Ghanaian Cardinal-designate to Head Symposium of Catholic Bishops in Africa and Madagascar

Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr (center), Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu (left) and Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula (right) elected SECAM President, First Vice and Second Vice President respectively on 30 July 2022. Credit: ACI Africa

The Ghanaian Cardinal-designate, Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr, has been elected President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

The Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Wa Diocese who was named Cardinal on May 29 was elected Saturday, July 30, the eve of the Eucharistic celebration to mark the conclusion of the 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM in Ghana’s capital city, Accra.

Bishop Baawobr is to take over from Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo who has been at the helm of the continental symposium since July 2019.

The Ghanaian Bishop is among 21 new Cardinals to be created in the next Consistory scheduled for August 27.

To assist the Ghanaian Cardinal-designate as the first Vice President of SECAM is Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Credit: ACI Africa 

Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of the Diocese of Xai Xai, Mozambique, has been elected Second Vice President of SECAM.

The 63-year-old new President of SECAM who is a native of his Episcopal See was ordained a Priest in July 1987

He served as first Assistant General of the Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) for a period of six years, after which, in May 2010, he was elected the first African Superior General of the Catholic Congregation that was founded in 1868.

Bishop Baawobr is known in Ghana and beyond for many acts of charity, key among them, his love for people suffering from mental challenges and who have been neglected by their families.

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In 2016, the year that the Holy Father appointed him Bishop, volunteers at the Bishop’s project that takes care of people with mental illnesses started going on the streets looking for patients and providing them with care.

The project that involves Parishes, faith-based organizations, women and men Religious and the lay faithful also brought on board doctors and nurses who started providing free medication. The Bishop reportedly started using media platforms to create awareness about mental illnesses in a country where stigmatization of people with such challenges is high.

Credit: ACI Africa

In July 2020, he was appointed member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU).

In a July 28 interview with ACI Africa, Bishop  Baawobr reflected on his mission as Cardinal, saying, “It is an occasion to renew our commitment to serve and to serve in collaboration with the Holy Father.”


“It comes down very strongly that we are not alone in this mission. And the Holy Father is inviting us to share, to collaborate with him,” he said, and added, “I think from there also I draw the message that wherever we are, if people are needing our collaboration in order to attain a specific goal, we should offer that with joy and humility and simplicity.”

He continued, “I always think of the two sons of Zebedee who are struggling for the seats, one on the left and one on the right. At that moment Jesus reminds them that their greatness is in service, that he has come to serve. So, I think each one of us, wherever we are, we are called to serve, and that is what will make us great, not the title.”

Credit: ACI Africa

Cardinal-designate Baawobr has been elected by Catholic Bishops from the eight regional associations of the continental symposium, which include the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC), the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa Region (ACERAC), and the Regional Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).

Other regional associations include the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt (AHCE), the Regional Episcopal Conferences of North Africa (CERNA), Madagascar and Episcopal Conferences of Indian Ocean (CEDOI), and the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA).

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.