On September 5-9, 2022, the Provincial Custody of St. Anthony of Padua in Ghana conducted an ongoing formation program for priests ordained five years or less.
Although the program was initially designed for priests, five friar deacons also attended. There were sixteen participants in all. The program took place at the Franciscan Valley of Prayer and Silence Retreat Center in Saltpond, Ghana. Friar Giles ZAKOWICZ spearheaded the program as the facilitator and provided the friars with insights based on his years of lived experience as a Conventual Franciscan priest. The topics presented included, “Change and Transition in Our Various Apostolates and Communities as Young Priests,” “The Art of Preaching,” and “How to Stay Relevant in Our Modern World as Young Priests.” Many other contemporary issues were discussed as well. It was a wonderful experience because the program was not presented in lecture form alone. Instead, the facilitator invited the friars to share their own experiences, struggles and difficulties. Moreover, the friars collectively offered suggestions and solutions to some of those challenges. The friars were happy to meet with Friar Giles again and to tap into his generous fountain of knowledge and experience. In turn, Friar Giles was happy to be back in the Custody, if only briefly, in order to be of some assistance to the young friars. Apart from being a seminar, the program was also a time for members of different communities to share and socialize. On September 9, the last day of the program, the Custos, Friar Vitus Edem Yao MENSAH, met with all the participants. He inspired them to contribute their best to the Custody and never to lose sight of their core identity as friars, namely, the virtue of being minor, humble and servants of the poor. The program ended in the afternoon with a Mass celebrated with the Custos. After lunch, the friars departed for their various communities.
Friar Francis Pascal AFFUM, Custodial Secretary