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Rev Antony Buaful: embracing the joys of monastic life

Archbishop Jason Gordon will preside at the priestly ordination of Reverend Antony Buaful OSB, 5 p.m. Thursday, September 10 at Our Lady of Exile Abbey Church, Mt St Benedict, Tunapuna.

Abbot John Pereira OSB told Catholic News on advice of the Archbishop in Ghana, the Prior of Kristo Buase Monastery, from where Rev Antony comes, asked if the priestly ordination can be done at the Mount.

“Rev Antony was due to be ordained as a priest on 19 July in Ghana, but it had to be put off on account of the closing of the borders due to COVID,” Abbot Pereira explained.

Rev Antony will serve as a priest at Mt St Benedict until the borders are reopened.

Abbot Pereira shared that the ordination Mass will be livestreamed on Facebook, primarily for the benefit of his monastic community and family members in Ghana.

Persons can view the ordination ceremony via https://www.facebook.com/Johnaebp

 

About Reverend Antony Buaful OSB

Antony Benjamin Buaful was born November 10, 1983 at Koforidua in the Eastern Region of Ghana in West Africa to the late Benjamin and Mary Buaful. He did his basic education in Greater Accra and secondary education in the eastern part of the country while his tertiary education was in the Ashanti Region. Rev Antony had been an active altar server in his home parish which, he shared, has been one of the catalysts for his religious calling.

His first visit to Kristo Buase monastery was in 2005. There he was introduced to monastic life by a friend who had just left the postulancy formation of the monks. The challenge of a friend leaving and his having to go and experience it for himself was not an easy task. Rev Antony’s first encounter was a weekend experience and however brief the time, it left a deep impression on him.

He was resolved to follow this way of life as if a flame of love had been enkindled in him. After “quickly” expressing his desire to the monks, he visited for other experiences lasting a week or more and finally was accepted to the postulancy. He completed his novitiate formation in Kristo Buase (Ghana), juniorate in the Pluscarden Abbey (Scotland) Chilworth Abbey, Prinknash Abbey and St Michael’s Abbey,   all   in  the   United   Kingdom.

Rev  Antony began his priestly studies in 2014 at the Spiritan University at Kumasi (Ghana) with philosophical studies for three years while residing in the community of the Missionaries of African Community. Upon completing his studies, he was offered the opportunity to do a three-year BA in Theology at The University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, while residing at Mount St Benedict Monastery. He completed his theological studies at the seminary in June.

Rev Antony shared that the Abbot and monks at the Mount have been very helpful and supportive, and not forgetting the loving people of Trinidad and Tobago. He added that he has always enjoyed being a monk though it comes with its own challenges just like any other serious venture. The first challenge was leaving his family and comfort zone (family and friends).

Of the priesthood, Rev Antony said “I had always felt attracted to the priesthood as a young boy. Although I had the strong desire and calling to the priesthood, I was ignorant of the fact that there were differences between the diocesan priesthood and religious (and religious life has many charisms).”

In his quest to know more, a friend named Francis “patiently explained”  the differences. “The explanations offered increased my zeal to embrace monastic life most especially having heard of their communal way of living, contemplation, prayer, life just to mention but a few.”

A visit to Burkina Faso made him see more to monastic living which “increased” his quest to live beyond what he had seen. Kristo Buase has only five monks and seeing a bigger community of monks gave Rev Antony “a different picture” to his local reality where he was the youngest monk among older confreres.

“Having said that does not mean the monks in Ghana were not living a good monastic life. The challenge is having more monks and being exuberant as compared to older monks whose energy is dwindling.”

It is a dream of Rev Antony that Kristo Buase would one day become like Koubri  in Burkina Faso, or like the Prinknash and Pluscarden abbeys in their very early days.

“This has been one of the factors that keeps me hoping each day. I would be an ingrate if I do not appreciate the contributions of formators and abbots who have been strong pillars and support in this journey. I equally acknowledge my indebtedness to my confreres who have always been there for me in both challenging and joyful moments.”

As Rev Antony looks towards his ordination, he gives thanks to God for friends and family who support him daily with prayers and support. “I would forever be grateful to anybody who hears about my journey of formation and that of my Community and is willing to support both spiritually and physically towards the growth of the monastery. God richly bless you all.” —KJ

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