On March 11-15, 2024, the solemnly professed friars of the Custody of St. Anthony of Padua in Ghana gathered for their annual retreat. This year’s retreat brought all the solemnly professed friars together, with the exception of those working and studying outside of Ghana and two other friars who could not attend due to health reasons.

The retreat took place at the Franciscan Valley of Prayer and Silence in Saltpond, Ghana. The friars had an opportunity to pray and reflect on their apostolate for five days, starting with Evening Prayer on March 11. They were privileged to have the Most Reverend Joseph Francis Kweku ESSIEN, Bishop Emeritus of Wiawso, Ghana, as the facilitator of the retreat. The theme of the retreat was: “Journeying Together in Prayer, Fraternity and Mission.” The bishop reflected with the friars on some salient features of the theme, such as; their identity as friars and as Christian missionaries, the understanding of their mission, the core aspect of their journey, certain roadblocks on the journey, and elements or virtues to be cultivated in order to emulate Christ on the missionary journey. On the last day, March 15, the retreat culminated with the bishop imparting his colorful blessing and dedicating the newly renovated Chapel of Divine Mercy at the Franciscan Valley. The dedication was inserted into the morning Mass and was very lively. In all, some twenty-six solemnly professed friars attended the retreat. The friars are grateful to God for yet another opportunity to take time off from their busy schedules in order to sit at His feet and pray, through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, that they may continue to do good and make an impact on their generation while they have time.

Friar Francis Pascal AFFUM, Custodial Secretary