USA 2019-4th/5th February 2019

USA 2019-4th/5th February 2019

06 February 2019
After supper on Sunday evening, we continued to talk and chat. Some did some more shopping. I packed most of my stuff since I was leaving on Monday evening.
Monday came even before we slept…Lol and soon it was morning. I finished up my packing and brought my bags down. We had breakfast and a time of prayer in the big chapel in the house since we couldn’t have mass; there was a burial service at the church. Denis had left at dawn with a parishioner who was going to Washington since his flight was taking off there.
Soon after, the bus came to take us to town. The plan was to take the ferry to Staten Island and back so we could go back to the Pauline bookshop. We opted for another trip since we wanted to see Lady Liberty and other sites.
So we went on another tour where we had to pay $30 per person (minus food). They provided a bus to take us to where the boat was. Then we had to wait forever for the boat to return from the tour. And then another age for enough people to fill up the boat before we left. It was very annoying. And the tour guide kept reminding everybody that there was food and drink downstairs…as if it was free. Fr. Alphonse arranged for us to get some snacks and drinks. They had hot dogs, empanadas, chicken nuggets, fries etc. And of course drinks! We had fun.
Finally, the tour started. It was amazing! She showed us lots of amazing sites: Governor’s Island, Ellis Island, Wall Street, the Brooklyn bridge, The Statue of Liberty and many others. We took lots of pictures and then… it ended.
We had to wait for the bus to take us back to Battery park. From there, we went to the subway to get a train back. Then finally we got home. It was almost 6. We called my friend Robert who was taking me to the airport. He set off to come and get me. We had a pleasant surprise in the person of Fr. Francis Asagba. It was great meeting him. He worked at Good Shepherd in the early 90s.
Robert came around and we went to the airport. We had a great chat on the way. Thank God for friends!
At the airport, I checked in quickly and went to wait to board. We started boarding at around 8:45pm. The plane left at 9:30 as scheduled. I slept, read changes and watched a movie, Patrick. The meal they served was vegetarian pasta with tomato sauce and something that looked like burnt onions. Oh no! I was really hungry too! But I could barely eat it. So I drew the attention of the stewardessbe assigned to our aisle and she brought me snacks. Those were better. Later we had breakfast. I opted for eggs. That was very edible for me. Finally we landed in Amsterdam. Since I was well dressed, I wasn’t cold. I went to check the boarding gate number and then got a seat there. Later I realized I had misplaced my Ghana branded muffler. I probably left it in the plane.
It was an interesting wait. I used the airport WiFi to check in with the team in the US and made some calls. After about two hours, we boarded. We left a little later than scheduled because of some problems with an engine or so. But finally, we left. I watched Sully and Oceans 8, played solitude, some videos about cities and slept. I was really tired. I had rice and chicken for lunch. As usual, I didn’t eat the salad. Later, we had some pizza. I spoke to the lady next to me. She’s a PhD student from the UK coming to Ghana to do some work on Malaria. It sounds exciting. And then, home! My dad was already at the airport. God bless him! Now I was warm because of the weather but I decided to suck it up coz my bags were full anyway. After check out and getting my luggage, we went home. Thank you God!
We had rice and chicken sauce for supper. And then of course, more hugs and pictures. It was great to have travelled but it was even better to be back home. Thus ended Angela’s WYD diaries.
I’m thankful to all who helped make this journey possible and I pray for God’s blessings on them all. May we always live the words: Here I am the servant the LORD speak your word in me and let your will be done.

USA 2019-2nd-3rd February 2019

USA 2019-2nd-3rd February 2019

03 February 2019

Saturday 3rd February 2019 saw us wake up early to get ready and have breakfast. We didn’t have mass because we had to leave early. Our first stop was the Museum of Natural History. On our way there, we saw a lot of wonderful sights from our cozy seats in the van. The PPC vice chair, Mr. Asiamah, and Fr. Fred went with us.

The Museum is huge!!!!! We met Mr. Acheampong, the parishioner who arranged the excursion for us. God bless him! Our first stop was the “Unseen ocean”. Sublime is the only word to describe it. We saw parts of the world we had never imagined. We even learnt that there’s a mountain higher than Mount Everest in Hawaii. We also learnt that new Islands are being discovered in Hawaii. And we saw a soft robotic landline thing created by one scientist to help other scientists pick things up underwater.

From there we went to watch a movie about animals in the backyard. It basically showed the four seasons, the didferent flora and fauna seen in each season and generally invited viewers to be more aware of the ecosystem and the interactions therein. I loved the touch of a young narrative especially with her ending up as a biologist. To top it all off, we watched the movie with 3D glasses! Talk about cool! Really nice way to market Science! We also passed through the hall of dinosaurs, went to see mammals from Africa and saw a picture of initial meeting of the Europeans and native Americans. The whole place was full of history and it was heartwarming to see the many rooms and halls named after benefactors and the way former employees /directors were honoured with their names on the wall and all.

