Pope grieves for “wise and gentle pastor” Cardinal Baawobr
By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Tuesday expressed sorrow for the death of Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr, Archbishop of Wa, who died unexpectedly in Rome on Sunday evening.y
In a telegram in which he extends his heartfelt condolences to the Cardinal’s family, to the Missionaries of Africa of which he was part, to the clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Wa, the Pope said he is grateful for the Cardinal’s faithful witness to the Gospel, “marked by generous service to the Church in Ghana, especially to those in need.”
The Pope’s telegram concluded with words of comfort for all those who are mourning the late Cardinal’s passing in the sure hope of the Resurrection and with his apostolic blessing “as a pledge of consolation and peace in Jesus, the firstborn from the dead.
Created Cardinal in absentia
Richard Kuuia Baawobr, Bishop of Wa, Ghana, was created a cardinal on 27 August in absentia. He had arrived in Rome the day before but was unable to attend the consistory due to illness. He was hospitalised and spent more than two months in hospital. Only a few days after leaving his hospital room, Cardinal Baawobr passed away on Sunday, while still in Rome.
Priest, missionary and cardinal
Born in 1959, Cardinal Baawobr joined the Society of Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in 1981. As a religious, he took the missionary oath on 5 December 1986 at St Edward's College, London, and was ordained a priest in Ghana on 18 July 1987.
He studied theology at the Missionary Institute in London, and then biblical exegesis. He obtained a Licentiate in Scripture and a Doctorate in Theology, specialising in Biblical Theology.
Successively he was then curate of a parish in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, formator from 1996 to 1999 of the Missionaries of Africa in Kanhangala, Tanzania, and then director of formation at the Chambre des missionnaires d'Afrique, in Toulouse, France.
He was the first African priest to be elected Superior General of the Society of Missionaries of Africa in 2010.
Bishop of Wa since 2016, Pope Francis named Richard Baawobr a cardinal on 29 May 2022 and elevated him to that rank on 27 August of the same year. On 30 July 2022, he was elected President of SECAM, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, during the 19th plenary assembly of this continental body held in Accra, Ghana.
College of Cardinals
Following the death of Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr, the College of Cardinals consists of 225 cardinals, of whom 126 are electors and 99 are non-electors.
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