ACCRA, Ghana — Divine Word Father Andrew Campbell, pastor of Christ the King Parish in Accra, called on young people to join the Society of St. Vincent de Paul so they can gain a greater appreciation of a vocation serving the poor.
“Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love, hence the need to encourage the youth to join the group to give support to the poor in their small way,” he told about 300 Vincentians from Ghana who gathered July 6 at St. Thomas Aquinas Church at the University of Ghana in Accra for the society’s annual meeting.
Poor, sick and need people are the treasures of the church and they should be shown much empathy and love, said Father Campbell, who is national spiritual adviser to the society.
The priest called on the society’s members to follow the footsteps of St. Teresa of Kolkata, who recognized the dignity of poor people, so that they do not feel abandoned. He challenged the Vincentians to seek marginalized people on the streets and in their parishes.
He also encouraged society members that as they devote themselves to the practical works of charity, they can also counsel prostitutes, lepers and people living with HIV and AIDS.
In a separate presentation, Bishop Joseph Afrigfah-Agyekum, of Koforidua, Ghana, urged all Catholics, and Vincentians in particular, not to give up in extending their charitable acts to the needy and poor people in spite of the financial challenges.
Members’ charitable works, he explained, carry on the ministry of the society’s patron, St. Vincent de Paul, who showed unconditional love to people in need, he said.
Bishop Afrigfah-Agyekum explained that the biblical texts on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy reflect Catholic social teaching in their fullest, saying that the virtue of mercy was deeply rooted in and evoked by God.