African archbishop visits Suffolk

Published 9:15 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

A Catholic archbishop from Ghana will celebrate mass twice this weekend at St. Mary of the Presentation Catholic Church on South Broad Street.



Archbishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, 56, is in town visiting Father Emmanuel Mensah, the priest at St. Mary of the Presentation. Both are from Ghana and attended seminary together, Mensah said.

The main purpose of his trip to America, though, was to visit and encourage priests in the Virginia dioceses who hail from Africa.

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“I will be very grateful to the community” for the visit, Anokye said. “I am more than happy they are so good to receive me. I will bring a greeting of joy, a greeting of hope, a greeting of opportunities.”

Mensah is excited to have Anokye celebrate mass at St. Mary of the Presentation, he said.

“The bishop’s mass is more important to us” than mass by the priest, Mensah said. “We are very happy to have a visiting bishop to encourage us — his wealth of encouragement based on the Scripture and also the sacrament of the Eucharist, which he is going to celebrate for us.”

The Eucharist is known in Protestant traditions as communion or the Lord’s supper.

Anokye was ordained a Catholic priest in 1988 and was appointed in 2003 by Pope John Paul II as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Kumasi. Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the Diocesan Bishop in 2008, and in 2012 Anokye was appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi.

Anokye is the president of CARITAS Africa, an arm of CARITAS International, of which he is the second vice president. The canonical organization promotes service to the poor.

His priestly motto is “You received without charge, give without charge,” drawn from Matthew 10:8.

Anokye said his talk this weekend will encourage parishioners.

“We believe and it is true that God will always have the last word; goodness will always have the last word,” he said. “Hope does not disappoint.”

Anokye will celebrate mass at St. Mary of the Presentation, 202 S. Broad St., Saturday at 5 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m.