Bishop Bambera, center, poses with seven international priests from Ghana who are currently serving parishes in the Diocese of Scranton following the celebration of Mass on Aug. 1, 2022. (Photo/Dan Gallagher)

SCRANTON – In less than one week, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, along with Father Gerald Shantillo, Vicar General, and Father Brian J.T. Clarke, Director of the Pontifical Missions Office for the Diocese of Scranton, will begin a journey that will take them more than 5,000 miles from home.

The trio will travel to Africa, participating in a pastoral visit to the Diocese of Sunyani in Ghana.

For many years, the Diocese of Sunyani has generously shared its priests with the Diocese of Scranton. Currently, there are seven priests from Ghana ministering in the parishes of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania.

“It really means a great deal for me, on behalf of the clergy and the faithful of our diocese, to go to the Diocese of Sunyani and to share with their bishop and with all of their people, our deep gratitude for their presence here. It’s a sacrifice to travel halfway around the world and to live in a land that you don’t necessarily understand and know as well as your own home,” Bishop Bambera said.

On Aug. 1, Bishop Bambera invited all of the priests from Ghana who are currently serving in the Diocese of Scranton to join him in celebrating the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton.

As he reflected on the day’s Gospel from Saint Matthew, where Jesus multiplies the loaves and fishes, Bishop Bambera expanded on the importance of the Eucharist and all priests who make it available to the people.

That includes our brothers from Africa who so generously minister among us.

“We give thanks for all those priests from Ghana and throughout other parts of the world who are generous enough to share with us their ministry, to keep the Eucharist alive and available to all of our people,” the bishop said. “In turn, nourished by the sacrament of the Lord’s Body and Blood, each one of us can go forth and proclaim our belief in the Kingdom of God.”

Bishop Bambera, Father Shantillo and Father Clarke will be on their pastoral visit to the Diocese of Sunyani from Aug. 10-19. During the trip, Bishop Bambera is scheduled to celebrate several Masses with the faithful of the Diocese of Sunyani.

Depending on communication capabilities, Bishop Bambera plans to send updates home to the Diocese of Scranton regarding his visit as often as possible. Those messages will be shared with the faithful of the Diocese on the Diocese of Scranton website and social media channels.