Archbishop Emeritus Peter Kwasi Sarpong’s 90 Years Odyssey
When asked to write about the life, achievements, accomplishments, and profound influence; locally and worldwide, of Archbishop Emeritus Peter Kwasi Sarpong on his historic 90 years of his life on earth, the first thing that came to mind was a Bible verse in John 21:25 that says: “If all that Jesus did and said were to be recorded, there would not be enough space in the world itself to contain all the books …”
Such is the scenario of the phenomenally monumental life of Archbishop Emeritus Sarpong: If all his life, accomplishments, achievements, teachings, profound influences, and untold knowledge in the endless arenas and the universalities of Spirituality, Culture, Politics, Science, Socio-dynamics; etc., etc., etc., were all to be recorded, no house in the world would be big enough to contain all the books that could be produced!
Again, another Bible verse came to mind: Isaiah 55:10-11: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return empty, but accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
Such is the scenario of the profound endless flow of knowledge, teachings, and inexhaustible writings by Archbishop Emeritus Sarpong, who, was once described by one of his colleague Bishops as a “walking encyclopaedia!”
A prolific writer, author, columnist, speaker, teacher with thousands of works to his credit, his words mystically hone in and penetrate to sow enlightenment and perfectly fulfils its objective.
One, after reading his writings, comes out feeling a sense of ‘coming out from a dark room into a lighted room;’ and one’s mind becomes un-fogged, awakened, and as if suddenly aroused from sleep!
Not only are his writings brilliantly scholarly and educating; they are imbued with a certain sense of truth and light that shatters one’s delusion and ignorance.
Insatiably enjoyable, his writings are systematic, poignant, and full of such profound detail that it captures one’s attention while possessing a certain distinct mystical light that illumines to fulfil its objective.
Having a mystical controversial birth and possessing unquestionable mystical divinity, he is often touted as a veritable embodiment of the Biblical Peter Kephas Simon (P.K.S.), and providently also mystically possess the same initials as Peter Kwasi Sarpong (P.K.S).
Again, often touted as a veritable embodiment of Moses, he also mystically possesses the same name given at birth as it relates to the controversial birth as Kwasi Mose.
A once upon a time Komfou-to-be who providently turned Catholic Priest, he is again often touted as a veritable part-embodiment of the legendary Komfo Anokye, and his kinship with the Otumfuo is akin to inseparable twins to the extent that he was once accused of running Asanteman with the Otumfuo.
Archbishop Emeritus Sarpong uniquely combines the Church with Tradition to produce Enculturation par excellence that have benefited thousands of Missionaries, Priests, Chiefs, and Traditional Priests, the faithful worldwide, and people of other religions, faiths, and cultures.
Moreover, Archbishop Sarpong not only preached the message of God, but he also worked to preserve and promote the Ghanaian and African culture. He was approached to serve on the Charter Committee of General Acheampong's government in 1974, but he declined.
Some concerned statesmen and politicians even approached him to persuade him to become the Head Of State, but he declined again.
He is, without a doubt, a fine gentleman who exhibited a considerable degree of dignity mingled with meekness, moderation, assertiveness, respect, tolerance, and intelligence.
Born in Offinso, Ashanti on 26th February 1933, ordained Catholic Priest in 1959 and appointed Bishop of Diocese of Kumasi (which then consisted of all of Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions combined) in 1970 when he was only a youthful 37 years old! In 2002, he was appointed Archbishop; and he attained Archbishop Emeritus status in 2008.
Fr. Michael Boahene reminiscing his childhood encounters says that Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong was a down to earth rural apostolate with profound love and care for the people and their welfare and existence.
Whenever he came on Pastoral visits to the villages, he would always go first to greet the Chiefs and Elders of the village, and he humbly slept in the modest huts with the people; and to date most of the bore holes providing water for the masses in the region were all done by the then intimately called “Nana Kwasi Sarpong.”
With profound love for all, both young and old, he would always gather the children around him and personally teach and intimately interact with them as if his companions. His profound humility and simplicity were mind-boggling!
A peacemaker par excellence, in addition to his work in the Catholic Church, Archbishop Sarpong was also involved in a number of interfaith initiatives, including the National Peace Council of Ghana, which seeks to promote peace and reconciliation between different religious and ethnic groups in the country.
In addition to his work in Ghana, Archbishop Sarpong was also involved in a number of international organizations. His work on the global stage helped to bring attention to the important issues facing developing countries and to promote solidarity and cooperation between different nations.
Archbishop Sarpong is fluent in several languages, including English, Italian, French, and Twi, etc. His multifarious cultural and linguistic abilities have helped him to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and has served as a bridge between different cultures and religions.
The Arrupe Jesuits in a recent article referred to Archbishop Emeritus Peter Kwasi Sarpong as evidently one of the (all time) brainiest academics in Africa and the World; and the most cited social anthropologists in Ghana, Africa, and the World at large.
Shortly after his ordination in 1959, he made his way to Italy where he obtained a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from St Thomas Aquinas University, Rome, in 1962, and a Doctorate degree in Sacred Theology in 1963. He also obtained a Diploma in Anthropology and Master of Letters (M.Litt.) in Social Anthropology from Oxford University, England in 1965.
He has written over 1,000 books and articles on Anthropology, Theology and African Culture, among others. His articles are published in different national, continental and international journals.