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INTRODUCTION City of God. Fr. Cmpbell

INTRODUCTION

 

What a title...sublime, majestic heavenly. It conjures up thoughts of a happy, joyful, fulfilling place of peace and joy with a loving and caring God. But in reality City of God is an oasis of loving, caring people bringing peace to the most deprived, marginalized poor in a filthy, toxic, smelly, deprived area of Accra called Sodom and Gomorrah. Within the past fifteen years, thousands of people, mainly from the North of Ghana, have migrated to this enclave. With little or no work in their home town, they come to Accra, thinking the capital roads were pawed in Gold and Silver.

Visiting City of God is an experience not to be missed especially after the rains, Ankle deep in mud; one has to abandon ones shoes or sandals. The blaring cacophony from the most powerful P. A. Systems is deafening preventing one from holding a reasonable conversation with a neighbour. The smell, sights above all the atmosphere is alive, active and electric.

The novel called City of God is written by Claudio Turina, a lay missionary from Venice, Italy. He portrays a vivid compelling picture of this heavenly oasis in the midst of filth and dirt. Claudio has spent time with Rev. Fr. Subash, a missionary priest who works full time at City of God ministering to the most deprived children in this planet. Claudio has immersed himself in assisting Fr. Subash in this little heavenly kingdom. Having encountered the problems, difficulties and seeing the way forward to assist these people he decided to put into writing in a form of novel, his experiences to raise funds for Fr. Subash and the City of God projects.

This novel centres around three people and is situated at the most toxic place on this earth. Two of the characters are a man and a woman brought up in this enclave and who each had been promised in their dreams a soul mate the Unknown had told them they would find. Having been blessed in obtaining an education, and having become successful in their studies and business, they feel drawn to the slums. After a spiritual encounter with a man of God, they feel obliged to do something about the conditions of Sodom and Gomorrah.

City of God is an experience that everyone should encounter. When you read this novel, you should feel the urgent desire not only to visit this slum but want to assist Fr. Subash in this wonderful apostolate to the poor and deprived.

Those of us who live in concrete houses with mosquito netting on our windows, with our bellies full, and cars to bring us to work, don’t really know how the other half of the world live. It is so easy to put one’s hand in one’s pocket and give money to a beggar for a worthy cause. But to visit that beggar at he lives, to what he eats, experiences of daily basis, his sleeping environment, would tell a completely different story. We are too easy to condemn, judge, criticize and shun the deprived in society. Have we ever sat down and had a heart to heart conversation with a leper, a prostitute, an ex-convict, prisoner, a street child, an HIV + patient? Rom. 12.13 tells us to make special friends with the poor. Have you a special poor person whom you assist regularly? Having a conversation with a needy person can utterly transform us to see things differently and help us not to judge but to act and do something positive for the marginalized and underprivileged. We sometimes act like armchair Christians by not getting out, rolling up our sleeves and getting down to help.

We should take Mother Teresa’s motto to heart...DOING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL FOR GOD. One day a man told Mother Teresa that what she was doing was like a drop on water in the ocean. Mother wisely answered him by saying that the ocean is better off because of that drop of water.

Be that drop of water. Delve into this novel by Claudio and experience the smell, sight, taste of most toxic place on this planet. Then go and existentially visit this haven of peace, City Of God in the midst of Sodom and Gomorrah and see how your life will be changed. Then go and do SOMETHIG BEAUTIFUL FOR GOD.

 

Most Rev. Fr. Andrew Campbell

P.O. Box CT 2110

Cantonments – Accra

GHANA

Prefatio Arch. Charles Plamer-Buckle

I am sure if you googled "Sodom and Gomorrah", you

would find quite a number of places so named around the

world; one such place is the biggest slum settlement in

the centre of the Accra Metropolis of Ghana. I first

heard of and visited this slum area during the 2005

Christmas season in the company of a St. Francis-like

Italian Franciscan Friar, by name Arcadio Sicher OFM

Conv., who had taken up living with and ministering to

the dwellers of Sodom and Gomorrah. It was a shocking

experience of extreme contrasts coming into contact

with very simple but beautiful people from different

parts of Ghana and from the West Africa subregion who

had been compelled by difficult social and dire

economic circumstances to eke out a living in those

atrociously insanitary environments and conditions of

life.

Overwhelmed by the spiritual beauty and deep community

spirit of the dwellers, we decided to change the name

of the place to City of God in the determination to

help bring these our brothers and sisters to a better

self-esteem of themselves, of who they each are in the

eyes of God and to empower them to gradually better

their sorts by the grace of the Holy Spirit. That is

how the project "City of God" came about.

Behind this novel of Claudio Turina is the very

challenging but equally fulfilling pastoral care and

ministry of some of our benefactors home and abroad,

men and women volunteers, youth and adults, missionary

and diocesan Priests and Religious Sisters, Catholics

and non-Catholics, Christians and of other faiths and

beliefs, etc., all of which are giving unfathomable

love and commitment, training in health-care and

sanitation, in fire-fighting preparedness, offering

night-school and ICT programmes in youth and adult

literacy and numeracy formation, beads-making, sewing

and other skills training for those willing, and of

course religious and moral formation, not forgetting

programmes of civic education to equip them with

knowledge of their social rights and responsibilities.

Let me thank Rev. Fr. Arcadio and other Religious

Sisters who started this ministry of the City of God.

I thank Rev. Fr. Subash Chattilappilly, a Missionary of

Christ from India for taking it up and inviting his

friend of long standing in social work Claudio Turina

to visit Accra and to help him minister to the

beautiful people in our City of God. I congratulate

Claudio for his infectious enthusiasm and persevering

spirit in writing this novel to bring the naked reality

and yet great big dream of this project to the world

out there.

Just google www.cityofgodaccra.com and know more. It is

a project worth your support and love.

Most Rev. Archbishop Charles Palemr-Buckle

Launch of Book "City of God"

1-      H.E. the Second Lady of Ghana, Mrs Matilda Amissah Arthur, on Wednesday 11 March 2015, in the Great Hall of the parish church Christ the King of Accra, has presented the book “City of God” of Claudio Turina. Was present quit a lot of people, more than 500 persons, among them all seminarans, pupils of City of God, religious sisters, brothers and many lay persons. The important income of the auction of the book is to sustain City of God. City of God “Peace Adult School” thanks all who contributed to organize the success of cultural event.    

 

The Apostolic Nuncio of Ghana visit on 10 march 2015

1-      The Apostolic Nuncio of Ghana on 10 march 2015, has visited our Polyvalent Centre “City of God, in the slum named Sodom and Gomorrah, famous for being the most toxic place on Earth, Agbobloshie, Accra.
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Tuesday 10 February 2015, inauguration of City of God

On Tuesday 10 February 2015, inauguration of City of God“Peace Adult School”, by the Second Lady, H.E. Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur. 

We thank our generous sponsor, the association TRE.CA.SMA of Trento-Italy, for the restoration of the school CTIY OF GOD.  

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11 March 2015

11 MARCH present. book City of God 1

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