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.
Every year we go on the Krobo Mountain pilgrimage near Agomanya, Eastern Ghana. Confession is held in the open. After the confession of one young lady, the wind suddenly blew away the big silver umbrella I was using. The young lady was about to run for it when I held her hand and said, ‘Just watch!’ Luckily the umbrella got entangled in the branches of the tree opposite us. Grabbing a golden opportunity, I started, ‘You see, you are just like that umbrella, easily blown by the wind of pleasure.’ She looked at me in shock and burst into tears. Firmly I commanded, ‘Now, go and pick it up!’ As she gave back the umbrella while wiping her tears, I continued with fire, ‘Confession is exactly like that: picking yourself up again. Now, go and sin no more.’ I could not but imitate the Master. Never before did I see such a remorseful face with dogged determination to change indeed.
During our co-workers’ party on 19 December 2008 at the bishop’s residence in Koforidua, I was collecting left-over bones. Reaching our bishop’s table, I opened my black bag and begged, ‘Anything for the poor and the needy?’ At once Bishop Joseph Kwaku Afrifah-Agyekum put his hand into his pocket to give me some money when I clarified, ‘No, Monsignor, I mean bones for my dog.’ He was bubbling with laughter.