Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

English, MOI?

I asked a man in Piazza Republica in Rome, ‘Excuse me, sir, what time does the train leave?’ ‘Sorry, I don’t speak English, French,’ he answered curtly. Huh, he said he doesn’t speak English, but wasn’t what he just said English

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

1. We were passing by Osobeng Waterfalls, Asesewa, Ghana, which hurtle hundreds of feet into the depths below. Everyone wanted to stop to view such a majestic and beautiful scene. While with the altar boys now enraptured by the sight I remarked, ‘What a nice place to throw down misbehaving altar boys’. They stared anxiously at each other.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

 

Beaming from ear to new Bishop Dominic Nyarko Yeboah of Techiman, with whom I had spent my pastoral year, was giving me the sign of peace. ‘You are lucky I refused or else you would never have become a bishop,’ I whispered and that sent him thundering in laughter.

 

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

The marriage ceremony was set for 10:00 AM. By 12:30 PM a procession was in sight. ‘Here they are; prepare!’ I alerted the altar boys but the excitement died abruptly when, to our surprise, behind the choir we saw a coffin. It was a group of Methodists on their way to the cemetery to bury one of their members. Sympathy and laughter were quite hard to combine. Finally at 3:30 PM the bride and the groom came. And that was my first and last time to officiate at a wedding ceremony in Asesewa, Ghana. Not until did I know I could be that patient.

 

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

 

1. Split Loyalty

Father Joeker

Brother Marcus Hipolito SVD from Brazil and I were watching on TV the World Under-17 Football Championship in Ecuador between Ghana and Brazil. It was really exciting. Both teams were giving their best. Brother Marcus, naturally, cheered for Brazil. But in the middle of the game a Brazilian player pulled the shirt of a running Ghanaian player who was two steps ahead and poised for a perfect goal. At that very moment Brother Marcus cursed the Brazilian player for such a disgraceful act and immediately shifted his allegiance to the Ghanaian team. Would you call that ‘inculturation’?

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Bishop Donald Reece of St John’s-Basseterre, Antigua, now Archbishop of Kingston in Jamaica, during his visit to Ghana in 2007 was complaining that his emails wouldn’t go out. ‘See, Bishop,’ I cut in, ‘if you had used my Olympia typewriter, there would have been no problem’.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

During lashing rain and stormy winds at Essuom-Manya village in Eastern Ghana, the owner of the house hollered at me to close my door but I refused. I kept it wide open instead for a practical reason: if the mud house collapsed, I could easily jump out. It is a common happening here for mud houses to collapse with people trapped and buried inside.

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD

Father Bushman

Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. To give the impression that I too am a city man, I walked proudly and with confidence toward the door. Suddenly the door opened automatically. Frightened, I jumped backward, my other hand-carried bag dangling at my back. I looked around and saw people laughing and I nodded to them, apologizing with a smile, “Forgive the bush man from Africa.”

By Fr Joseph Panabang SVD


Ceiling is the Limit

I planted mango 27/7/89 
One goate died 3/4/90 
Adwoa was born 3/4/90 

I have discovered that above the ceiling in a Ghanaian house is an archive. No wonder when I would ask one of my catechumens about his date of birth, he would say, ‘I don’t know; our house collapsed’, an answer which at first seemed illogical but now I realize is sensible. Thanks to the cockroaches. 

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