POINTS OF INTEREST

Page 2

Council Major Religious Superiors Meeting

7 Oct 2017

Apostolic Nuncio at meeting of Council Major Religious Superiors held at Pope John Paul II Centre, Obusai Kokobeng October 2017. 

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Brother Basilio in middle of 3rd row

 

Prinknash Visit August 2017

7 Oct 2017

 

Father Prior                        and                   Brother Cyprian

 

Brother Anthony @ Pluscarden

23 Aug 2017

 Br Antony of Kristo Buase will start studies at the University of West Indies in September in Trinidad.

On his way to the West Indies Brother Antony is visiting the founding Abbey at Pluscarden. To his right is the bearded Father Giles who was at Kristo Buase for a number of years.

Father Giles returned definitively to Pluscarden in July 2011

Accra Retreat August 2017

12 Aug 2017

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Father Prior, Brother Gabriel and 7 deacons from Accra at the end of their retreat in preparation for priestly ordination on Saturday 26th August.

Summer 2017

9 Jul 2017

 Br Mark making palm oil from palm nuts

Graduation
 Fishermen on Volta Lake 7 July
Prior Bede makes a joke (?)
 Community visiting JMJ Sisters convent and hospital in Yeji 7 July 2017

 

April News

4 May 2017

22 April 2017

Principals from hospitals of the Brong Ahafo region at a meeting at Kristo Buase. 

 

 

 

 

Planting Season

Br Gregory & Br Mark planting carrots

 

 

 

 

 

Br Louis planting okra

 

Fr Martin's Visit

4 May 2017

I visited Kristo Buase from 22nd March till 4th April 2017 with Robert and Mary Jones, Oblates of Prinknash. We were there partly to visit the Monastic Community and catch up with our friend, Fr Bede, who was elected Prior of Kristo Buase last Summer, and partly to continue our mission to promote Teams of Our Lady (Equipes Notre-Dame). It was Robert’s and Mary’s fourth visit to Ghana since 2014, and my fifth visit since 2003.

Teams of Our Lady is a Catholic organisation for Christian married couples who want to develop their relationship with God both personally and as a couple, and for priests and religious. Most Teams have about 4 to 6 couples and a spiritual counsellor (Usually the priest or religious) and meet together monthly in each others’ homes for a meal and to discuss, pray and share the ups and downs of everyday life. During three visits to Ghana, Robert, Mary and I obtained the consent and support of Bishop Dominic of Techiman to promote the organisation. We had a good response and there are now established Teams in Tubuodom and Tanoboase, the towns nearest to the monastery. Br Gabriel is the first Team Chaplain in Ghana.

It was also good to see the KB monks again and catch up with Fr Bede. Kristo Buase became independent from my monastery, Prinknash in August 2016, which is why they elected their first Prior. /frmartin_3.jpgIt was good to see how the community has grown since my last visit. Three are studying – Br Antony and Br John in Ghana and Br Cyprian at Pluscarden. Br Martin is back at Kristo Buase now after his formative years in the UK. Brs Gabriel, Basilio and Patrick soldier on as the seniors, and it was a joy to see Brothers Gregory and Louis again. Whilst we were there, Br Collins was clothed as a novice and given the name Mark, after one of the first three founders of Kristo Buase.

/frmartin_4.jpg Fr Bede’s self-sacrifice in taking up God’s call to be superior in Ghana is impressive, and we pray that God may sustain and bless his efforts. I know from experience that the climate alone in Ghana drains the energy. There is also the challenge of comprehending a culture which at times is as hard for us to understand as, perhaps, our culture is hard to understand for Africans.

I noticed on this visit that the monastic community growing strong and that the dedication to the Divine Office, lectio divina and personal devotion is also strong. Most of all I noticed that the monastic enclosure is becoming more tangible and there is generally less noise. KB is truly well-established in Ghana and affects the lives of many people.

