PARISHIONERS of Our Lady Star of the Sea have gathered to celebrate the contribution to the community of the second Ghanaian priest to have served as parish administrator.

After eight months in the role, Fr Clement Ajongba, who succeeded The Rev Augustine Bobi, is being transferred to Livingston.

Fr Allan, who is originally from the Philippines, has now assumed the role, having held his first Mass on Sunday.

Fr Clement’s move marks 10 years since his ordination.

Speaking during his last celebration of Sunday Mass, Fr Clement thanked the parish for the welcome and support he had received in the town.

He said: “By your lives and inspiration you have helped me to know and understand who Jesus is, and to reaffirm my calling as a priest on my 10th anniversary.”

Thanking the young altar servers, Valentina and Max, for their “great and wonderful” contribution, Fr Clement asked the congregation to join him singing the hymn I, The Lord of Sea and Sky.

READ MORE: North Berwick church welcomes its new priest

Speaking on behalf of all present, Billy Dunn, member of the parish council, read from a card sent by parishioner Beverly to Fr Clement.

She noted that this “fine priest’s presence in North Berwick” was a reminder that “all are part of the universal church” and that, while there was much sadness at Fr Clement’s departure, his move to a larger parish, with more young people, meant he could bring his gifts and act as “a guide to young and enquiring minds”.

At the end of the service, Fr Clement thanked parishioner Jackie for arranging a special offertory of fruit and other foods, the traditional Ghanaian practice of sharing food from home, as a way of supporting the priest.

To loud applause, Fr Clement also introduced his sisters, Bridget and Vida, nephews and nieces, and all joined a celebration in the parish hall featuring a specially designed cake.

In lieu of a leaving gift, the priest had invited anyone who wished to donate to a special collection for seminarians in Ghana for whom he had been responsible, and was pleased to announce that a four-figure sum had been raised.

Geoff Smith, chairman of pastoral council, said afterwards: “After an inspiring eight months with Fr Clement, we will all miss his sincerity and commitment to our North Berwick parish.”