Diss church extends warm welcome to Ghanian priest
The Bishop of East Anglia, Rt Rev Alan Hopes, has celebrated Mass at Holy Trinity Parish, Diss, with new parish priest, Father Alex Anaman, who arrived in Norfolk from Ghana in West Africa in August.
The Mass, at the town's Catholic Church of St Henry Morse, made official the welcome by the parish and diocese to Fr Alex, whose appointment follows Fr David Bagstaff's move to Bury St Edmunds.
“I expected to be going to Westminster diocese, but East Anglia got there first!” said Fr Alex. “When Bishop Alan accepted me I was sent to St John's Cathedral for a month and then I received my letter of appointment for Diss.
“I've lived in cities where life is always very fast. Norwich felt very calm and peaceful, and here… it's extraordinary! I'm enjoying it very much.”
Fr Alex grew up in Elmina in Ghana's Central Region, the country's home of Christianity. He was ordained in 1992 and worked as an associate priest before being seconded to the Ghana Armed Forces. He wore the uniform and served for 22 years, becoming senior Catholic chaplain. During this time he studied hospital chaplaincy in San Diego and New York, and completed his doctorate in theology and ministry in Chicago.
For the past three years, Fr Alex has been parish priest of St Catherine's in Ghana's capital, Accra, a parish with 2000 families. He is looking forward very much to working in a small community.
“I asked my bishop for a three-year sabbatical because I wanted to have a broader experience, to be away from my country and from military life, for fresh air. My first impression of Diss? It's brilliant! The community here is a real family, and I feel very welcome.
“I want to be a member of the family, and to enhance the spiritual and physical growth of the church here.”
Pictured top is Fr Alex Anaman outside the Church of St Henry Morse in Diss and, above, with Bishop Alan Hopes. Picture by Judith Tooth.