Fr Martin McLaughlin Prinknash Abbey

Recent Activities

10 Apr 2017

 Postulant Collins sweeping cloister with palm branch in preparation for Sunday

The rock outside the church                            

Joseph Manu our door man standing in  front of the bell tower. Note fallen leaves from storm

 Brother Mark at the end of ceremony of becoming a novice on 25 March Fr Bede, Br Mark, Fr Martin (Prinknash)             

Finally, time for a haircut:               

Christmas 2016

28 Dec 2016

Br Cyprian introducing Ghanaian dishes to Pluscarden Abbey. Here he is cooking jollof rice & chicken

Br Cyprian at Pluscarden

 

And, Salesian novices from Sunyani visiting 27 December

Oblate Birthday

19 Dec 2016

Birthday party for Oblate Monica Cowell of Chichester. The cake was made and given by the Sisters of Nazareth in Chiraa.

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General Chapter

18 Dec 2016

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Brother Cyprian News

25 Nov 2016

Notes from Fr Mark of Pluscarden

I am looking after Brother Cyprian of Kristo Buase, a monk in temporary vows, who is here at Pluscarden for a while. As I did not receive much warning, I had no time to prepare and I now find that there are all sorts of minor practical matters that have to be taken care of. Often a few moments thought would have brought them to mind, but I have not thought of them and they suddenly appear and have to be dealt with. My famous memory does not help. It is not the forgetting that is wearing: when I forget, I forget. However I keep on remembering again before forgetting again. I forget and remember again dozens of times in the day, often when I can do nothing about it.

 

Last week was dominated by the story of the medicines. In West Africa hypertension is common and Br Cyprian suffers from it. He left all his medicines behind and did not know what they were. We had to get him registered temporarily at the medical centre and then we had to get him to see a doctor. In the meantime we got in touch with Ghana to find out what had been prescribed but they did not know! On Monday Br Cyprian saw a doctor who gave him the wrong prescription to begin with. Then a copy of his Ghanaian prescription arrived from Kristo Buase, sent by Whatsapp. Then the surgery phoned to say the prescription their doctor had issued was wrong. We had to go in on Wednesday to get the right prescription and a new set of application forms for full registration with the medical centre; Br Cyprian had left the first set with the doctor he saw, but completely blank. By Friday he had one of the drugs he needed and appointments for a clinic to be tested for his high blood pressure so he could get the other two. That day he also put in his application to be fully registered with the surgery. With a bit of luck things will get straightened out.

 

In the meantime I am trying to get one or two things started. Although I intend to put up a notice in the novitiate laying out the planned meetings for the week, I have, in fact, been going from day to day while I work things out. There are always things to be taken into consideration like the veg squad and dies nons and solemnities. Today, being Christ the King is a solemnity.

 

I have also been getting in touch with people for other things. I have made the first steps in getting music lessons and in getting him into a class for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages). For the ESOL there are forms to be filled in and assessments to be undergone. The classes don't start until January if he is Intermediate 4, but not until August if he is Intermediate 5 or higher – if I have understood it right.

There were dies nons that week. By tradition the seniors take their dies non on Thursday and the juniors and those working with them on Friday. This meant I took my day off on Friday, though I spent the day taking Br Cyprian out in a car. We began with a misunderstanding which meant me standing in the cloister waiting for him and him standing outside in the cold half way down the drive waiting for me. We didn't go far or do very much. The first thing we had to do was to hand in the forms to apply for registration at the surgery. It was empty with no crowds of patients waiting for a doctor and only clerical staff visible. We passed over the forms and left.

 

As Br Cyprian had never seen the sea, we went to Lossiemouth, the nearest place where we could see it. It was a cold day with a white frost that remained all day in those places hidden from the sun. I had to assure Br Cyprian that he needed a jumper over his colourful, Ghanaian, going out on a day off type shirt. Yet, sitting on their boards in the sea off the beach at Lossiemouth, there were three or four surfers in neoprene suits waiting for waves to curl into the shore. I had the video camera with me and could only hold it for a few minutes, so cold was it, yet they were out there in the sea waiting for the perfect wave. When they did ride an occasional wave, they seemed to fall off as often as they rode the breaker to the shore. As this was Lossiemouth the waves were not as big as at Santa Monica, Hawai or even Cape Coast.

