The case for participating in WYD in Portugal

The case for participating in WYD in Portugal

The next World Youth Day (WYD) will be held in Portugal in 2022. In brief, WYD is a Catholic Youth Festival that was introduced by the late Pope St. John Paul II in the 1980s.

The most immediate WYD was held in Panama in 2019 under the theme “Behold I am the handmaid of the LORD let it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38.The entire programme was focused on being fully surrendered to God and saying yes to His will. Pope Francis’s final message at the WYD included a reminder to all youth that we are the now of God.

As is usual, the venue for the next WYD was announced during the closing mass. The next venue is Portugal. The dates, theme and other details are yet to be announced. But from now till then, it’s basically about three years plus.

So a few thoughts. Portugal is quite close to Africa so it should be relatively less expensive. I want to propose that youth in Ghana decide to attend the WYD 2022 either as a volunteer or participant.

Whether you’re a student or a worker, it is possible to raise funds, save or be sponsored to attend the WYD. Although on the face value it seems expensive, it’s a very life changing experience which I believe every Catholic should have. Many parishes and dioceses in Ghana sponsor active youth to WYD. It’s important to start early; you can save daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly according to your strength. You can also raise funds from family, friends and other benefactors if need be.

The experience of travelling, the opportunity to experience the Catholic faith in another country, becoming a member of a Catholic family in another country, meeting and interacting with new people, sharing your faith with others and seeing the universality of the church are among some of the benefits of participating in WYD. There are many other benefits.

And the location! Portugal is old Europe so it will be pretty exciting to travel and see. In addition, because of the Schengen visa it will be pretty easy to potentially see a few other places such as Lourdes in France, a site of Marian apparitions. Of course, Fatima is also in Portugal so it’ll be great to visit.

You can go as an individual, with the Archdiocese of Accra, the Ghana National Catholic Youth Council (GHANCYC) or with a private agency organizing a WYD trip such as Safe Life Experience Consult in Ghana.
Try to explore the available options and choose what’s best for you.

A key thing to remember is to start getting your documents ready. You’ll need a visa which is quite a laborious process especially in developing countries where you need to show your social and economic ties to your country before you can be considered for a visa. So you’ll need your birth certificate, your marriage certificate if you are married, your bank account statements (which should be quite substantial; even if you’re a student please try to engage in some bank transactions). You would also need letters from your school (if you’re a student), your workplace (if you’re a worker) and your company if you’re self employed. You also need to add your company documents if you’re self employed. Salary slips may also be needed.

Angela Azumah Alu, 12/04/2019, Legon
lisbon 2022

 

 

 

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USA 2019-4th/5th February 2019

USA 2019-4th/5th February 2019

06 February 2019
21:34
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.
TGBTG.
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.

My rendition of Katy Perry’s “roar”

My rendition of Katy Perry’s “roar”

So Katy Perry’s roar is a pretty awesome song. I like the wordplay and the artistic nature of it all. It’s pretty amazing.

In terms of the meaning, I love the thought of taking your life into your own hands, overcoming your fears and becoming all you can be.

A few thoughts came to mind when I watched the video. So recently, a daily Dynamic Catholic message was about how Jesus turns your life upside down in order to have it right side up. (https://dynamiccatholic.com) Paul and other evangelists were described as the people who have turned the world upside down.

During the Advent/Christmas season each year, we read Isaiah’s (Isaiah 11) message about the world being turned upside down with the advent of the Messiah such that the wolf will live with the lamb and other previously sworn enemies will dwell together. Amazingly beautiful thoughts!

So how does that tie in with Katy Perry’s “roar”? Well, Satan is the abuser who keeps us in bondage and we become tigers and lions (bold) only when we make the decision for Christ. That’s when our lives are turned upside down such that they are right side up because it is only in Christ that we discover our true selves: we are made in God’s own image and likeness and are empowered to live holy and right lives.

May we live the bold “tigerous” life worthy of our calling as Christians, overcoming temptation and snatching souls from hell by proclaiming God’s word to them. Peace!

Please blame Ekow Boakye, I had no idea about this. 🙂

Angela Azumah Alu, 4/08/18

Check out the video for the song: https://www.google.com.gh/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DCevxZvSJLk8&ved=0ahUKEwjFutTWmtTcAhULBcAKHd6nBDgQo7QBCCIwAA&usg=AOvVaw3eZ5wP5Y-sMTaU3-n5RFzS

Reasons to attend World Youth Day in Panama 2019

Reasons to attend World Youth Day in Panama 2019

So this post was in response to a question about the need to attend the next World Youth Day in Panama 2019.

By way of introduction, the World Youth Day (WYD) is an international festival for Catholic and other Youth. It was started by late Pope John Paul II. It usually happens every two (2) or three (3) years. In between, there are diocesan and national WYDs.

