The Ghanaian Catholic Church leader emphasized about the trip to Rome for the next Consistory, “We want to make it something that will deepen our faith.”
He went on to highlight possible challenges for members of the delegation expected to accompany him to the Vatican, saying, “I think the issuing of visas is going to be the challenge because the embassy is now very strict and they give all sorts of conditions and if you don't meet those conditions, you don’t get the visas.”
The Bishop of Wa said that the Italian embassy has asked him “to reduce the list again and again. And with the list that I'm presenting, I'm not even so sure that they will be able to give all of them the visas.”
“This comes from the fact that some of us abuse the trust that they put in us,” the Cardinal-designate said, and added, “There are people who have gone to Rome for different events, similar events, and who do not even go and participate in the event; they disappeared.”
“Because of that, the embassy is very cautious … So, I can understand them; we have ourselves to blame,” he said.
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Bishop Baawobr also highlighted the challenge of the cost of his vestments, saying they are “very expensive because they are made on demand.”
“They have to measure you; they have to sew it especially for you. So, there's the cost of the material, there's the cost of the labor. Cost of labor in Europe is far more than the cost of labor in Ghana,” he explained.
Reflecting on his mission as Cardinal, the member of the Missionaries of Africa said, “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.”
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.