Gustav Kpeyibor, SJ – Vatican City
Centenary celebration of Servant of God, Cardinal Dery
Archbishop, Naameh has called for personal commitment and determination, especially towards empowering women. He made the call recently at the Jubilee Park in Tamale, situated in the northern region of Ghana. This was during a Mass to mark the centenary celebration of the life of Servant of God, Peter Cardinal Porekuu Dery.
Servant of God is a term used for individuals In the Catholic Church who are being investigated by the Church for possible canonisation as a saint. It is the hope of most Ghanaians that Cardinal Dery may become the first Ghanaian recognised as a saint of the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Dery promoted the emancipation of women
During his homily, marking the centenary celebrations, Archbishop Naameh spoke about Cardinal Dery’s efforts to inculturate the Gospel within his Dagao ethnic culture, especially towards the payment of expensive dowries that enslaved women to their husbands.
Thousands of the Christian faithful, from across the country as well as dignitaries from government and Ahmadiyya Muslim community of the Tamale, attended the two-day celebrations.
In his address, Ghana’s Northern Regional Minister, Salifu Saeef, representing the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, praised Cardinal Dery for his lasting legacy of passion for integral human development and peacebuilding in the region. He further called on all Ghanaians to adopt the virtues of Cardinal Dery.
For its part, the Bishops of Ghana said Cardinal Dery was a “unifier and a peace-maker who always fought for justice through his ministry” and epitomised the teachings of Christ as the Good Shepherd. Cardinal Dery established many schools and hospitals that catered for the wellbeing of Ghanaians irrespective of their backgrounds and social status.
Muslim community praise Cardinal Dery
A representative of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission called for religious tolerance among Christians and Muslims in the spirit of love as exemplified by the life of Cardinal Dery during his lifetime.
Peter Cardinal Porekuu Dery was born in Wa, Ghana in 1918. He became the first Bishop of Wa Diocese from 1960 to 1974 and later served as the Apostolic Administrator of Tamale from 1972 to 1974. He was made the Bishop of Tamale Diocese from 1974 to 1977 and served as the Archbishop from 1977 to 1994 when it was elevated to the status of an Archdiocese. He also served as the President of the Ghana Episcopal Conference from 1982 to 1988. He was created Cardinal in 2006 by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. He died on 6 March 2008. The cause for his canonisation commenced in 2013, and he is now referred to as a Servant of God.