On March 20-24, 2023, the Provincial Custody of St. Anthony of Padua in Ghana held its annual spiritual retreat.
This yearly retreat brings together all of the solemnly professed friars of the Custody so they might renew themselves and take a little break from their pastoral assignments. It is basically a preached retreat, led by a religious or diocesan priest. The theme of the retreat stems mainly from the theme of the Custodial Four-Year Plan. This year’s retreat was held at the St. Francis of Assisi Friary and Novitiate in Saltpond, Ghana, which also doubles as the center for the Franciscan Valley of Prayer and Silence. The retreat was preached by Father Anthony AFRIYIE, a diocesan priest from the Diocese of Kumasi in Ghana.
Father Anthony led the friars in a reflection on committing themselves to praying together as a community and making such a prayer life effective. Within that, they looked at the happenings in the world, the challenges these happenings pose to our vocations and how to better respond to these challenges by centering ourselves in worship. In all, twenty-four solemnly professed friars attended the retreat. A few other friars were unable to attend due to unforeseen challenges in their pastoral areas and also because of health reasons. Nevertheless, the retreat was well planned and organized by the ongoing formation team headed by Friar Eugene Antwi BOASIAKO. The preaching was eye opening, soothing, thought provoking and refreshing.
The retreat started on March 20 with Evening Prayer at 5:00 p.m. and concluded on March 24 with Evening Prayer at 6:00 p.m. Since it was also Lent, the Stations of the Cross formed an integral part of the spiritual retreat. Moreover, the serene setting of the Franciscan Valley of Prayer and Silence gave the friars space to freely move about, meditate and contemplate during moments of personal reflection. The Custos, Friar Vitus Edem Yao MENSAH, thanked Father Anthony for making himself available to lead the retreat for the friars this year and for all the preaching he had prepared and shared with them. The Custos also thanked the friars who were able to attend and encouraged them to take whatever they had learned and put it into practice in their various communities. May the good Lord, who has called us to his vineyard, continue to sustain us with his grace. May our Father St. Francis of Assisi continue to bind us together in love so that we can contribute more to the Custody of Ghana!
Friar Francis Pascal AFFUM, Custodial Secretary