Our chaplain, Rev. Fr. Leopold Adanle, in his zeal to further our formation, suggested to our group to do some days experience in Manigri, Benin. Later on, after the Provincial Council, it was agreed to go for the experience in Cape Coast, Ghana.
We had to leave our families to celebrate Christmas festivities far from our residences. Early the 21st December, 2020, Frank Amenyo and Justin Nougnui started the journey from their various areas to meet Christian Wotormenyo at Accra. From Accra, the three of us took a car for Cape Coast. Cape Coast is about 300 km from our towns. The Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Gnaha came to pick us from the lorry station to our station, St. Paul Catholic Church of Akonoma. The experience was in two aspects, with the Church Community and our CLM Community.
1. Experience with the Church Community
Our service was to revive the Church of Akonoma. We moved from house to house at the quest of the church members who have stopped coming to church. None of the three of us knew Fante, the local language of the area. Two of us could say very few words in Fante. We moved with an interpreter. We had the grace to visit some aged and sick members of the church and also from Akonoma’s community. After the house visitation, we planned meetings with the various societies of the church to form and consolidate them. We enjoyed the festivities of Christmas. On the 24th, 25th, 27th, 31st December, 1st January and 3rd January which were the Christmas vigil, The Christmas day, the feast of the Holy Family, the New year vigil, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and the Solemnity of the Epiphany, the population at church was encouraging. The Rev. Fathers, Bonaventure, Joseph and Anthony came one after the other for the various celebrations. The 31st night, new year vigil, School of Jesus, a society of children exhibited a night performance.
2. CLM community
Monthly, we had a meeting. But for this experience, the three of us had the time to live together.
a. Prayer life
We had our daily schedule. We prayed the Laudes in the morning, read the daily Gospel with a commentary, a Life History of St. Daniel Comboni written by Bernard Ward. After the breakfast, we had our indoor or outdoor activities. At 12:30, we had lunch followed by siesta. In the afternoon we had activities, at 6:30 we prayed the Vespers, ate. Every day before the Night Prayer we reflected upon the day activities and planned for the following day.
b. Division of labour
We cooked ourselves, served the meals and washed the bowls. We fetched water ourselves sometimes, other times, the youth helped us. Each one has a responsibility, Mr. Wotormenyo the team leader, Mr. Amenyo the bursar and Mr. Nougnui the secretary.
c. Vocation promotion
We spoke about the Comboni Family in general when we met some active members of Akonoma. We laid emphasis on CLM, who they are, the requirements to be CLM, the activities of CLM. We did the same thing when we attended the parish Liturgical Committee meeting. We also took the opportunity to visit a group of Friends of Comboni at St. Paul Catholic Church of Nkanfoa. As it is now in our province, being a member of the group of Friends of Comboni is one of the requirements to aspire to CLM. We chatted with the members and encouraged them to move further to CLM. We promised to be in touch with them for the way forward.
d. The neglected
The visit from house to house showed us the reality of the neglected and the abandoned. Some aged and sick persons were a little bit forgotten. In order to continue the Caritative aspect of the Church, we created from the Church Committee the Welfare Committee. Its role is essentially to look for the sick, to find “the lost sheep” and also to assist members who are bereaved.
We are so grateful for the opportunity given to us. We thanked the Provincial Council, our Chaplain, the parish priest of St. Paul Catholic Church of Nkanfoa, the church community of Akonoma for helping us respond to our vocation. This missionary experience strengthened our faith and motivated us to continue our journey on the footsteps of St. Daniel Comboni.
Justin Nougnui, CLM coordinator.