Books blessed for new seminary in Tanzania

by Gary Adornato

Wherever the Friars serve, ministering to the poor and spreading the Gospel of the Lord, there is always the need for vocations. As the Light of Christ sparks in lands where our Franciscan ministries exist, men of God do hear the call to service with our order and enter formation.

This wonderful phenomenon amplifies our ability to serve and creates a greater foundation of understanding and trust within mission communities when they are served by their native sons.

Of course, the education of a friar, especially those preparing for the priesthood takes years and a substantial financial commitment.

In the East African nation of Tanzania, where the Conventual Franciscan Friars have a thriving presence with the St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe Custody, the Friars have opened a new seminary.

The Conventual Franciscan Formation House is under the patronage of Blessed John Duns Scotus, one of the most influential Franciscans in the field of philosophy and theology.

According to Fr. Everest Nyaki, OFM Conv., a native son of Tanzania currently studying at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., there are 58 young men in various stages of formation presently studying in the new facility.

In late January, Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., Minister Provincial of the Our Lady of the Angels Province and Fr. Everest blessed a shipment of Theology books being donated to the new seminary by the Companions of St. Anthony, at the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, Maryland.

“As we prepare to send this shipment of books to the friars in Tanzania, where these books will be used in the formation of future friars of the order and future servants of the Church, we commend this whole shipment to the love and protection of the Holy Mother of God,” said Fr. James during the blessing.”

In his blessing, Fr. Everest directly thanked the Companions of St. Anthony for their generosity.

“Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of life you have given us, and we thank you for the American province Our Lady of the Angels and all the Companions of St. Anthony for their generous heart. May you God continue blessing them, and bless our Provincial, Fr. James, and all the leaders of the province, for they are good hearted in saving other countries to be united in this world as one family.”

Fr. Everest also revealed plans to expand the facility.

“In the future, we expect to have more students who will be studying at the Jordan Catholic University college, which is few miles away from our house of formation,” said Fr. Everest. “There is a plan to have more than 10 students, who will be residing at that house of the formation while benefiting from the books that the Companions donated to us with a generous heart.

“The current house only accommodates nine students. There are nine sleeping rooms, a dining room, a small kitchen, a chapel, and a recreation room. Our plan is to build a new wing that will have about 30 to 40 rooms for our students who will be studying at Jordan University College. We are looking for some help from the well-wishers and all who are willing to help us in the formation and accompanying these future Conventual Franciscans and religious priests in the Church, for God’s service and humanity.”

For those who wish to help support the education of young Friars in Tanzania, and across the globe, possible with a small donation to help defer the cost of this shipment of books, we invite you to click on the link below and offer a gift. As always, we thank you for your support.

Click here to make a gift to help defer costs for the shipment of donated books to Tanzania.

Gary AdornatoBooks blessed for new seminary in Tanzania
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Our Friars in Tanzania need your support

A water project and the construction of a new formation home for young friars are critical needs of our missionaries in this East African nation

Gary AdornatoOur Friars in Tanzania need your support
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Lavender, Laughter and Love

St. Anthony of Padua Playground and lavender production helps the Friars deliver joy and hope to the poor of Romania

Gary AdornatoLavender, Laughter and Love
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A bridge to health

Funds urgently needed to repair Asuley Bridge, the only access to Jema Nyameakola Hospital

Gary AdornatoA bridge to health
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Planting a better future

Friars fund the St. Maximilian Kolbe Forest project to battle land erosion in Burkina Faso

Gary AdornatoPlanting a better future
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Sustained impact

The word “impact” conjures up the thought of two objects colliding or an event which makes a sudden impression, causing a major effect on someone or something.

It is a little more difficult to visualize the concept of “sustained impact,” which may or may not arrive abruptly, but nevertheless carries vast influence that continues for a long time, growing in its ability to affect us, and others well beyond us.

The story of Kofi Nyarko, and his interactions with the Franciscan missionaries in Kofi’s native land of Ghana, West Africa, is truly one of sustained impact.

Prior to meeting Brother Vincent Vivian, a Franciscan Friar Conventual with the Our Lady of Angels Province, in 1987, Kofi was a 13-year old boy suffering from leprosy. He had the disease nearly his entire life but did not know it. However, Brother Vincent, who arrived in Ghana as a missionary a decade earlier and had devoted his life to serving those afflicted with leprosy, recognized it right away.

