Source:Dr Mark Kutame/ Mr. Steve DeiThe St. Ambrose Catholic Church was the scene of a colorful installation ceremony for Fr. John Owusu-Acheaw, CSSp on Sunday, December 14, 2014. The ceremony started at 10.30 A.M. with a traditional Catholic Mass officiated by the Most Reverend Bishop Perry, Episcopal Bishop of Vicariate VI in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The ceremony started with a procession of the members of the Parish Pastoral Council, Eucharistic Ministers, lectors, mass-servers, a retinue of priests, Bishop Perry and the Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, a priestly order. At the head of the procession was a girl dressed in traditional Ghanaian clothes carrying an “apotoyowa” which contained the coals used for burning incense. The procession was accompanied by music provided by the combined choirs of the Ghanaian Catholic Community and the St. Ambrose African-American community singing “Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow”.
Following the readings and the gospel, the rite of installation was initiated with a declaration by the Bishop commending Fr. John as the new pastor of St. Ambrose. The congregation expressed their approval with a resounding applause. The new pastor then led the congregation to recite the Nicene Creed after which he swore the oath of fidelity to the church and the Pontiff. After receiving the oath, the Bishop gave his homily.
After the homily, there were several presentations. The presentations were led by two beautiful Ghanaian teenage girls dancing to “adowa” music to the admiration of the congregation. Immediately following the “dancing doves” was the presentation of the Parish clergy, Parish Pastoral Assistants, the Parish Council, the symbols of office and the presentation of the keys to the Church. Other presentations included the gospels, the priestly stole, holy oils, the baptismal shell, a copy of the Parish Council by-laws, the collection basket, and finally the presentation of the bread and wine with which the Eucharist is celebrated.
Present to grace the occasion were Baba Samori, President of the Ghanaian Council of chiefs,
Rev. Dr. Nunoo, President of the Ghanaian Council of Churches,Rev Kwasi Amponsah Yeboah of the Ghanaian Community Church ,Mr Reuben Hadzida a formal President of the GNC and also representing the Ghanaian community church, Togbe Addo, Chief of the Ewe Assoction of Chicago, Togbe Bedzo of Akatsi traditional area and his linguist Togbe Avokpo, Mr. Timpo former President of both Ghana National Council and the Ewe Assoc of Chicago, Mama Esi Ador- Dumanu, Gladys Naykene and Abena Bredu representing the Ghanaian Presbyterian Church and Sister Angela from Ghana Father John Owusu Fr. John Owusu was born in Sekyedumase, a village in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, on June 28th, 1956. He was the third son among four children born to his parents, Kofi Owusu-Ansah and Elizabeth Atwima.
His early education at the St. Hubert Catholic Primary School and St. Hubert Seminary from 1975 until 1980 prepared him for his calling. He entered religious life in 1984 and had his first profession in 1985 in the Gambia, West Africa. In 1992 he had his final solemn profession. His seminary formation in the Spiritan School of Philosophy, Isienu, Nigeria, and the International School of Theology in Enugu, Nigeria in West Africa started after his first profession in 1985. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 25th, 1992 in Kumasi, Ghana by the Archbishop of Kumasi, Rt. Rev. Peter Kwasi Sarpong.
Always one seeking opportunities to develop his priestly skills, between October 2009 and January 2011, he successfully completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) to prepare him for hospital ministry beginning with his first unit at William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan, (CPE Unit 1), continued on to the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University, (CPE Unit 2), and then returned to the William Beaumont Hospital to complete CPE Units 3 and 4.
He is currently pursuing further studies at the Chicago Theological Union (CTU).
Pastoral and Ministerial Experience
Fr. John’s first appointment was in Nigeria at the Saint Peter and Paul Parish where he served as parochial vicar for two years. He became pastor from 1995 until 1997. He was then transferred to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church where he served from 1997 until 1999. During his tenure in Nigeria, he helped pay for the education of three parishioners one of whom later became a priest.
After seven years of Ministry in Nigeria, he was asked by his provincial to pastor a parish in Kumasi, Ghana in September 1999. He became pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, Bantama, Kumasi for ten years from 1999 until 2009. During these years, he was elected as Senate Member of the Presbytery Council for the Archdiocese of Kumasi, Ghana. In Bantama, as the first Ghanaian Pastor, he had oversight for over seventeen outstations. He built churches for some of the outstations.
In May 2009, he was transferred from Ghana to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Detroit, Michigan where he served as parochial vicar for 2 years. In November 2011, the need arose for a priest to minister in Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church, Hemet, California, and so he was tasked to take over responsibility of the church as Parochial Vicar. He served for two years. During his two year tenure, he visited homes ministering to the sick and homebound, administering the sacraments to those who could not make it to church, and listening to their concerns and providing spiritual counseling.
In October 2013, the Provincial Superior asked him to come to St. Ambrose Catholic Church, Chicago to take over as administrator and later as pastor of the parish.
Fr. John’s hospital chaplaincy ministry began in September 2002 at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana until May 2009 when he moved to the United States. He continued his ministry at the William Beaumont Hospital from October, 2009 until May 2010. After a short stint at the Detroit Medical Center from September to December, 2010, he returned to the William Beaumont Hospital in January 2011 when he moved to Hemet Valley Hospital, California until October 2013.
Fr. John’s ministerial objectives are to bring comfort and support to the sick, bereaved, health personnel, and individuals in hospital settings and beyond. He is a compassionate priest, always looking for opportunities to minister to the sick and dying and those needing comfort.
Following the installation ceremony in the church, a reception was held in the school hall which was beautifully decorated in traditional Ghanaian kente cloth. The congregation was treated to a menagerie of Ghanaian dishes and African-American cuisine. Prince Eddie Alormele, DJ extraordinaire, treated members to scintillating music. It was a ceremony to remember for all time!