A bishop close to his priests and his people
In his homily at the Mass on Monday, 5 December, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Bishops since 2010, underlined some of the virtues of Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr, such as his great spirituality, his missionary spirit and his remarkable intelligence.
A thoughtful zeal to proclaim eternal truths.
Cardinal Re outlines the various stages of the life of the Bishop of Wa, from his birth into a Catholic family on 21 June 1959 in Nandom in the Lawra District of Ghana to his death on 27 November 2022 in Rome.
Cardinal Re emphasized that Richard Kuuia Baawobr’s life is marked by a spirit of initiative, organisational skills, and a thoughtful diligence in proclaiming the eternal truths of the Gospel, with the language and style of the new times. He also understood that the missionary commitment of the Society of Missionaries of Africa should not be limited to Africa but should also be extended to countries with a Catholic tradition, which were in need of the Word of God and of a revival in the renewal of faith and Christian witness.
With him went a very significant figure of “the African bishop“.
In 2016 Richard Kuuia Baawobr was appointed bishop of Wa by Pope Francis; he was a pastor close to his priests and his people; always available to meet and say a word of kindness to those around him. He knew deeply “the responsibility that lay upon him by virtue of being a successor of the Apostles”. Last July, the plenary assembly of the episcopate of Africa and Madagascar elected him as its president, emphasised Cardinal Re, and affirmed that “with him disappears a very significant figure of the ‘African bishop'”.
The dean of the college of cardinals also emphasised that “this unexpected death, although it has caused consternation, is part of God’s inscrutable plan, mysterious but always inspired by love and strengthened by the immortal certainties of faith.
Commitment to mission in a spirit of openness.
In July 2020, the Holy Father appointed him as a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. This was the beginning of a close collaboration with the Apostolic See. In many situations he was seen as an industrious protagonist with a great sense of responsibility, a desire to do good and driven by an innate missionary spirit,” Cardinal Re continued. The Bishop of Wa was engaged in intense pastoral activity, with a view to a future at the service of the Church and humanity. Cardinal Baawobr gave much and seemed to promise even more. But “God’s ways are not our ways“, concluded Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re.