By Gerald C. Koinyeneh
MONROVIA – In a heartwarming celebration marking his silver jubilee, Father Ambrose Kroma has ignited a sense of optimism and dedication among all Liberians, irrespective of their faith, urging them to nurture hope, serve their nation, and embrace their spiritual calling.
Exactly a quarter-century ago, on August 9, a young Liberian, who grew up in Buchanan and Monrovia, was ordained as a Priest of the Catholic Church. Father Ambrose Dayouga Kromah’s remarkable journey culminated in his ordination at the Sacred Heart Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Monrovia after completing his priestly studies in Accra, Ghana.
Father Kroma’s path to priesthood was not without hurdles. By the time he completed high school, he has already made up his mind to become a priest. He started in Liberia, but because of the war, he and his fellow seminarians located in Sierra Leone. When war broke out in Sierra Leone, he moved to St. Paul’s Seminary in Accra, Ghana. At the tender age of 24, he completed his studies at in the Ghanaian capital. However, adhering to established norms, he awaited his 25th birthday to officially assume his priestly responsibilities.
Reflecting on those challenging times during an exclusive interview, Father Kroma recounted how his studies in Ghana coincided with the turmoil of Liberia’s civil war. Despite the distance, he drew inspiration from fellow Ghanaians and other Africans who committed themselves to serving their nations. “At age 24, I had to wait for my birthday… It was incumbent on us to answer this call, to inspire people that were affected by the war,” he said.
Upon returning to Liberia, Father Kroma’s devotion to his calling took him to various corners of the globe, from Bomi to Rome, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where he furthered his studies and expanded his spiritual insights.
In his recollections 25 years on, Father Kroma paid homage to his parents, parishioners, and mentors including the late Archbishop Michael Francis and Father Gary Jenkins for their support and mentorship.
His tenure in Bomi under the mentorship of Father Gary played a pivotal role in shaping his character. Father Kroma reminisced, “Rural primary evangelization laid the basis of my work… Building churches and schools were the best activities of my days in Bomi.”
Father Kroma’s influence extended beyond his priestly duties. As the guardian of the St. Kizito Parish, he nurtured the congregation into becoming one of the Archdiocese of Monrovia’s largest Catholic communities. This thriving parish now conducts four Sunday masses and has been actively involved in community initiatives.
During the trying times of the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the ongoing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Kizito Parish stood as a beacon of support, reaching out to those in need. The church’s compassionate interventions, including assistance to orphanages and the elderly, exemplify Father Kroma’s commitment to serving humanity.
Acknowledging the collaborative efforts behind his accomplishments, Father Kroma humbly attributed the success of St. Kizito Parish to the blessings of God and the unwavering dedication of its parishioners. “I am only privileged and blessed to be a parish priest at this moment, working with all these beautiful people.”
Addressing both his congregation and the wider Liberian community, Father Kroma shared words of encouragement, saying, “Let’s keep hope alive. Do what you can do to make the change we want. Let’s play our small part. God will bless the work of our hands. The future is bright.”
The silver jubilee of Father Kroma’s priesthood drew heartfelt well-wishes from numerous parishioners of the St. Kizito Parish. Stephen V. Potter Sr., a senior member of the congregation, praised Father Kroma’s spirituality, his strong rapport with parishioners, and his adept administration of the church.
Cllr. Aagon F. Tingban, a parishioner who has witnessed Father Kroma’s transformative impact, commended his multifaceted abilities as a priest, administrator, and motivator. Tingban’s aspirations extended to envisioning Father Kroma ascending to the role of Archbishop of Monrovia, a testament to his profound influence.
As Father Ambrose Kroma celebrates 25 years of dedicated service, his journey continues to inspire hope, dedication, and a sense of purpose among Liberians from all walks of life.