On the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of Sudan and a popular saint within the African community, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana, visited students of St. Raymond’s in the Bronx.
Archbishop Palmer-Buckle celebrated Mass with upper-grade students from St. Raymond Elementary School and a group of students from St. Raymond Academy for Girls in the parish church Feb. 8. The archbishop also met with students of Ghanaian descent who attend St. Raymond High School for Boys on the same day.
Parishioners also attended the Mass, which featured students of African heritage dressed in traditional cultural attire. As part of the ceremony, they brought flags to the altar to show the diversity of the student body. Following Mass, the archbishop visited the classrooms of the three St. Raymond schools.
Some 15 students of Ghanaian heritage were invited to a special assembly in the chapel of St. Raymond Boys for a presentation by the archbishop. St. Raymond Boys senior Kevin Adjei, who attended, told CNY, “It was good that he came to visit because I don’t know as much about my culture as I should. I was born here in America. My parents were born in Ghana.” He said the archbishop discussed his life in Ghana, including the years before he became a priest.
Kevin said that the archbishop seemed joyful during the visit. “He was very comfortable with us and spoke to us as if we had known him,” he said.
He added, “I think everyone should know their background and culture, regardless if they are born there or not. The visit was great.”
The archbishop’s visit was organized by the pastor, Msgr. John Graham, and math teacher Moses Alabi, who is Ghanaian.—