He took Kofi into a home he had established to care for children with leprosy and got him the medical attention which cured him of the terrible affliction.

Sudden Impact

A young Kofi Nyarko, in 1987, when he first met Br. Vincent, a moment that saved and changed his life, making it possible for him to go on to impact countless others.

Over the many years that followed, Brother Vincent continued to care for Kofi and other children of Ghana, providing all the medical attention they needed, as well as educations and the chance for new lives.

Brother Vincent’s desire to serve and care for the sick was embedded in him when he was a child, even younger than Kofi was when he met him.

Vincent’s twin brother, Richard, was ill much of his life and would spend months at a time in the hospital. Vincent was inspired to care for his brother and even dreamed of becoming a doctor, solely for the purpose of providing care for him. As he grew older, he came to admire the life of St. Francis, and realized that the saint had done “everything that is important to me.”

Kofi today, in his role as a world health executive working to eradicate leprosy throughout the world.

As he grew towards adulthood and pondered what to do with his life, he knew it would be a life of service. Initially he thought of the Peace Corps, but he also wanted to offer his service to the Lord. This brought him back to the life of St. Francis and the realization that he was called to religious life with the Franciscans. He joined the order and finished a nursing degree.

The impact of those he witnessed providing health care services to his brother, as well as the example of St. Francis, were bearing fruit. He volunteered to serve in his Province’s new mission in Ghana, thinking he would be there to care for older Friars. Not long after arriving in Africa, he learned of a hospital devoted to caring for leprosy patients and he felt compelled to visit.

“It was so unbelievably horrifying to see the way those human beings were left to live,” said Brother Vincent, in remembering that first visit. “But yet something was drawing me there. I knew this was where I needed to be. I was home; I was home with them. And that was the start of the beginning.”

Through his work, Brother Vincent helped save the lives of countless children in Ghana. Many of those stories are unknown, but in the one story we do know, Brother Vincent planted the seeds for a man who would devote his life to working with international health agencies, traveling the world to help eradicate leprosy. As incredible as that all is, we know it goes much further, with the influence of those Kofi has helped, impacting others.

Sustained Impact

A young Br. Vincent examines a boy, hospitalized with leprosy, in Ghana, West Africa. Br. Vincent and Franciscan missionaries throughout the world have had a sustained impact on the poor and sick, while spreading the Word of the Gospel across the globe.

Wofa, which means uncle, as Br. Vincent was known during his time in Ghana, crosses a rope bridge in one of the local villages.

The story of Kofi and Brother Vincent is detailed in the video featured below. It also shows the touching reunion the pair shared last year when Kofi made a visit to the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, Maryland, after not seeing each other for many years.

The two pored over hundreds of old photographs from their time together in Ghana and Kofi shared the inspiring work he has done to educate children and families, all over the world, that leprosy is a curable disease. He has worked to strike down the stigmas attached to the disease and to pull those afflicted out of hiding to seek a cure and return home to their families.

We all remember the story from the Gospels of Jesus’ miracle of the loaves and fishes. Taking five loaves of bread and two fish, supplied by a young boy who was part of a large crowd which gathered to hear him speak, Jesus offered thanks to Heaven. He then broke the food and gave it to his disciples to distribute. More than 5,000 ate and were satisfied and, afterwards, the disciples picked up the leftover pieces and filled 12 baskets.

God continues to work similar miracles all the time, and he works them through us.

The story of Kofi is a perfect example of this.

Working through a single Friar, the Lord helped a young man from a poor village in Ghana, get diagnosed and cured. That boy, now a grown man, is now doing the same thing for thousands of others, who in turn, may be multiplying the impact further than anyone could have imagined.

And, with your support of the Friars, you may be supplying the loaves and fishes from which the next miracle will be formed.