 

We ate lunch in a restaurant. Afterwards we walked up to the harbour. Nothing was moving. Most of the boats we saw were yachts in the marina bit, though there seemed to be a couple of small fishing boats and another working boat which looked as though it was some sort of private marine research vessel. The fishing boats seemed to be using hooks and lines going out from bobbin like things set in patterns around the deck and wheelhouse.

 

After this we left Lossiemouth and moved along the coast to Burghead. Again it was quiet, but we could see over the Moray Firth from the headland and down into the harbour from the side of the fort. While we were there, a fishing boat set out from the harbour to Br Cyprian's delight, for he had never seen a boat putting out to sea in his life.

 

We went from there to Sueno's Stone in Forres. Driving west from Lossiemouth to Burghead and then from Burghead to Forres on a November afternoon was dazzling. Despite sunglasses and the sun-visor down, there were moments when I was effectively blinded by the sun almost horizontally in front of me. It was time to go home, so we went home.

 

Fr Mark

November Update

25 Nov 2016

An American friend of ours, Herbert Schultz, provided funds for us to obtain for our monastic library seven works of St John Chrysostom, and two works of St Cyril of Alexandria.

In our area, this is the season of the Yam festivals. Our guest from Prinknash Abbey, Mary Jones, attended the Tuobodom Yam festival on 24th October. These two low resolution photos she took on her phone.         

There have been a few changes in officials at the monastery:

  • Brother Basilio is now Novice Master,
  • Brother Antony is Oblate Master.

Please pray for these brothers who showed a great spirit of obedience in accepting these tasks.

A number of priests have been here on retreat in the past two weeks. First there were two Divine Word Missionaries, working in Accra, then Father Daniel of the Goaso diocese, and finally Father Gabriel of the Archdiocese of Accra.

At present, we have a monastic guest from the Abbey of Koubri in Burkina Faso - Brother Anthelm. He is a very cheerful presence in the community, ever willing to help. He has no English and our oblate, Monica Cowell, is giving him classes in English twice daily.

2nd November, All Souls, is a day in where traditionally the whole monastic community gathers in the cemetery for prayers for deceased community members. At Kristo Buase, we gather in the cemetery for Midday Prayers, sometimes called Sext. We also bless the graves. Our cemetery is in a quiet grove and at its entrance there is a beautiful cross.

                                        

We continue to pray for you all, and ask that you do the same for us, especially in the lead up to the Presidential Election here in Ghana in December.

THE ELEVATION OF KRISTO BUASE MONASTERY TO THE STATUS OF A PRIORY SUI JURIS AND THE ELECTION OF A PRIOR

10 Sep 2016

    THE GOOD NEWS

On the eve of the 27th anniversary of the Kristo Buase monastery the news came that the Abbot President was about to sign the document which was going to confirm and declare the long awaited autonomy of the community, from the three founding houses in England and Scotland, becoming a Priory sui juris on 6th August, 2016.

On the 15th August, the community went through the process of electing their first prior (this was conducted under the supervision of the Abbot Francis of Prinknash abbey). The chapter fathers had elected the first prior of the priory and he was in the person of Dom Bede Kierney of Pluscaden Abbey. There has to be a ceremony to install him. This was the responsibility of the Abbot Francis but due to travelling arrangements, he delegated his powers to the the Bishop of the diocese of Techiman, the resident diocese of the monastery. This ceremony was to be followed by a thanksgiving mass, which the whole community in accord with the prior elect had decided to celebrate in a grand style and this required the organization of the event in less than two weeks.

All was set for the ceremony of the installation on 9th September; the Bishop Dominic of Techiman had been very prompt as usual hitherto he had promised 4:00pm therefore arriving in his full regalia at ten to four. The ritual began by the reading of the declaration to the hearing of the conventual house and was followed shortly with the oath of the prior elect. Afterwards the Bishop led Dom Bede to the chapel stool at the head of the other chapel stools purposely for the new prior of the new priory and installed him on the stool. The new prior then gave his speech; calling to mind that he was actually elected to serve and not to be served.

