BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Catholic community is welcoming a new priest to the area.
Father Edward Tetteh, SVD, arrived at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Buckhannon on June 18 to serve as pastor at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, pastor at Sacred Heart Chapel in Pickens and chaplain at West Virginia Wesleyan College and St. Joseph’s Hospital/WVU Medicine.
Tetteh will replace Father Joseph McLaughlin, who is moving to California for his next assignment after more than four years with the church.
Tetteh said his road to Buckhannon began in Ghana more than 20 years ago.
“I was ordained in Ghana, and I am a member of the SVD – Society of the Divine Word Missionaries,” Tetteh said. “I am from Ghana, which is on the West Coast of Africa. My first Profession of Vows was on Aug. 6, 1996 in Nkwatia Kwahu, Ghana and my Ordination was on July 28, 2001 at Accra, Ghana. At that time, I was assigned to the Chicago Province.”
Some of the parishes where Tetteh has served include St. Elizabeth Parish, which is the first African American Parish in the Archdiocese of Chicago and Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd Parish in Trenton, New Jersey.
“I was a counselor at Family Guidance Center in Joliet, Illinois and helped with weekend pastoral duties at St. Anselm Parish in Chicago,” he said. “I was pastor at the Parish and served there until May 31, 2018.”
Next, Tetteh spent a year at the SVD Miramar Retreat Center in Duxbury, Massachusetts before serving at St. Anne Parish in Webster Springs, West Virginia.
Tetteh earned a B.A. in philosophy and religion from the University of Ghana, his master’s degree in community counseling from Rider University in New Jersey and an education specialist degree in counseling services from Rider University. He is a licensed professional counselor, a certified grief recovery specialist and is certified as an anger management specialist.
He said he is excited to have been assigned in West Virginia because he feels the state is so beautiful.
“I come from Ghana, and I am from a farming area. It is a small area, but people reach out to you there to greet you even if they do not know you,” he said. “West Virginia reminds me of where I come from – people reach out to you here. Boston, New Jersey and other areas I have been in the United States are completely different. People there are very nice, but they have to get to know you. In West Virginia, people do not know me, but they still reach out to you and greet you.”
Tetteh said being in the beautiful mountains with the beautiful scenery ‘brings him closer to God.’
“It is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,” Tetteh said. “I put pictures up on my Facebook and people ask me where I am, and I tell them West Virginia – it is almost heaven. I am blessed to be here.”
Tetteh said he has served as a priest for 19 years and 24 years as a religious leader.
“Every day, for me, I am learning, and people just have to be patient,” Tetteh said. “Every part of the country is different, and every diocese is different. I am here to serve, and I want to have a perfect community, and I will build on the life the Marists left for us. I am blessed that folks reach out to me.”
Father Tetteh’s hobbies include reading, fishing, walking and gardening, according to Holy Rosary’s Facebook page. He loves to play soccer but, as he puts it, “old age has caught up with me so now I watch soccer games!”
“Please, be assured of my daily prayers for you and your loved ones,” Father Tetteh wrote to parishioners. “Kindly remember me also in your daily prayers that we will continue to let the light of Christ shine in our communities. Please do not hesitate to call or email me with any concerns you or family may have, especially during these challenging times of our health pandemic and political unrest.”
Fr. Joseph McLaughlin, SM, served for four-and-a-half years at Holy Rosary Catholic Church and has moved to San Francisco for his next assignment. Pastoral Associate Brother Roy Madigan, SM, has moved to Elkins for a six-month sabbatical after serving nearly 15 years at Holy Rosary.
Holy Rosary Catholic Church is located at 35 Franklin St. in Buckhannon and those with questions may call 304-472-3414. Masses at Holy Rosary are held Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Reconciliation is available on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or anytime by appointment.
Tetteh is available by calling Holy Rosary at 304-472-3414, his cellphone at 609-510-1090 or by email at Tettehed@yahoo.com.