One of my favorite childhood memories involves thinking about the trips we used to take for summer vacations. My parents would get us kids ready and we would go for a road trip. I remember we usually would visit and stay with my grandparents in Brooklyn, New York. Sometimes we would go to other places like Florida or California or Galveston or South Padre Island. One of the observations one of my brothers made recently is that wherever it was it always was close to saltwater.
I just thought of that time I was sitting in a restaurant on the Atlantic Ocean -- in Cape Coast, Ghana, Africa. Archbishop Matthias Nketsiah visited Victoria with the five priests from his diocese, who now serve in our diocese. He invited me to come visit him in Ghana sometime. Little did he know that I would take him up on the offer so soon. I want to share with you some thoughts from my experience in Ghana, and I think this is almost like my postcard from a summer vacation for my brothers and sisters in Victoria.
I celebrated morning Mass at the Catholic Chapel of the University of Cape Coast. While the celebration of the Mass reflected African culture with beautiful, vibrant music and dance, at the same time the Mass was the same Mass as celebrated in every culture and language in the world. Let me give you a few of the similarities that I noticed. Before Mass, there was a group leading the rosary in English and Fante. Well-prepared lectors proclaimed the readings clearly and boldly. At the consecration, as I elevated the pre- cious Body and Blood for a moment several people prayed out loud “My Lord and My God.” As people came to receive the Eucharist they came with devotion for the Real Presence of Christ in the Sacrament. For all those who fully participate in the Mass this celebration is one of great joy and peace.
Looking back, that is one of the great joys of travel and vacation for me. I was able to be the only American in a thoroughly African Church, and even though my dancing is poor at best, I could offer it all in praise of God in the sacrifice of the Mass. As I prayed in that Mass, I prayed especially for all of you. My heart belongs to you, and I pray for you regularly.
May God bless you and your families. Again, I want to particularly thank each of you who have committed to pray the Rosary for the gift of peace in the world and for the family, I believe we can maintain our confidence in the power of this prayer – more than we ever know! Let’s keep each other in prayer.