The ceremony was ended with photographs in the cloister, while the Bishop thanked Dom Ambrose Flavell who had been very instrumental on the quest of the attainment of autonomy for the house.

    THANKSGIVING MASS, 10th SEPTEMBER

This event was witnessed by people of all walks of life, from the dioceses of Techiman, Sunyani, Donkorkrom, Kumasi, Ouagadougou and beyond. The event was graced by the presence of the Bishop Dominic Yeboah Nyarko of the Techiman diocese who was the main celebrant and the Bishops, Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi and Gabriel Kumordzie, from the diocese and Apostolic Vicariate of Sunyani and Donkorkrom respectively and the V. Rev. Fr. Dominic Apee, president of the Ghana major superiors Association were all in attendance to con-celebrate. Also in attendance were the priests, monks and religious from Techiman, Sunyani , Kubiri and beyond, medical personnel, Government officials, the Armed and Police forces, Chiefs and Queen mothers, etc.

After the start of the mass with the long procession, the V. Rev. Fr. John Kofi Takyi (vicar-general of the Techiman diocese) gave the welcome address, beginning with a monastic quote “the challenge the society poses to the monastic life is not due to it’s alienation from social fixtures but it’s concern for the salvation of the society”, he continued to state that “the spiritual and material growth of a society is always due to the existence of the church represented by a monastery or a priory”. He appreciated therefore the effort of all who had helped the monastery to this far, urging more people to seek solitude within the confines of the of the monastery, for the renewal of the their spiritual lives.

    HOMILY

Bishop Matthew Kwasi Gymfi during his homily appreciated the weather (over cast), thanking God for how far he had brought the community, describing how the environment was at the time the monastery was inaugurated and noted that “the monastery was of an impregnable spiritual repute”. He actually went into a detailed explanation of an autonomous monastery and what the new status was to expect in the near future, exhibiting the depths of knowledge he had as regards to the monastic setting. The Bishop congratulated the monastery and commended all those both dead and alive whose effort and instrumentality had contributed to the immensely to this new achievement and in silence remaindered us of Dom Martin Simons, Dom Leo, Dom Bartholomew Banzie and Bishop Kwadwo Owusu, the formers who were superiors and members of the community and the latter the late Bishop of Sunyani. He then went on to acknowledge the Nana Amisare Dwomor 2 chief of Tanoboase for his generosity and that of his predecessor, for the vast land of which the monastery is proud of. He could not finish without the acknowledgment of the gigantic support of the three founding houses; Prinknash, Pluscarden and Ramsgate now Chilworth all in U.K., for their hard work and toil to nurture for this young child of theirs to its independence.

The main focus of his homily was on: independent, inter-dependent and dependent. He explained each of these and the interconnectivity they all had with each other, therefore relating it to the new autonomous priory of Kristo Buase. He stated that the independence of the community was not to be taking as the independence of the individuals in the community but the brethren were now to live most especially in inter-dependency thus each one depending on the other in the community and not each going on their diverse ways, the brethren were he said were to remain in unity in order to be strong and be bound to the love of God, as Christ himself tells us “remain in My love”. “Each member of the community”, he said, “was not to listen to the rhythm of his own drum alone but to the rhythm of the others, for he who listens to the rhythm of his own does not avail himself to new ideas, the diversities and the acknowledgment of others, which will go a long way to avoid mediocrity, vain glory and the wallowing in our ignorance due to self centeredness”. His Lordship in his conclusion made reference to the edifices of the monastic communities he had visited so far, especially those of the three founding houses of Kristo Buase and how these buildings themselves emitted and demonstrated dialogue in a special way. He made mention of the monks’ unlike the other religious congregations, resistance of the trends of the times as unhealthy and their preference for the opposing side. He ended with congratulatory messages to the first Prior of the new Priory, V. Rev. Dom Bede Kierney OSB. and the whole community and with one voice with Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians1:1-3: Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has bestowed in us every spiritual blessing in Christ.