Mr. Acheampong got us pizza!!!! Dancing a jig already! We ate our pizza in the van. Our next stop was the Pauline Press bookshop in New York. We bought books and other religious items! Yay! From there we came back to have supper. We had jollof for supper! Charley, more enjoyment for us. 🙂

In the evening we met the youth of the Ghanaian community. They were rehearsing for their 6th March event. We were told the Ghanaian community organizes its own 6th March event to celebrate Ghana’s independence. The youth were rehearsing Ghanaian dances! Impressive! We made a presentation of some souvenirs to them. We had some jama which they joined in! A lot of them knew the twi songs we were singing! We also met the PPC Secretary and Treasurer. They expressed their delight at our coming and entreated us to take up our places as we are the present and not the future. Same message we had from the Pope and Archbishop Palmer-Buckle. We also passed on the message to the Ghanaian youth of the parish. Generally, the executives spoke about how the Ghanaian community helped them to bond as Ghanaians and also provided a place for their children to learn about their heritage.

On Sunday, most of us slept in. We got ready, had breakfast and joined the bus to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the thanksgiving mass for the Black History month. It was awesome! The whole Cathedral was full! The mass started at 2pm. Our priests concelebrated the mass. The main celebrant was Bishop Guy Sansaricq while Fr. Andrew (Drew) Smith was the homilist. Based on the readings for the 4th Sunday of the year, Year C he called on us to remember that we are known and called by God, called to love because love is the only thing that endures, and called to trust in God at all times no matter how difficult things may be. The songs were many and varied. It was great to hear a song composed by Bro. Plus Agyemang used for the Alleluia. We also sang an Akan appellation at the elevation. The bidding prayers were in different languages such as English, Spanish, French, Akan, Igbo and Creole. It was amazingly multicultural. After mass, we came back to fufu and light soup for supper!!!! Yay! Others had kenkey. We also went to the 5pm Ghanaian mass (twi) to make a presentation to the Parish. We presented a picture of the Sankofa, a chasuble and stole and a drum. The priests dressed Fr. Fred in the chasuble. We took pictures after mass and went back home.

USA 2019-30th January to 1st February 2019

USA 2019-30th January to 1st February 2019

We got to New York! Yay! But the cold was intense!!!!!!!! Even with our jackets and other winter clothes, we felt cold. At that point I started wondering about homeless people in cold countries. May the LORD help them. We got access to the free airport WiFi and thus were able to communicate with family and friends. We also heard from Fr. Fred Agyemang, our host. Apparently there had been an accident on the road so he was delayed. Finally Fr. Fred arrived. We took some pictures and got into the cars provided. We went to the St. Luke Parish retreat centre where we were going to stay for the duration of the trip. When we arrived, there was jollof, chicken and salad! There was shito too! Yay! The PPC vice chair was present to welcome us. We ate and retired to bed soon after.

On Thursday, we had mass at 11am at the St. Luke Catholic Church. Fr. Alphonse reminded us of St. John Bosco and all he stood for on the occasion of his feast day. After mass, Fr. Fred officially welcomed us and gave us some highlights of the programme planned for us. He also showed us around the church and some of us saw our first snow. After that, the PPC chair also welcomed us and shared with us the history of the Ghanaian community at St. Luke. We then had lunch and rested. Later, Fr. Fred arranged for one of the parishioners to take us to town. He drove us to Macy’s and another mall where we did some shopping. Some also got snacks and others food.
We came back to meet ampesi and kontomire stew for supper. Yay!!!!!
On Friday we had mass at 11am. We then rested and left at 4:30pm for the Sheen Centre. We were privileged to watch “Emanuel” a documentary film about the Charleston shootings. It is yet to be released! The film was very moving and really showed the power of love and forgiveness. Afterwards, there was an intriguing discussion about the film, the shooting and the implications of it. We then went for a cocktail at Subculture. The entire event was organized by the Office of Black Ministry of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York and forms part of activities for the Black History Month. It was thanks to Brother Tyrone of the office of Black Ministry that we had the opportunity.
After the cocktail, we took the subway back to the Bronx.

Guest post by Maria Alejandra Rojas

Guest post by Maria Alejandra Rojas

Maria is a member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in David, Panama.

They hosted pilgrims from Ghana and Guatemala during the just ended WYD Panama 2019.

Efua Brew-Hammond and I were hosted by Maria’s family.

Here’s Maria:

“For where two or three are gather in my name, there am I among them.”
(Mt 18:20)

Definitely, receiving our pilgrims was the same feeling of receiving Jesus in our home, a truly unique and transforming experience, we could learn from the culture diversity, open our hearts to people from different places of the world, so always remember that we don’t choose our family, they are God’s gift and now you are a part of our big family.

Today we can confirm that the most impressive and admirable teaching can be defined in a single word “faith”. There was no barrier or language that prevented us from living God’s love, we were taught that there are 5 continents, 194 countries, different religions, but ONLY ONE GOD! The tiredness, neither the climatic conditions nor the distance were obstacles to meet with Jesus and renew our faith. Dear pilgrims were that fresh air of joy and youth that made us remember that we are an instrument of love for the world. For my family and for my country it was an honor to share with all of you and be part of this great experience full of blessings, our home will always be home to all of you.

After this World Youth Day Panama 2019 we can only say thank God for giving us this great opportunity to serve on behalf of our beloved Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish. Thank you for all your blessings and we desire that we all carry your word in our hearts. Remember … “Do not be afraid to take the love of God.”