At Burial, Ghanaian Cardinal Eulogized as Good Pastor “with meekness, serenity of saints”

Credit: Diocese of Wa

Richard Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr has been remembered as a good and wise pastor who served the people of God “with the meekness and serenity of the saints”.

The Ghanaian Cardinal who died on 27 November 2022 at the age of 63 was laid to rest on Thursday, January 12, inside St. Andrew’s Cathedral of Ghana’s Wa Diocese after his Funeral Mass at Wa Sports Stadium.

In his speech just before Cardinal Baawobr was laid to rest, the representative of the Holy Father in Ghana said the late Cardinal was “a good pastor who spent his entire life for the Church witnessing to Christ love for every human person with the meekness and serenity of the saints.”

“I wish to join in the sorrow and prayers of suffrage of those gathered in this place to pay my last respects to a good and wise pastor whose figure has had great importance in the life of the Church in Ghana, in Africa and in the Universal Church,” Archbishop Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński said.

He added that Cardinal Baawobr had been for the Diocese of Wa “a sure and tireless guide in the work of evangelisation and sanctification.”


“I had had the privilege to know and appreciate Cardinal Richard Baawobr during my mission in Ghana,” he said, and continued, “On his invitation, in the beginning of my mission in Ghana, I made my first pastoral visit in the Dioceses of Wa. I will never forget our common partnership and priorities in the period of his pastoral governance in the Diocese of Wa, characterized by a serene, welcoming goodness and shared wisdom.”

The Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana further said, “The whole Diocese of Wa, under his guidance, carried out an intense work that took the form of an organic pastoral plan proposed to the Clergy and faithful and articulated on fundamental themes such as evangelization and sacraments, evangelization and human promotion, evangelization and ministries.”

“Cardinal Baawobr lived in this service to the Church guided by an uncommon spirit of humility,” the native of Poland who was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana in May 2020 said about the Catholic Church leader who had been at the helm of Wa Diocese since May 2016.

He added, “Reluctant to speak of himself, Cardinal Baawobr could instead express his joy when he explained his thoughts on the demands of the Priestly mission in the light of the demands of our time.”

“The death of our dear brother in Christ certainly saddens us. But it is also an encouragement for all of us to continue with humility and simplicity in faithful service to the Gospel, always being prepared for the Lord's call,” Archbishop Jagodziński said about Cardinal Baawobr who, at the time of his death, was serving as the President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) since his election in July last year.

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The Nuncio continued, “Although we are saddened by the loss of a great pastor, brother, and friend whom we have known well and with whom we have traveled a stretch of the road, let us thank the Almighty God for having given us in Him an example of a docile and industrious service in his vineyard.”

“Cardinal Richard fell asleep in the Lord after a life spent entirely for the Church,” Archbishop Jagodziński said, and added, “We have not lost him. He has entered into true life. Let us now raise our prayer that the Lord may welcome him to his side.”

“Let us ask the Mother of the Redeemer and all the angels and saints of heaven to accompany him to the definitive encounter with the Lord,” the Nuncio said.

The Ghanaian-born Cardinal passed on days after he was discharged from hospital in Rome, and reportedly expressed gratitude to all those who accompanied him with prayers.

The member of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) had been among the 21 Catholic Church leaders Pope Francis named Cardinals in May last year, and among the 20 he created during the August 2022 Consistory. The late Cardinal missed the 27 August 2022 Consistory that was presided over by the Holy Father in St. Peter’s Basilica due to a heart problem. 


The third Ghanaian Cardinal after the late Peter Cardinal Dery and the Vatican-based Peter Appiah Cardinal Turkson had been appointed to the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity in October last year.

Also speaking during the Funeral Mass on January 12, the President of Ghana said, “The news of the death of Cardinal Richard Baawobr brought considerable sadness not only to me and to the Catholic Church in Wa, but also to all well-meaning Ghanaians; our nation has lost one of its finest citizens, one who will be difficult to replace.”

“When I heard of the news of his elevation as Cardinal, the third such elevation in Ghana's history by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, I did what I thought was appropriate and instructed the chief of staff at the Office of the President and other officials at the presidency about the need for government to show maximum solidarity, not just with the church, but also with him personally for this elevation,” President Nana Akufo-Addo recounted.

He continued, “This is because his new status brought renown to our country. I was proud that in my time as President, Ghana had also been blessed with another Cardinal.”

President Akufo-Addo further said, “Those who came into contact with Cardinal Baawobr had great confidence in him and in his ability and capacity to undertake the task.”

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“I have no doubt that coming back to Ghana as a Cardinal, he would have contributed immensely to the evangelical mission to which the Church is committed,” the President said.

The late Cardinal, the Ghanaian President said, has left “a void not only in the Catholic Church but also in Ghana and he richly deserves the honor that is being accorded him by this high-profile funeral.”

“In recognition of his social and spiritual services to the growth of Wa and of mother Ghana, you will be greatly missed,” President Akufo-Addo said. 

The Ghanaian President implored, “May the soul of Cardinal Baawobr rest and abide in perfect peace in the bosom of the Almighty until the last day of the resurrection, when we shall all meet again, Amen.”

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.