    THE PEAK

The Bishops during offertory informed Prior Bede that he needed to be installed in the presence of all gathered and most especially in the presence of the Chiefs and the elders so that they could come forward to greet him, since this was something very peculiar in the Ghanaian setting that a chief does not stand to greet someone unless the person is elevated before him. Before the second collection the three Bishops installed Prior Bede of a Chiefs stool, sitting him down three time in the name of the Holy Trinity, then all came to greet him including the chiefs with his Queen mother and elders while the wonderful Dagaaba choir sang.

    CONCLUSION

Rev. Dom Ambrose Flavell gave the vote of thanks, after the mass came to a close and yes he gave an extraordinary exhortation and a wonderful advice to the Prior, since he had experienced Kristo Buase as the Superior for many years.

The party afterward, as now we call the reception of every great ceremony, was on point since there were provisions made for the refreshment and nourishment of all who attended the event. All left in great satisfaction, for they had been blessed by this wonderful celebration and the grace of God was now abiding in them. In the evening after the community said good bye to the oblates who came from Accra, as they were the last to leave, sat at recreation to savour the lasting sweetness of the wonderful event God had made possible through the wonderful organization skills of Dom. Gabriel Peh with the support and the cooperation of the community.

The Lord has indeed been good to the community of Kristo Buase and as the psalm of the day stated: “I will bless your name forever, O Lord”, we are indeed thankful.

A Journey North: Navrongo - Ouagadougou - Koubri

17 May 2015

The last blog was about the Anglican Benedictines of Pershore / Nashdom who had a foundation in Ghana from 1923-31. Just before the monastery in Kumasi closed, there were plans to move to a new location in the north of Ghana. I have been using various trips to reconstruct the stages of their journey and in December a visit to our monastery of Koubri in Burkina Faso gave an excuse for the tackling the first leg.

The two monks, with their cook and coffee-pot in the back of the car, headed north on the old Kumasi - Mampong - Salaga - Tamale road which has now been blocked by the artificial Volta Lake constructed by Kwame Nkrumah in the 1960s. What had been a simple river crossing in 1927 is now a five-mile width of water with an early-morning daily ferry. We took the new north road instead(which comes through Techiman and runs along one side of our farm) and joined their road at Tamale. The city has been redeveloped so many times that there is probably nothing there they would have recognised, but by evening we were at NAVRONGO in Upper East Region which had been one of their overnight stops too. The old Cathedral is one of the most venerable Catholic churches in Ghana, built of mud bricks by the White Fathers about 1920.

The tower collapsed in the 1980s and had to be rebuilt but otherwise the building is still strong and officially listed as a historic monument. It is now most famous for the decorations inside, added in the 1970s using traditional methods of painting on mud-relief. Only three colours are used - red, black and white. The women of the local village of Sirigu (which features in many of the tourist guide-books because of the painted houses) were given free rein with the design and the pillars are an eclectic mix of traditional and Christian motifs. This is my favourite:

It depicts a traditional Ghanaian folk-story, similar in a way to the Fall in our Christian Bibles. Once the gods (represented by the blobs at the top of the pillar) dwelt very close to mankind and spoke directly to people here on earth. But the women, pounding fufu with their pestles and mortar, kept poking the gods with the stick and they gradually moved further and further away ...

And here are my travelling companions: Monica Cowell, our most recent oblate, and the two postulants Br Eric and Br Romeo. Br Eric is due to be clothed as a novice at Pentecost:

The White Father's mission at Navrongo began in 1906 and was the first Catholic presence in the north of Ghana. The house where Fr Peter and Fr Bernard stayed was demolished a year or two later to make room for something more permanent, indeed still essentially intact eighty years on although the only occupants are birds. A monument nearby commemorates their host of that night, Mgr Oscar Morin, M. Afr.:

From Navrongo it was not far to the border with Burkina Faso. Until fairly recently the country was known as Upper Volta and normally featured in any short-list of the poorest countries in the world. It is a country of contrasts, however. Since the end of the last century a new suburb of hi-tech buildings has grown up on the outskirts of Ouagadougou (known as "Ouaga Deux Mille") and the city somehow has an air of cosmopolitan urbanity which is lacking in our own capital, Accra. True for the city, but the countryside is probably unchanged apart from the narrow main-road running through the landscape. Through a camera lens you could imagine yourself miles from anywhere.

