followed by mass. The team them returned to the hall for lunch and siesta.
The next stage of the programme started with a message for the pilgrims from Archbishop Palmer-Buckle who called on pilgrims to be worthy ambassadors of Ghana during the WYD. He challenged them mentor more youth on their return to also participate in the WYD. He also touched on being security conscious.
Dr. Christine Mensah, a medical practitioner gave a talk on the health and some general aspects of travelling. She touched on some points such as: always remembering that you’re part of a team, participating in all activities, being security conscious, not behaving in a way as to put the team in trouble and taking care of yourself. She reminded pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Ghana and to immerse themselves fully in the programme so as to derive the requisite benefits.
After supper, Charles Mark Odoi took pilgrims through the specific programme for the WYD, the flight itinerary and provided other needed information for the journey.
On Sunday, the pilgrims joined the community at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic church in Legon for mass. Some of the priests who are travelling as pilgrims concelebrated the mass with Rev. Fr. William Abaiku Apprey, the chaplain. During mass, the pilgrims were acknowledged and prayed for. After mass, pilgrims started rehearsals for Catechesis the Ghana team is to animate from 23rd to 25th January 201o during the WYD.
The next activity was lunch followed by siesta. There was also an arrangement for a vendor to come and sell souvenirs to those who had not been able to purchase some. After that, a meeting was held where pilgrims had the opportunity to check their travel documents and were put into groups to aid with information flow and for the distribution of souvenirs. Following that, a group of 8 who were scheduled to leave on Sunday 13th January 2019 left for the airport.