The Lepers’ Priest: A book on Fr Campbell launched

BY: Chris Nunoo
Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, a former Chief Justice, launching The Lepers’ Priest
Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood, a former Chief Justice, launching The Lepers’ Priest

A 194-page book titled The Lepers’ Priest which catalogues the 50-year stewardship of Reverend Father Andrew Campbell as a Catholic priest in Ghana has been launched at a ceremony at the Christ the King Catholic Church Hall in Accra.

The book, which was authored by Dr Maria M. Kuusaana, a lecturer at the History Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has six chapters encapsulating the selflessness, sacrifices, loving and caring lifestyle, as well as the humanitarian and social services of the retired Catholic priest.

It also highlights his priestly mission and other national duties as a full citizen of the country.

Rev. Fr Campbell, who was originally from Ireland, first arrived in Ghana in October 1971 as a Catholic priest, and has since served for five decades until he retired this year.

He has launched the Rev. Fr Campbell SVD Foundation, which would focus on and enhance the advocacy for the intervention on leprosy, street children, rural development and child health.

Presently, Rev. Fr Campbell takes care of nearly 1,000 people afflicted by leprosy across the country.

He has also been instrumental in the redevelopment project at the Weija Leprosarium, the renovations at Ankaful Leprosy General Hospital, the laboratory for leprosy and skin conditions at Wa, and the leprosy clinic at Kokofu.

Rev. Fr Campbell is also the brain behind the Christ the King Soup Kitchen, which serves one hot meal a day to street children.

Portrait

The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, graced last Friday’s ceremony, and described the book as “the brief portrait of the man christened ‘The Lepers’ Priest’ and one which represents the very essence of compassion and empathy”.

Rev. Fr Andrew Campbell (left), Founder of the Lepers Aid Committee, conferring with Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, during the event. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

He said Rev. Fr Campbell had made the presence of God manifest in the lives of many in the country by catering for humanity.

He, therefore, described the book as a masterpiece, touching, inspiring and uplifting, and urged everyone with humanitarian instinct to own a copy.

“If you have ever wondered about your purpose in life, if you have ever wondered about what good you can do to your fellow citizen, if you have ever wondered what you wish to be remembered for, read The Lepers’ Priest,” Dr Bawumia said, adding that Rev. Fr Campbell’s works “teach us that we can all elevate our humanity, throw light in dark corners to build our communities and together develop our country.”

He said: “We can help someone out of poverty and other hard situations when we take up a project like Rev. Fr Campbell”.

He further stated that the book provided a perfect description of Rev Father Campbell and also offered a valuable insight into the life of the Catholic priest.

Dr Bawumia, who is the patron of the newly launched Rev. Fr Campbell SVD Foundation, also expressed delight to be associated with the life and work of Rev. Fr Campbell.

Social interventions

Through his works in the past 50 years, Dr Bawumia said, “we have improved the fight against leprosy and made new discoveries in that area through a better collaboration with the National Leprosy Programme under the Ghana Health Service”.

“Surveillance has improved, case finding has increased and treatment has reached more people. He gives us hope that we can do more for the good of our people. Unfortunately, his mission met several obstacles in the past, but Fr Campbell’s resilience and the trust in God are his tools to overcome impediments,” the Vice-President added before buying 10 copies of the book for GH¢50,000.

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, also had copies for GH¢5,000.

Book review

In a review, the wife of a former Vice-President, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur, said the book is a biography of Rev. Fr Campbell.

She said it had stories of interviews with Ghanaians which sought to find out about how people knew Rev. Fr Campbell, while the cover photo, a picture portraying Rev. Fr Campbell and a cured leper, depicted the title of the book.

The author, Dr Maria M. Kuusaana, encouraged people to read the book, and said she would avail herself for any feedback to spur her on for future publications.

A member of the Council of State, Mr Sam Okudjeto, described Rev. Fr Campbell as a “living saint”.

He also commended the author for the initiative and said the book would serve as a testimony for future generations to know about Rev. Fr Campbell and his works.