The most impressive building in the Ouagadougou is the Catholic Cathedral. It is of brick, probably built in the 1930s. The interior is very tranquil, bathed in a gentle light after the glare of the tropical sun outside.

Our journey's end was the Benedictine monastery at Koubri, which belongs to our Subiaco-Cassinese Congregation. Four of our friends - freres Jean-Christophe (the Prior-Administrator of Koubri), Edmond Amos, Innocent Daniel and Jean Bosco - were being ordained to the priesthood, all had spent some time at Kristo Buase some ten years back to improve their English under the direction of Miss Monica Cowell. We were all happy that she was able to be present to share their joy. The following pictures have been loaded as a lightbox: if you click on them they will enlarge.

 

After the ordinations we headed straight home to be back in time for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, but in 1927 Fr Peter Harris and Fr Bernard Clements continued westward after returning to the Gold Coast. Their journey took them through Tumu, Lawra, Wa, Banda-Nkwanta, Sunyani, Techiman and finally back to Kumasi. At the end of it they made a report to the Bishop of Accra that the most promising areas for an Anglican Mission would be Lawra or Wa Districts. I found some documents in the Ghana National Archive which showed that the Government had assigned Lawra-Tumu district exclusively to the Anglicans for a mission. Bishop John Aglionby proposed to open two stations, presumably in the two principal towns of Lawra and Tumu, each with three European missionaries, one of whom would be a medical doctor. The projected starting date was about September 1931 (when the last six ordinands being trained by the monks would be ordained priest) but by April 1931 all the Anglican Benedictines had returned finally to England, two of them to retrain as Roman Catholic priests for Westminster Archdiocese. The Anglican northern mission ended before it had even begun and this north-western corner of Ghana, evangelised from 1928 by the Missionaries of Africa, is now a stronghold of Roman Catholicism.

The choice of Tumu may have influenced Captain R.S. Rattray, the Government Anthropologist, to make the town the base of his last eighteen months of anthropological fieldwork (1929-31) for his book "Tribes of the Ashanti Hinterland" before he returned to England on reaching the Colonial Service retirement age of 50. Rattray is still remembered as the author of several extensively researched studies on Ashanti culture. The first volume ("Ashanti", 1923) included two chapters on a research trip to our village of Tanoboase to visit the shrine of the river-god Tano. He was the first European to be allowed access to the Sacred Grove and the shrine of Tano in the rocks about two miles from our monastery. In fact he was a man of parts. He was one of the first to pilot a small aircraft across the Sahara from England to Ghana (landing at Tamale early in 1929; he was flying a Cessna Moth), and as the following photo shows, he was not averse to a bit of big-game hunting. This elephant-kill was in Volta Region, the easternmost part of modern Ghana.

Rattray occupied a semi-derelict bungalow, reputedly haunted by a friend of his who had died there of typhoid fever. There was talk also of the ghost of another British Colonial officer, "Fergusson", who appeared occasionally with a pack of lions. Rattray never saw them. I haven't had a recent opportunity visit Tumu but it was a pleasant discovery to find that the ruins of the old District Commisioner's house at Lawra are still standing alongside the modern residence of the District Chief Executive. The watchman allowed us to wander around. It would have been a fine house in its day. The monks recorded in their diaries of the trip that it was in this house, in January 1927, that they celebrated the first ever Anglican Mass in this northernmost part of Ghana.

Lawra is otherwise remembered as the place where Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of post-colonial Ghana was imprisoned during the struggle for independence. Sadly, in trying to preserve the memory of the place, the local authorities have destroyed the actual building and put up something looking rather like a mausoleum.

On the way back to Kumasi Fr Peter and Fr Bernard encountered some railway engineers at Banda Nkwanta surveying the route for a railway north. Ninety years on that project is back on the drawing board. Sometimes things move slowly in Ghana.

← Earlier posts

An American friend of ours, Herbert Schultz, provided funds for us to obtain for our monastic library seven works of St John Chrysostom, and two works of St Cyril of Alexandria.