“When someone made a donation to the Friars back in the 70’s or 80’s to support mission work, they could have never imagined how much good would have come of it,” said Joseph Hamilton, Director of Mission Advancement for the Franciscan Friars Conventual, who works to raise funds to support the work of the Friars. “Maybe a donor sought to support the building of a mission facility, to help feed the poor, or contribute to the formation and education of young friars native to our missionary countries. In the end, however, all of those pieces supported the overall success of our missionaries and directly contributed to the story of someone like Kofi Nyarko. Now that’s sustained impact.”

Please enjoy this very special video and then consider clicking the following link to make a donation to the Franciscan Mission Association. Support the work of Friars like Brother Vincent and help save the next Kofi.

It’s a gift that will provide sustained impact.


Gary AdornatoSustained impact
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With your help, the Friars dig three new wells in Ghana!

It is with great excitement and gratitude that we share the good news that we have successfully completed the Wells for Ghana project! With the help of a challenge grant from a generous benefactor, the many friends of the friars were able to turn one well into three!

Last fall, the Franciscan Mission Association appealed to our friends and benefactors in the United States to help us provide clean drinking water to villages in Ghana, West Africa.  As Fr. Emmanuel explained in the video we shared, many villages in Ghana do not have a source of clean drinking water nearby. Children must often walk miles to the nearest water source, first thing in the morning. Tired from the walk and carrying a heavy load of water, these children are often too tired to perform well in school, or miss going to school entirely. Knowing the importance education plays in lifting people out of poverty, the Wells for Ghana project settled on three sites essential to growth and education in Ghana.


The first well is at the Center of Hope for God’s Children in the eastern village of Yendi. Operated by the Medical Sisters of St. Joseph, the Center of Hope is an orphanage serving poor and abandonded children.

The second well was dug at St. Anne’s Primary School in the village of Bongo on Ghana’s northern border with Burkina Faso. Serving over 600 children in Kindergarten through the 8th grade, St. Anne’s Primary School can now provide clean water for health and hygiene to all of its students.

The third well was installed at St. Ambrose College of Education in Dormaa Akwamu on Ghana’s western border with Ivory Coast. St. Ambrose was established in 2009 by the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani, serves 588 students, and is one of 40 public colleges in Ghana.

With full hearts, and on behalf of all those you’ve helped in Ghana, we thank you!

Joseph HamiltonWith your help, the Friars dig three new wells in Ghana!
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FMA welcomes Friar Adam Klag to the US this summer

The Franciscan Mission Association welcomes Friar Adam Mutebi Klag, OFM Conv. to the United States this summer. As part of the FMA’s summer mission preaching program, Friar Adam will visit numerous parishes of the Our Lady of the Angels Province promoting the work the Friars do around the world.

Friar Adam was born and raised in Poland where he first encountered the Friars. After entering the Order in Cracow, Poland, professing vows as a Franciscan, and being ordained a priest, Fr. Adam became a missionary in Uganda. As is the local custom in Uganda, when an outsider comes to live with them, he is given a local name. Upon his arrival, Fr. Adam was given the name “Mutebi” by His Grace Cyprian Kizito lwanga, Archbishop of Kampala.

Fr. Adam currently ministers in Uganda where he is pastor of a church in Matugga, about 12 miles of the country’s capital, Kampala. Besides serving over nine outstation churches, his parish educates over 3,000 children in nursery, primary, secondary, and technical schools. About 700 of these children are supported through generosity of benefactors in the USA and other countries.

Like St. Francis, Fr. Adam preaches the Gospel everywhere—promoting Franciscan missions in the United States and abroad.

Joseph HamiltonFMA welcomes Friar Adam Klag to the US this summer
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FMA Ships Books to Seminary in Ghana

In the presence of Our Lady of the Angels Province Definitors, Novice Christopher M. Fernández, and Franciscan Mission Association (FMA) staff members Reilly Gates and Joseph Hamilton, our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry and our Province Secretary, Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, blessed nearly 6,000 philosophy and theology books bound for the Order’s seminary in Accra, Ghana. Collected over the course of three months through the FMA office in Ellicott City, MD, these books were donated by friars, friaries, and ministries across the country as well as Diocesan friends of friars.

This book drive for the seminary in Ghana has exceeded our book drive two years ago for our seminary in Sri Lanka! The FMA thanks our many benefactors who helped make this shipment possible!

Joseph HamiltonFMA Ships Books to Seminary in Ghana
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