African Cardinal Hospitalized in Rome Thankful for Prayers for “complete, full recovery”

Richard Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr of Ghana's Wa Diocese. Credit: SECAM

The new Ghanaian Cardinal who is expected to undergo heart surgery in Rome has expressed gratitude to the people of God praying for his “complete and full recovery”.

Richard Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr was admitted at Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome just before the August 27 Consistory during which he was to receive a red biretta from Pope Francis alongside 19 others from across the globe.

In a Thursday, September 1 letter addressed to all delegates who accompanied him to Rome for the August 27 Consistory, Cardinal Baawobr announces the postponement of the Thanksgiving Mass that had been scheduled to take place in his Episcopal See of Wa, Ghana, on September 24.

“I send you greetings from Holy Spirit hospital (Ospedale di Santo Spirito in Sassia) in Rome where I am fast recovering thanks to God, the medical experts and your dedicated prayers,” Cardinal Baawobr says in his one-page letter shared with ACI Africa, and adds, “I am truly appreciative of your support.”

He “wholeheartedly” thanks the people of God “for your prayers for my complete and full recovery.”


Cardinal Baawobr’s absence from the August 27 Consistory that the Holy Father presided over in St. Peter’s Basilica did not prevent him from being elevated to the College of Cardinals.

The 63-year-old member of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) received the title of cardinal while being treated in the Roman hospital. At the end of his homily during the Consistory, Pope Francis asked people to pray for Cardinal Baawobr.

In the September 1 letter, Cardinal Baawobr expresses appreciation to the delegates who accompanied him to the Vatican for their pilgrimage to Rome saying, “I am very grateful for your time in traveling all the way to Rome for the Consistory.”

He adds, “Your efforts in coming to support me at this important event are highly appreciated.” 

“My ill-disposition and inability to participate in the Consistory would have brought you some disappointment. Kindly excuse me for that. Nevertheless, it is my hope that you reaped a lot of spiritual fruits from the journey and the pilgrimage,” Cardinal Baawobr says in his letter.

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Due to the present circumstances, Cardinal Baawobr announces that the postponed Thanksgiving Mass that was to take place at St. Andrew's Cathedral of Wa Diocese “will now be celebrated on Saturday, 27 November 2022 at 9.30 a.m. in the same venue.”

“You are cordially invited to this event. Your presence will be greatly appreciated. Further details will be communicated later,” the Ghanaian Cardinal says, adding, “I extend to you my cordial regards and best wishes.”

Cardinal Baawobr is expected to undergo heart surgery in Rome these days, according to the Director of Communications of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference (GCBC).

On Wednesday, August 31, Fr. Dieu-Donne Kofi Davor told CNA, ACI Africa’s sister agency based in the U.S., that the “surgery will take place before the week ends.”

“We are praying for his speedy recovery and return to Ghana soon,” Fr. Davor said.


Cardinal Baawobr who has been at the helm of Wa Diocese since May 2016 who was named Cardinal on May 29 alongside 20 others from across the globe, including Peter Ebere Cardinal Okpaleke of the Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia (CADEK) in Nigeria.

Another Ghanaian cardinal, Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, currently serves as chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

Cardinal Baawobr was elected President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) on July 30 at the end of the 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM in Ghana’s capital city, Accra.

Before he was appointed Bishop in February 2016, the Catholic Church leader had served as first Assistant General of the Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa for a period of a six-year term; in May 2010, he was elected the first African Superior General of the Catholic Congregation that was founded in 1868.

Since July 2020, the Ghanaian Cardinal has been a member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

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The Ghanian Cardinal is known in his native West African nation 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 respective families.

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 new Cardinal reportedly started using media platforms to create awareness about mental illnesses in a country where stigmatization of people with such challenges is high.

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.