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T&T, Ghana celebrate new Benedictine priest

“My almighty, my ancient help, my way maker, my redeemer all my thanks and praise belongs to You.” Newly ordained Fr Antony Buaful OSB of Ghana sang his thanks and praise at Our Lady of Exile Abbey Church, Mt St Benedict, last Thursday, September 10.

Fr Buaful was to be ordained July 19 in Ghana but the closure of borders with the COVID-19 pandemic caused postponement. Following the advice from the Archbishop in Ghana, the Prior of the Kristo Buase Monastery asked permission for the rite to take place in Trinidad. The Ordination Mass was livestreamed on Facebook with ten persons present in keeping with the COVID restrictions.

Fr Buaful sang in Twi, a  language used in the southern and central Ghana and spoke briefly in his native tongue. In English, he told his family he knew it was a day of “tears of joy and mourning” because they were also mourning an aunt who died. He thanked Almighty God for allowing him to serve in His vineyard and giving him the grace to be an instrument for His work.

He also expressed gratitude to Archbishop Jason Gordon, recalling three years ago when the Archbishop asked him if he started at Mt St Benedict if he would stay and his response was “yes” because there is hope. The African symbols on his chasuble represented hope.

There were many others whom Fr Buaful thanked: Br Paschal Jordan OSB, his first point of contact in coming to Trinidad; Abbot John Pereira OSB, and community at the Mount for providing “a learning experience”; various abbots who helped his formation, the community in Ghana, and “prayer houses” in the UK.

Fr Buaful related that at his ordination to the diaconate, Archbishop Gordon asked him to be a saint. “I am trying; it real hard,” he said to chuckles from the gathering.

In the homily, Archbishop Gordon exhorted Fr Buaful to take heed of the words of the Gospel of the day, Luke 6:27–38, which Fr Buaful chose for his ordination.

He said, “It says something to the priesthood to which you are called, and it says something of the vocation of which God is asking of you in the priesthood.” He referred to the gospel admonition to “love your enemies, do good to those who hate you bless those who curse…” He said this is a non-violence stance and at the heart of the Christian tradition.

He referred to Jesus who did not retaliate against those who struck, verbally abused, and brutalised Him. With outstretched arms He asked the Father to forgive them.

Archbishop Gordon said a priest is a man of non-violence and extreme generosity and hospitality as the gospel stated, “give to everyone who asks you”.  The Benedictine spirit is a spirit of hospitality.

He said God sent His son on mission and this was how God’s “radicalising love” became known. “I want you to see your priesthood as mission so you will say to the people of the world that this God is a God of uncompromising love”.

In the absence of his family, Rev Buaful was vested with his stole and chasuble by Abbot Pereira. Adorning the altar were banners created by Laurette Authur with the colours of the national flag of Ghana. This was to give Fr Buaful a “home away from home” feeling. –LPG