Recently Elevated African Cardinal Dies Days after Leaving Hospital in Rome

Late Richard Cardinal Baawobr of Wa Diocese in Ghana). Credit: SECAM

Richard Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr, one of the Catholic Church leaders elevated to Cardinal during the August 27 Consistory, has died.

In a statement obtained by ACI Africa, the Secretary General of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) announces the death of their 63-year-old confrere.

“With sadness and pain we hereby inform you of the return to the heavenly Father of Cardinal Richard Baawobr which occurred today, Sunday, 27 November 2022,” Fr. André-Léon Simonart says.

Fr. Simonart shares the timelines of the last hours of the late Cardinal, “Our confrere was taken by ambulance from the Generalate (Missionaries of Africa in Rome) to the Gemelli Hospital at 5.45pm and we received the sad news at 6.25pm.”

“May Richard rest in the peace of his Lord whom he so generously served. On behalf of the bereaved Society, Our prayer and our thoughts go also to his family, to his diocese, his fellow bishops, to all his friends and acquaintances,” the Secretary General of the Missionaries of Africa implores in his November 27 statement.


The death of the Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Wa Diocese has happened days after he had been discharged from hospital in Rome, and reportedly expressed gratitude to all those who accompanied him with prayers.

In a statement published November 22, the Vicar General of Wa Diocese said, “I wish to inform you that, last Friday, 18 November 2022, His Eminence, Richard Cardinal Kuuia Baawobr, M.Afr, the Bishop of Wa, was discharged from Agostino Gemelli University Hospital/Policlinic where he had been transferred on Saturday, 15th October 2022.” 

Fr. Cornelius Naah Bayirinoba said the Cardinal was staying at the Generalate of his Religious Order in Rome.

The Cardinal is in Rome “to rest and to regain his strength,” Fr. Bayirinoba said, adding, “His Eminence needs follow up checks.” 

“Richard Cardinal Kuusa Baawobr has asked me to thank every one of you for your prayers, good wishes and every support. He takes nothing for granted and reassures us of his closeness in prayer,” the Vicar General of Wa Diocese said.

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Cardinal Baawobr was among the 21 Pope Francis named on May 29, and among the 20 he created during the August 27 Consistory.

The Ghanaian-born Cardinal missed the August 27 Consistory due to a heart problem. On the day of the Consistory, he had been admitted at Santo Spirito Hospital in Rome. 

Cardinal Baawobr’s absence from the Consistory that the Holy Father presided over in St. Peter’s Basilica did not prevent him from being elevated to the College of Cardinals. At the end of his homily during the Consistory, Pope Francis asked people to pray for Cardinal Baawobr.

The Cardinal who had been at the helm of Ghana’s Wa Diocese since May 2016 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 the continental symposium that was held in Accra, the capital city of Ghana.

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 six-year term; in May 2010, he was elected the first African Superior General of the Catholic Congregation that was founded in 1868.


In the Papal appointments made public on October 7 by the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis appointed Cardinal Baawobr to the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.

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