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.
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 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.
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.