Brother Kenneth Goode is a Holy Cross brother from Ghana. He has always felt a special connection with God ever since he was a child, and has been a brother for thirteen years. He is the newest part of the St. Edward family after having visited our community for the last month and I had the pleasure to communicate with him about his life in the Holy Cross order.
What was your life like growing up in Ghana?
Life is an interesting adventure, irrespective of which part of the globe one finds him/herself. This is not much different from what I experienced growing up in Ghana. I come from a family of nine, including my parents. I have two elderly brothers and four sisters, making seven and quite a simple family. I am the last of the boys and number five in all, with two sisters coming after me. Our’s is a strong Catholic family and my parents did all that in their power to give us the best of Christian education and provided our basic needs. My Dad, Mr. Anthony J. Goode is a retired Educationist and my Mum, Mrs. Hellen Ama Goode, a trader, ensured that all their children were brought up in the Catholic tradition and that we never joked with our studies. To this end, family, prayers and regular Mass attendance was key in our family. In addition, my father adopted some other children and gave them a home and we all lived and grew together, some were family members and others were not.
Back then in Berekum, Ghana, where I was brought up, we did not have regular water supply so mostly, we had to go to the nearby stream/river to fetch water. Monday to Friday during school time was dedicated solely for school but on Saturdays, we will go to farm and work and bring food stuff home to augment the family budget. Sunday is for church activities after which we will go and play soccer till the time one needs to go and fetch water and prepare for the coming week. This is a normal routine, even today for most Ghanaian youth.
What influenced you to have a close relationship with God?
To most part, I owe it to my parents, as I already mentioned above. They formed me through the Christian principles and ensured that I do not change from it till I was of age. This strong Catholic foundation that my parents gave me and the support from them has contributed immensely to who I am today and hopefully to continue this union with God. Then I took an interest in my personal prayer life, meditation and willingness to serve other people. I wanted meaning in life. You know, life is a mystery to be lived in and not a problem to be solved. I needed to know more about God and who he is to me. Why I was created and find out what God wanted me to do with this my one life he gave me!
Why did you choose to join the brothers of Holy Cross?
As already stated in my introduction, as a child all I saw God calling me to do was to be a priest as I did not know anything about the Brothers of Holy Cross back then. I had made my plans to move to the Diocesan Seminary only for me to find myself in the Brothers High School. My father however, wanted one of his sons to attend his former high school so that there will be two in the family from the same school. So I could not go to the seminary. However, when I moved to the Brothers High School, I saw this wonderful family of Holy Cross, the communal spirit, self- giving and dedication coupled with the hospitality, I guess, I therefore fell in-love with the brothers. I equally wanted to belong to this community of brothers and family that prayed together, worked together and lived their lives together. I did not even fully understand all of it. I therefore saw a new strong desire and a calling so passionate to join them.
How have the Holy Cross values impacted your life spiritually?
I will simply say “Tradition goes on.” What I mean by this phrase is that, Holy Cross Spirituality continued from where my parents build me to and it was just at the right time. Our spirituality as Holy Cross is based on the Providence of God. Our founder, Blessed Basile Anthony Mary Moreau, gave us the spirituality based on the Virgin Mary and that of Abraham and his son Isaac, that God will provide. All my life, l live solely and entirely on the Providence of God. In addition, our constitutions has become for a guide for my path- where everything I do and my life’s work becomes a prayer. These values/charisms are so dear to me and practical that it essentially has become a guiding principle of my life. Remember what Fr. Moreau says in Christian Education that we should become not just people of knowledge but of knowledge backed by deep Christian values.
What exactly do you do to live out your vocation?
My life as a Brother of Holy Cross has seen me across borders of every sort. I have been involved in countless and diverse fields and ministries. Am a trained Accountant, however, I have had little to do with my chosen or trained area of study. I have been a teacher across the entire spectrum from early childhood, through high school to the University level. I have been a Formatter and director of Scholastics, Clark of work, building inspector, Vocations Director for nine years (primarily what I have done for the most part) and Diocesan Youth Chaplain for the Catholic Diocese of Sunyani, my home diocese. In the Youth Office, I served as Chaplain for High School Kids in Catholic Schools and those in Non-Catholic Schools. Also, I have served on various committees and boards. Currently, am preparing for us to open our new High School in Ghana, named St. Br. Andre High School. I will serve as the Business Manager, Admissions and PR and possibly teach AP Micro and Macro Economics and Accounting as well. Then off cause, am Brother to my other Holy Cross Brothers in the community where we pray together, share our time, resources and joys and challenges as well as heilng to building a just and humane society acting as men of Hope to bring. I take up a lot counselling sessions for so many people who come to see me for direction and advice and I get a lot of invitations to give talks and retreats to so many different groups and societies in and outside the church. So you see, I have been involved with a lot of activities as I intimated earlier.
What do you love most about being in the United States, more specifically St. Edward High School?
Huh, this question is loaded. There are a lot l love about America and St. Eds that it will take me a century to finish. But let me try to summarize. You have a beautiful country by all standards and almost every Ghanaian (not all though) will love to be in America. A well developed nation, you have almost everything going well for you. In specific terms, I like the Law and order in your country, the neatness, almost coming after Japan. Your country is well organized and you try to create room for all. The Education system for which am here to experience and hopefully go back and implement in our new school. The Financial system you have in place and well developed Primary and Secondary Financial Markets. A large continent built into states and the various time difference, an example being the Weather. I can go on and on and on. Most of these described above apply to St. Eds too, however, what makes St. Edward High School Unique is the Beautiful and all these wonderful people you have in your school. The Hospitality, respect for each other, classroom arrangements and the serenity with which the school culture and ethos is built and run is for me second to none. I have not stopped for one second in making it know to Br. David Martin, CSC, Ms. Carrie White and Dan both at Mission Effectiveness about how beautiful this school is. I remember when Dr. Frank O’Linn organized this workshop for the Staff/Faculty of the School on Formative Assessment, I took time to share with them this same feeling about the community you have here. The people that make St. Ed’s is just too much, from Administration way down to the Freshmen.