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Parish's Year of Mercy effort helps clothe African children


Bishop Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi blesses clothes to be donated to children in his diocese of the Central African Republic by the Mercy Sews ministry of the Holy Mothers collaborative in Hanover and Norwell, Sept. 1. Pilot photo/Mark Labbe

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HANOVER -- Before blessing the 270 dresses made by the Mercy Sews ministry of the Holy Mothers collaborative in Hanover and Norwell, Bishop Dennis Kofi Agbenyadzi of the Central African Republic, expressed his gratitude.

"What you have done is going to bring so much joy," he said Sept. 1 in the activity center of Saint Mary of the Sacred Heart in Hanover, looking out at the hundreds of articles of clothing hung around the room.

"You might not meet them, but love crosses all the oceans. In love, distances do not exist. In love, distances are brought closer, and this love will also make you feel their progress," he continued.

The dresses, along with 233 t-shirts purchased by the ministry, are going to be given to children in the Central African Republic, particularly children of the pygmy populations there.

While he has served as a Bishop of the Central African Republic since 2012, Bishop Agbenyadzi is no stranger to Massachusetts. Prior to being named a bishop, he served as a priest of the Society of African Missions.

His assignment brought him to St. Mary of the Sacred Heart in Hanover, where he developed a friendship with Father Chris Hickey, pastor of the Holy Mothers Collaborative, which encompasses St. Mary of the Sacred Heart and St. Helen Mother of the Emperor Constantine in Norwell. That friendship has led him to visit the area almost every year for about a decade.

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