Fr. Andrew Campbell
Fr. Andrew Campbell

Father Andrew Campbell, SVD: The "living saint" of Ghana's marginalised

For many, he passes for the description "Living Saint" but, he considers himself an unworthy servant of humanity. Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1946, his formative years were marked by a deep sense of empathy and a desire to alleviate the suffering of others.

Advertisement

After pursuing studies in Philosophy and Theology at St. Patrick’s College in the United Kingdom, he was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1970.

Mission in Africa

According to the book titled "The lepers' priest" by History lecturer, Dr. Maria Marciana Kuusaana of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Father Campbell's decision to embark on a missionary journey to Africa was influenced by his early readings and fascination with the work of Christian missionaries on the continent.

Despite the objections of his biological father, who preferred him to stay and minister at home, Father Campbell was resolute in his determination to serve in Africa.

His arrival in Ghana as a Catholic Missionary Priest in the Society of the Divine Word in 1971 marked the beginning of his lifelong commitment to the rejected and underprivileged in Ghana.

Fr. Andrew Campbell in his youthful days

Ghana, though not the first destination for SVD missionaries, held a special significance in the history of Catholic missions in Africa. The arrival of Fr. August Gehring and Fr. Alphonse Elsbernd in 1938 marked the inception of the SVD mission in Ghana.

Through their efforts, the Accra Mission was elevated to an Apostolic Prefecture in 1943 and later to the status of a Diocese in 1952, under the leadership of Fr. Adolf Noser.

The journey to Ghana was arduous, Fr. Campbell is quoted in "The lepers' priest" to have said. Call it a deadly voyage in a boat from Liverpool to Ghana for thirteen days.

Upon their arrival, the initial enthusiasm of Father Campbell and his companions gave way to feelings of despair as they confronted the stark realities of their new environment. Everything seemed different, including the food, and they found themselves in a whole new world.

Fr. Andrew Campbell receiving an award

Father Campbell exhibited resilience and quickly adapted to his new surroundings, unlike his counterpart who departed after a short period.

He was appointed to St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Osu, Accra where he would find his calling which is uplifting the marginalized and serving his community.

Over the years, Fr. Campbell's mission expanded to encompass various roles, including serving as the Youth Chaplain for Catholic Churches in Accra and later as the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

He retired as Parish Priest of the popular Christ the King Parish in Accra.

Fr. Andrew Campbell seated with persons suffering from leprosy

Awards and Recognition

Fr. Campbell's impact on Ghanaian society has been profound, earning him recognition and accolades both nationally and internationally. It is expedient to note that the awards and recognitions in the name of Fr. Campbell are uncountable. Here are a handful of some notable ones.

In the year 2000, then President J. J. Rawlings sent him a congratulatory message for his 30th anniversary of priesthood, acknowledging his dedicated service to the needy.

The following year, Fr. Campbell was honored with the prestigious Order of the Volta by President Rawlings, recognizing his outstanding contribution to the country.

His commitment to humanitarian causes was further highlighted when he received the Millennium Excellence Award for Foreign Personality of the Decade in 2005.

In 2018, he was the recipient of the Humanitarian Ghana Awards (MIGA), The Award was instituted by the recognition and endorsement by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, as well as the then Ghana Standards Authority (GSA).

In November 2020, the Governing Council and the Management of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) at Ho in the Volta Region of Ghana, on its 5th Leadership Lecture Series, awarded Father Campbell an Honorary Doctorate Degree.

Fr. Andrew Campbell receiving an award

The honour was done to him in recognition of his concern for the disadvantaged and the vulnerable in society.

Advertisement

On 4th April 2021, the Initiators for Change Foundation (IFC) recognized Father Campbell as the compassionate leader of the decade in a ceremony that was held to mark the tenth (10th) anniversary of the Foundation's establishment.

Fr. Campbell's philanthropic endeavors have included founding the Leper’s Aid Committee, aimed at assisting cured lepers through fundraising and initiatives to rehabilitate and economically empower them. His projects have ranged from setting up mills and poultry farms to soap and mat-making ventures, all aimed at providing sustainable livelihoods for the marginalized.

Legacy and Impact

In 1978, he opened the sacred Heart Paris Middle School in Accra and two years later, founded and opened the Sacred Heart Vocational Institute for poor and needy students in Accra Central.

He founded the Lepers Aid Committee (LAC) in 1993, consisting mainly of young people who devote themselves to the care of cured lepers in Ghana. LAC caters for the well-being, food, clothing, medical and domestic bills and even arranges for the burial of some deceased lepers.

Advertisement

Fr. Campbell's legacy in Ghana transcends awards and recognition; it is etched in the lives of the countless individuals he has touched. His compassion knows no bounds, and his dedication to serving the marginalized has left an indelible mark on society.

Fr. Andrew Campbell may humbly disavow the title of "saint," but to the countless lives he has impacted, he is nothing short of a beacon of hope and compassion.

We can only thank God for the gift of Fr. Andrew Campbell and his ministry in Ghana. God Bless You Father.

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...

0
Shares