In 2018, there would be a National Version of the WYD in Ghana from 27th July to 5th August 2018 in the Greater Accra Region with the climax at the University of Ghana. And in 2019, the international Version of the World Youth Day will be in Panama from 22nd to 27th January 2019. Here’s a link to the site: https://www.panama2019.pa/en/home/

The Youth of the Archdiocese of Accra will in addition to the WYD in Panama also visit the USA (Washington and New York) and tour in Panama. So they will travel from 2nd to 29th January 2019.

Below is the Post:
17/12/2017
16:57

Well, I guess it’s a question worth asking. And there are a lot of answers to give .

One of the very first things is that as a pilgrimage, it can be considered as in service training for youth and youth leaders. This is because it provides them with an opportunity to go and pray and to experience the catholic church in its universality. You might argue that we can always pray in the home church but remember that its the same reason why companies send their staff for training out of the office and why the kingdom of God is likened to a pearl you have to sell everything to get. There’s nothing like being in a place for the sole purpose of fellowshipping with God and other catholic youth. It is literally life changing! You get to hear God as never before because you are away from the usual distractions of life. Everyone who attends has many stories of how God spoke to them and used them to minister to others.

Secondly, as youth  and as Catholics, experiencing a Catholic celebration with millions of other catholic youth from all over the world broadens your horizons, gives you new perspectives on how to exercise your faith and how to lead and generally becomes a stepping stone for greater heights. The youthful exuberance is so much that it changes you.

Thirdly, you have the opportunity to exercise your faith through the various religious and cultural activities you participate in. In addition, during the mission days, you are literally a missionary to the family you are staying with. What a way to obey the great commission! You become a lifelong member of that family too! You also get to meet, make friends with and minister to other catholic youth you may never otherwise meet. And of course showcase great Ghanaian culture and experience other cultures.

A fourth reason to go for World Youth Day with the  Accra Archdiocese is that because of the format of going with youth from the various parishes, you literally have a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with and spend time with other youth from the diocese over an extended period of time. The friendships and sharing that occur over this period tend to be lasting and very impactful.

A fifth reason is that since for many of the pilgrims it is their first time of travelling, it literally becomes an opportunity to get them out into the world in a faith like environment. This helps with getting your documentation and all other things needed for international travel in order. That way, the church is literally being shrewd in giving its young people an international experience so that in other years, they have an easier and smoother travelling experience. And of course, as you travel you see more and come back with more to teach and impact others with.

Anyway, I will end here. From a physical perspective, it seems like a lot of money and the question may be asked why that money should not be used to cater for the poor and needy in the church. Jesus’s words when Mary wiped his feet with an expensive jar of alabaster oil come to mind. The poor and needy will always be with us and we need to take care of them but, just as Mary anointed Jesus’s feet and Jesus promised that this act will be said in remembrance of her, so it is important for youth/the parish to literally do all that is necessary to take part in international WYD at this time because there may be no other time.

Angela Azumah Alu
17/12/17

wyd quote

He gave me laughter!-Meditations on Genesis 21:6

He gave me laughter!-Meditations on Genesis 21:6

Gen 21:6 Now Sarah said, God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me. (NRSV)

Now one of my favourite stories in the bible is that of Abraham. It’s filled with drama.

And there are a lot of stories. If you want to explore more, look at from Genesis 12-23. But my focus is on selected verses from Genesis 12, 15,16,17,18 and 21.

So here goes.

So God called Abraham (his name was Abram then) in Chapter 12 and asked him to go a foreign land. He promised to make him a great nation and to bless all nations through him. Fair enough. Only one problem. His wife Sarah (initially Sarai) was barren. So they had no children. That sounds pretty ridiculous right? Why promise to make a man with no children the father of many nations?

Anyway, Abraham actually leaves and goes to settle in Canaan. And he doesn’t own anything there yet. Until the burial plot he bought to bury Sarah in. But that’s not the focus of the meditation.

So, in Chapter 15, God appears to Abraham again and promises him a son. Abraham believes God and it is reckoned to him as righteousness. Then, in Chapter 16, his wife suggests that he impregnates their maid so they can have a son by her. He does that and Ishmael is born with Hagar the maid as his mother.

Now God comes back in Chapter 17 and tells Abraham that it is Sarah who will give him a son. Really? I loved Abraham’s response! He fell on his face, laughed and asked if a son could be born to a 100 year old man and a 90 year old woman. (Well, that’s what actually happens in the end anyway). Anyway, God even adds that the child is to be called Isaac: He laughs (guess God wanted to have the last laugh!)

Then in Chapter 18, God comes to visit Abraham and tells Sarah that He will come back in a year’s time and she will have a son. She also laughs! But denies when God confronts her about her laughter.

Then in Chapter 21, we read that God did for Sarah as he promised. She actually has a son whom they name Isaac: He laughs! That is when Sarah cannot help but exclaim: God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.

So now lessons:

God knows you and loves you. That may sometimes be hard to believe but He really does.

He has a plan for you. It may take a long time but trust Him. Abraham was 75 years when God called him. Isaac was born 25 years later.  Trust God.

Don’t be afraid to talk to and dialogue with God. There’s nothing you do that surprises Him. He is able to take any sorrow and turn it into laughter for His name sake. May that be your story!