In our area, this is the season of the Yam festivals. Our guest from Prinknash Abbey, Mary Jones, attended the Tuobodom Yam festival on 24th October. These two low resolution photos she took on her phone.         

There have been a few changes in officials at the monastery:

  • Brother Basilio is now Novice Master,
  • Brother Antony is Oblate Master.

Please pray for these brothers who showed a great spirit of obedience in accepting these tasks.

A number of priests have been here on retreat in the past two weeks. First there were two Divine Word Missionaries, working in Accra, then Father Daniel of the Goaso diocese, and finally Father Gabriel of the Archdiocese of Accra.

At present, we have a monastic guest from the Abbey of Koubri in Burkina Faso - Brother Anthelm. He is a very cheerful presence in the community, ever willing to help. He has no English and our oblate, Monica Cowell, is giving him classes in English twice daily.

2nd November, All Souls, is a day in where traditionally the whole monastic community gathers in the cemetery for prayers for deceased community members. At Kristo Buase, we gather in the cemetery for Midday Prayers, sometimes called Sext. We also bless the graves. Our cemetery is in a quiet grove and at its entrance there is a beautiful cross.

                                        

We continue to pray for you all, and ask that you do the same for us, especially in the lead up to the Presidential Election here in Ghana in December.

THE ELEVATION OF KRISTO BUASE MONASTERY TO THE STATUS OF A PRIORY SUI JURIS AND THE ELECTION OF A PRIOR (September 2016)

THE GOOD NEWS

On the eve of the 27th anniversary of the Kristo Buase monastery the news came that the Abbot President was about to sign the document which was going to confirm and declare the long awaited autonomy of the community, from the three founding houses in England and Scotland, becoming a Priory sui juris on 6th August, 2016. On the 15th August, the community went through the process of electing their first prior (this was conducted under the supervision of the Abbot Francis of Prinknash abbey). The chapter fathers had elected the first prior of the priory and he was in the person of Dom Bede Kierney of Pluscaden Abbey. There has to be a ceremony to install him. This was the responsibility of the Abbot Francis but due to travelling arrangements, he delegated his powers to the the Bishop of the diocese of Techiman, the resident diocese of the monastery. This ceremony was to be followed by a thanksgiving mass, which the whole community in accord with the prior elect had decided to celebrate in a grand style and this required the organization of the event in less than two weeks. All was set for the ceremony of the installation on 9th September; the Bishop Dominic of Techiman had been very prompt as usual hitherto he had promised 4:00pm therefore arriving in his full regalia at ten to four. The ritual began by the reading of the declaration to the hearing of the conventual house and was followed shortly with the oath of the prior elect. Afterwards the Bishop led Dom Bede to the chapel stool at the head of the other chapel stools purposely for the new prior of the new priory and installed him on the stool. The new prior then gave his speech; calling to mind that he was actually elected to serve and not to be served. The ceremony was ended with photographs in the cloister, while the Bishop thanked Dom Ambrose Flavell who had been very instrumental on the quest of the attainment of autonomy for the house.

THANKSGIVING MASS, 10th SEPTEMBER

This event was witnessed by people of all walks of life, from the dioceses of Techiman, Sunyani, Donkorkrom, Kumasi, Ouagadougou and beyond. The event was graced by the presence of the Bishop Dominic Yeboah Nyarko of the Techiman diocese who was the main celebrant and the Bishops, Matthew Kwasi Gyamfi and Gabriel Kumordzie, from the diocese and Apostolic Vicariate of Sunyani and Donkorkrom respectively and the V. Rev. Fr. Dominic Apee, president of the Ghana major superiors Association were all in attendance to con-celebrate. Also in attendance were the priests, monks and religious from Techiman, Sunyani , Kubiri and beyond, medical personnel, Government officials, the Armed and Police forces, Chiefs and Queen mothers, etc. After the start of the mass with the long procession, the V. Rev. Fr. John Kofi Takyi (vicar-general of the Techiman diocese) gave the welcome address, beginning with a monastic quote “the challenge the society poses to the monastic life is not due to it’s alienation from social fixtures but it’s concern for the salvation of the society”, he continued to state that “the spiritual and material growth of a society is always due to the existence of the church represented by a monastery or a priory”. He appreciated therefore the effort of all who had helped the monastery to this far, urging more people to seek solitude within the confines of the of the monastery, for the renewal of the their spiritual lives.

