The Catholic Bishop of Wa, the Most Rev. Richard Kuuia Baawobr (Missionaries of Africa [M. Afr.]), has expressed appreciation for his nomination as a Cardinal by Pope Francis, saying it is a call to service.
“I did not expect this. I was in Rome a couple of days ago and nothing of this came up. I am grateful to Pope Francis for the honour done me and Ghana,” he told the Daily Graphic Sunday (May 29, 2022).
The Most Rev. Baawobr was yesterday named among 21 Catholic priests who had been nominated as Cardinals by the Pope after he had recited the Regina Coeli prayer.
He will become the third Ghanaian Cardinal, after the late Cardinal Peter Dery and His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson, who is currently Chancellor of both the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
The Most Rev. Baawobr said he was ready to accept the challenge, adding: “It is not about titles but a call to serve God’s people.”
When asked if he would be leaving the shores of Ghana for Rome, he said: “I do not know if I will leave or stay.”
He asked the lay faithful to pray for him and other leaders to deliver on their mandates to serve them better.
The new Cardinals are expected to be inducted at a consistory on August 27, 2022.
The other nominees are Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, United Kingdom; Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, South Korea; Fernando Vergez Alzaga, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, Spain; Archbishop Jean-Marc Aveline of Marseille, France; Archbishop Peter Okpaleke of Ekwulobia, Nigeria; Archbishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner of Manaus, Brazil; Archbishop Filipe Neri António Sebastião of Rosário Ferrão of Goa e Damão, India, and the Most Rev. Robert Walter McElroy of San Diego, United States.
The rest are Archbishop Virgilio Do Carmo da Silva of Dili, East Timor; Bishop Oscar Cantoni of Como, Italy; Archbishop Anthony Poola of Hyderabad, India; Archbishop Paulo Cezar Costa of Brasília, Brazil; Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye of Singapore; Archbishop Adalberto Martínez Flores of Asunción, Paraguay, and Archbishop Giorgio Marengo, Prefect of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Five of the nominees — Archbishop Jorge Enrique Jiménez Carvajal, Archbishop Emeritus of Cartagena, Colombia; Archbishop Lucas Van Looy sdb, Archbishop Emeritus of Ghent, Belgium; Archbishop Arrigo Miglio, Archbishop Emeritus of Cagliari, Italy; Rev. Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, Italy, and Monsignor Fortunato Frezza, also of Italy — are more than 80 years.
The Most Rev. Baawobr was ordained priest on July 18, 1987 and became the Bishop of Wa on May 7, 2017.
Born in Tom-Zendagangn, Ko, in the Nandom District of the Wa Diocese on June 21, 1959, he had his primary education at Tom-Zendagangn from 1965 to 1972, and continued at the St Francis Xavier Minor Seminary in Wa from 1971 to 1977 and later at the Nandom Secondary School for his Sixth Form education