SECAM: Cardinal Richard Baawobr infused the African Church with a new sense of optimism.
Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
Speaking on behalf of SECAM, Cardinal Ambongo -the Archbishop of Kinshasa in the DRC, eulogised Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr as a noble Shepherd.
“The entire Africa, the Islands, and indeed, the universal Church have lost a great and devout churchman, a selfless servant and a good Shepherd,” said Cardinal Ambongo.
Positions of substantial responsibility
The Vice President of SECAM said Cardinal Baawobr had always been entrusted with significant responsibilities in the Church.
“His Eminence, President Richard, who was born in 1959 in Ghana, held positions of substantial responsibility in the Church, serving as the first African Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers); in 2016, he was appointed Bishop of Wa (Ghana); on 27th August 2022, he was created the third Ghanaian-born Cardinal. On 30th July 2022, he was elected President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM),” Cardinal Ambongo said.
Something good was going to happen
For his part, Nigerian Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, who is also President of the Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) and a member of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, said Cardinal Baawobr infused the African Church with a new sense of optimism.
“Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr was a symbol of great hope to the Church in Africa… When His Eminence was elected by the Bishops of SECAM at the Assembly in Accra, Ghana, his joy at the acceptance injected a new dynamism into the life of the Church in Africa. Being an ever-smiling prelate, he exuded confidence and positivity. Everybody was encouraged that something good was going to begin to happen at a new level in Africa,” reminisced Bishop Badejo.
He continued, “Even from the conduct of his first and only Standing Committee meeting on that memorable evening, he expressed the desire to help SECAM recover lost ground in its pastoral and administrative obligations to the local churches and to help Africa participate effectively in the ongoing universal Synodal process,” Bishop Badejo told Vatican News.
Even in sickness, his mood was very high
Bishop Badejo further told Vatican News that he recently visited Cardinal Baawobr, who was recovering in Rome.
“I had the good fortune and privilege of seeing Cardinal Richard a few days before he actually passed away. He was staying at the Missionaries of Africa House in Rome. Though he was looking frail, his mood was very high. I was touched by his positive, optimistic mien, and he told me that he was quite eager to come back to work so that the assignments we had at hand would be completed. I am sure that he will be praying for us from heaven above. SECAM will have to forge ahead without its beloved new President. The work must go on with him on the other side. I know his smile and optimism will stay with us for a long time and keep SECAM going,” the Nigerian prelate said.
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