And finally, build your relationship with Him.

There are many more lessons. I’d encourage you to visit the bible and glean them for yourself. Ciao!

Angela Azumah Alu, 3/1/18, Legon

Health-Benefits-of-Laughing-RM-1440x8101

Image from: https://www.google.com.gh/search?q=laughter&client=firefox-b-ab&dcr=0&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjt7ojD-7zYAhUJBcAKHUpeBdYQ_AUICigB&biw=1366&bih=656#imgrc=f3ZDVO5ue_eouM:

 

 

Musings on barrenness

Musings on barrenness

19/12/2017
08:15

First Reading: Judges 13: 2-7, 24-25a

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 71: 3-4a, 5-6ab, 16-17

Gospel: Luke 1: 5-25

God loves barren spaces! It’s such a contradiction isn’t it? That fruitfulness is a fruit of walking with God yet when He wants to show His power, He chooses a previously barren space, presupposing a lack of fruitfulness, and turns it into a garden.
He makes a way where there seems to be no way. He puts rivers in the desert. He makes the dry land rejoice.

Stories of children born to barren women in the bible are stories of children born for special purposes and marked out for greatness. From Isaac to Jacob and Esau, Joseph and Benjamin, Samson, Samuel and John the Baptist, each was born to a barren woman. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Samson’s mother, Hannah and Elizabeth. Each of these women has a story of the challenges associated with being a barren woman in a society where children are considered a blessing from the Lord. Each of their children was marked for a special purpose.

So as today’s readings teach, I challenge you to have faith in God and to trust His timing. Supposedly barren spaces are the ones He chooses for special purposes. Are you barren in any aspect? Keep praying, trusting and rejoicing….no matter how hard. Your barrenness may be just for the purpose of His glory. Trust Him!

Angela Azumah Alu

barren-hope

Image from: https://www.google.com.gh/search?q=barrenness&client=firefox-b-ab&dcr=0&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjIsL7i05bYAhVkBMAKHV8VB5IQ_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=912#imgrc=IBS2DVwaPYf2hM

Musings on Season Finale for SGIT season 4

Musings on Season Finale for SGIT season 4

Okay….so since my friend Jenner introduced me to Skinny Girl in Transit (SGIT),a Nigerian web series produced by Ndani TV which basically tells the story of radio presenter called Tiwa, I have been an avid fan. I have faithfully watched each new episode on Friday….sometimes amazing myself with my dedication….I’m not a very “seriesy” kind of person.

Anyway, we have all watched with tenterhooks during this season when Tiwaa had an old lover resurface from the past. After a series of bad decisions that kept us shaking our heads, she finally confessed to her boyfriend and the expected break up happened. After one miserable episode, today’s episode had a happy ending. Yay!!!!💃💃💃

Here’s how the happy ending happened…so  Shalewa (Tiwa’s sister) told Tiwa’s boyfriend Mide and basically told him to either forgive Tiwa or break up with her as the silence wasn’t doing both of then any good.

Also Mide’s sister Derin (the evil sister we all hate), seeing how miserable her brother was went to basically ask Tiwa to go and fight for her love.

Long story short, Tiwa went to Mide’s house and…and although he was travelling, he read the messages she had sent him and turned back. He got home only to meet Tiwa…she kept apologizing and finally asked him to be her boyfriend again while waiting to change their status. They kiss and hug….😍😍. The next day while brushing her teeth, Tiwa finds a ring on her finger…the coveted ring…finally!!!!!

Okay, now let’s draw some biblical parallels…Tiwa’s bad decisions remind me of sin. It always starts out very innocently and once you don’t run to God and decide to try reasoning with the devil, before you know it you’re in over your head and it’s harder to come out. May God help us to run to him at the first temptation rather than trying to fight it on our own.

And the messages Tiwa sent to Mide and both Derin and Shalewa’s interactions remind me of the importance of evangelization. The words you may speak may not seem to bear fruit immediately but may be a seed that will germinate later. So don’t give up but do the work of an evangelist and trust the Lord for the outcome.

Third was how Tiwa’s going to Mide was very remiscent of the prodigal son. So the prodigal son went back to the father and asked to be considered a servant…but was reinstated as a son. Same way Tiwa went back apologizing and asking to be considered as a girlfriend whereas she had done that already. And when it all seemed so uncertain, she actually woke up with the ring she thought she had lost. I pray that we never get to a point where we think anything is too big for God to forgive but run to Him no matter how bad our sin.

And finally…family and friends. How well do we mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice as christian brothers and sisters? I loved what Tiwa’s dad did after the break up. He didn’t ask questions but just reminded her of who she is and how she has always been a fighter….a reminder that she will conquer this too. Whatever it is. I also loved Mohammed’s advice to Shalewa to just be with Tiwa.(both scenes were in episode 11)  And Didi! That girl is the epitome of real friendship! I pray for grace to be a friend like that.

Cheers to SGIT…now let me go and get my aso ebi….we got a wedding coming up!!!💃💃

Angela Azumah Alu
15/12/17