By MEREDITH LYNCH AND PHIL SZOT, Special To The Bulletin | Published October 27, 2011
On a mission filled with joy and thanksgiving, Ghanian Bishop Joseph Francis Kweku Essien, accompanied by Msgr. Simon Assamoah, visited Blessed Trinity High School Oct. 11.
“We came to Atlanta to show our gratitude for the help of the BT community and parishes in the area,” said Bishop Essien. “The Blessed Trinity students, teachers and parents have expressed great love for Ghana. We want to continue to come back to strengthen the relationship between BT and Ghana.”
That love was shown five years ago when Msgr. Assamoah asked the high school community to assist with his dream of a 500-student residential Catholic high school for boys and girls in Ghana’s Wiawso Diocese. BT held a school-wide collection to help St. Joseph’s Catholic High School. Msgr. Assamoah returned to the West African country with a lasting connection and a $3,000 check.
Msgr. Assamoah, who served at St. Benedict Church in Johns Creek before returning to his native Ghana, opened the doors to St. Joseph’s in October 2008 with the help of the Atlanta-based group, Clap for Jesus, which was formed to help fund the building of the Catholic high school.
Frank Moore, BT principal, said the Roswell school was inspired by the priest’s dream.
“It was more than our pleasure to support Msgr. Assamoah in his mission to educate the children of Ghana,” Moore said. “It is no small feat to start up a school, and I cannot imagine how tough it must have been in a country that does not have the financial resources available in the U.S. Hearing him tell of the great poverty and conditions in his country was very moving. That first visit opened our eyes.”
Blessed Trinity held its second “Miracle Minute” Oct. 19 to benefit St. Joseph High School. This is a one-minute collection when the school’s students are given the opportunity to donate their own money to a designated cause.
Bishop Essien and Msgr. Assamoah started their day at Blessed Trinity by celebrating Mass and then taking a tour of the campus. All-school Masses are held in the gymnasium to accommodate the 970 students, faculty and staff as well as any visitors.
“It was my first experience in a gymnasium that large and I will never forget it. I was impressed with the number of students who received Communion. The students were very well behaved, and I hope that they really heard the message of my homily,” Bishop Essien said.
During his homily, Bishop Essien spoke of his experiences in Atlanta.
“I have seen big buildings, big schools, big cars, and big roads. However, I have only seen things from the outside, but I cannot see what is inside each person that I have met. The only thing that matters is how big your relationship with God is,” he said.
The bishop and priest from Ghana are on a two-month trip to Atlanta, where they met with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory and celebrated Mass at various parishes.
Bishop Essien hopes to come back to Blessed Trinity in the future.
“I want to see the students that have come from BT that are God-fearing people with good virtues and a high integrity. I want to see the growth of the school, but Monsignor and I also hope that some BT students come to volunteer in Ghana in the near future,” he said.
The bishop may get some Titan visitors sooner than he thinks. The BT principal said a mission trip is possible.
“We are in the beginning stages of organizing a mission trip to Ghana that we hope will become an ongoing event,” Moore said. “In 2006, we wanted to help get the school off the ground in a monetary way, but now that they have an established school, we want to help in a different way. Partnering with St. Joseph and the people of the Ghana diocese will not only be a fun experience, it will also be a spiritual experience for our students. Learning about a different culture, hearing about their challenges and difficulties, understanding poverty and want, will mean we are becoming closer to God and his true calling.”
Meredith Lynch and Phil Szot are the editors of The Titan Times, Blessed Trinity school newspaper.