Two priests from the West African nation of Ghana have begun a multi-year ministry in the Diocese of Allentown.
Father George Osei Ababio, 33, (at right in photo above) has been assigned as assistant pastor at Holy Guardian Angels Parish, Reading.
Father Samuel Yeboah, 41, will be assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, West Reading; assistant pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, Reading; and Chaplain of Reading Hospital – Tower Health in West Reading.
They arrived in the Allentown area in late January – in time to experience their first snowfall — as part of a new cooperative arrangement between the Diocese of Allentown and the Diocese of Sunyani, Ghana.
As Catholicism grows in Africa, the Church there has been blessed with an abundance of priests, some of whom are sent to serve in other parts of the world. In the Diocese of Sunyani, there are 83 seminarians studying for the Priesthood.
The arrangement with the Diocese of Sunyani is intended to help the Diocese of Allentown increase the number of priests available to serve people here, at a time when the number of priests here is on the decline.
“I am grateful to Bishop Gyamfi and the entire Diocese of Sunyani for generously providing two priests for service in the Diocese of Allentown,” said Bishop Alfred Schlert. “It is my prayer that their ministry among us will bear much fruit in the lives of the faithful of the Diocese.”
Priests from the same Ghanaian diocese also serve in the Diocese of Scranton and elsewhere in the Northeast, and priests from throughout Ghana serve in many locations in the United States.
Father Ababio (pronounced uh-BOB-you) said his call to the Priesthood began with a strong admiration for the priests he met during his childhood and when he was in school and at Mass.
He was ordained a priest in December 2017, and has several parish assignments under his belt, as well as a stint as secretary for the Bishop of the Diocese of Sunyani.
Father Ababio is the seventh of 11 children. Asked if any of his siblings also are priests, he answers, “not yet.”
Father Yeboah (pronounced yuh-BOW-ah) has served as assistant pastor and as pastor in a total of three parishes in Ghana. He was ordained in 2015.
His main message to the faithful in Ghana is the same message he hopes to deliver during his service in the Diocese of Allentown:
“Keep your faith,” he said, “and never give up. Please continue to pray for vocations to the Priesthood and religious life.
“We must work to ensure that people do not lose their faith in God, that they do not leave God behind in their lives,” he said. “We must make sure that our Catholic faith is transmitted to those who come after us, and especially to children.”
Father Samuel Yeboah
Father George Ababio