HOMILY

Bishop Matthew Kwasi Gymfi during his homily appreciated the weather (over cast), thanking God for how far he had brought the community, describing how the environment was at the time the monastery was inaugurated and noted that “the monastery was of an impregnable spiritual repute”. He actually went into a detailed explanation of an autonomous monastery and what the new status was to expect in the near future, exhibiting the depths of knowledge he had as regards to the monastic setting. The Bishop congratulated the monastery and commended all those both dead and alive whose effort and instrumentality had contributed to the immensely to this new achievement and in silence remaindered us of Dom Martin Simons, Dom Leo, Dom Bartholomew Banzie and Bishop Kwadwo Owusu, the formers who were superiors and members of the community and the latter the late Bishop of Sunyani. He then went on to acknowledge the Nana Amisare Dwomor 2 chief of Tanoboase for his generosity and that of his predecessor, for the vast land of which the monastery is proud of. He could not finish without the acknowledgment of the gigantic support of the three founding houses; Prinknash, Pluscarden and Ramsgate now Chilworth all in U.K., for their hard work and toil to nurture for this young child of theirs to its independence. The main focus of his homily was on: independent, inter-dependent and dependent. He explained each of these and the interconnectivity they all had with each other, therefore relating it to the new autonomous priory of Kristo Buase. He stated that the independence of the community was not to be taking as the independence of the individuals in the community but the brethren were now to live most especially in inter-dependency thus each one depending on the other in the community and not each going on their diverse ways, the brethren were he said were to remain in unity in order to be strong and be bound to the love of God, as Christ himself tells us “remain in My love”. “Each member of the community”, he said, “was not to listen to the rhythm of his own drum alone but to the rhythm of the others, for he who listens to the rhythm of his own does not avail himself to new ideas, the diversities and the acknowledgment of others, which will go a long way to avoid mediocrity, vain glory and the wallowing in our ignorance due to self centeredness”. His Lordship in his conclusion made reference to the edifices of the monastic communities he had visited so far, especially those of the three founding houses of Kristo Buase and how these buildings themselves emitted and demonstrated dialogue in a special way. He made mention of the monks’ unlike the other religious congregations, resistance of the trends of the times as unhealthy and their preference for the opposing side. He ended with congratulatory messages to the first Prior of the new Priory, V. Rev. Dom Bede Kierney OSB. and the whole community and with one voice with Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians1:1-3: Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has bestowed in us every spiritual blessing in Christ.

THE PEAK

The Bishops during offertory informed Prior Bede that he needed to be installed in the presence of all gathered and most especially in the presence of the Chiefs and the elders so that they could come forward to greet him, since this was something very peculiar in the Ghanaian setting that a chief does not stand to greet someone unless the person is elevated before him. Before the second collection the three Bishops installed Prior Bede of a Chiefs stool, sitting him down three time in the name of the Holy Trinity, then all came to greet him including the chiefs with his Queen mother and elders while the wonderful Dagaaba choir sang.

CONCLUSION

Rev. Dom Ambrose Flavell gave the vote of thanks, after the mass came to a close and yes he gave an extraordinary exhortation and a wonderful advice to the Prior, since he had experienced Kristo Buase as the Superior for many years. The party afterward, as now we call the reception of every great ceremony, was on point since there were provisions made for the refreshment and nourishment of all who attended the event. All left in great satisfaction, for they had been blessed by this wonderful celebration and the grace of God was now abiding in them. In the evening after the community said good bye to the oblates who came from Accra, as they were the last to leave, sat at recreation to savour the lasting sweetness of the wonderful event God had made possible through the wonderful organization skills of Dom. Gabriel Peh with the support and the cooperation of the community. The Lord has indeed been good to the community of Kristo Buase and as the psalm of the day stated: “I will bless your name forever, O Lord”, we are indeed thankful.