By Paul Awortwi-Mensah
The Ghanaian Catholic Community in Worcester, Massachusetts in collaboration with Young Neighbors in Action (YNIA) recently held a cultural night at the St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Worcester.
The night saw members of the community joined by 72 members of the YNIA, drawn from St. Benedict Parish, Reading, Pennsylvania; Holy Cross Parish, Syracuse, New York; Holy Trinity Parish, Harvard, and St. Rose of Lima Parish, Northborough, both in Massachusetts in sharing ideas and exchanging cultures.
The night was interspersed with prayers and worship, poetry recital, dinner in different Ghanaian cuisine, dancing Ghanaian traditional dances as well as dancing to popular and latest Ghanaian High-Life, Hip-Life and Hip-Hop.
Young Neighbors is a Catholic youth program, that engages participants in Catholic Social Teaching and takes a Catholic approach to service, seeking to help participants serve people in real need, to help make a difference in the community.
It also provides direct and indirect service opportunities which are meaningful, allowing participants to learn more about social justice issues and see the effect their work has on changing lives.
In his remarks, Nicholas Obeng, President of the Ghanaian Catholic Community in Worcester called on parents not to relent in their efforts in teaching their children about their cultural heritage.
“Culture is something that you should not forget about, therefore, I urge all of you, both adults and young to take cultural issues seriously so that we can hand it over to generations to come”, he stressed.
Obeng expressed the hope that the youth in the Ghanaian Community will have exchange programs with the YNIA to learn more from them and vice versa so that they can all grow in the spirit of God to ensure that peace and justice prevail in society.
On his part, the Site Coordinator of YNIA, Kevin Browne said building relationships and breaking down barriers are an intentional part of the Young Neighbors program, adding that Young Neighbors in Action is more than just a week of doing service.
Browne explained that Young neighbors program is an intense, week-long service experience that provides the team with a mix of direct service, opportunities for learning and dialogue, cross-cultural sharing, community building, prayer, and recreation.
“Young Neighbors is a service-learning experience. Young Neighbors is about helping participants both deepen their commitment to the call of the gospel, and work for justice in our world today”, he said.
Browne, however, thanked members of the Ghanaian Catholic Community for hosting the cultural night in their honor and said “this experience will always be remembered by members of Young Neighbors”.