“Faithful witness, wise, gentle pastor”: Holy Father Pays Tribute to Late African Cardinal

Pope Francis greets late Richard Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr in Rome. Credit: Vatican Media

Pope Francis has eulogized the late Richard Kuuia Cardinal Baawobr who died on Sunday, November 27 as a “faithful witness to the gospel”.

In a Tuesday, November 29 telegram message, Pope Francis says he learnt “with sadness” of the death of the Local Ordinary Ghana’s Wa Diocese who belonged to the Society of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) and joins the people of God in praying for the soul of “this wise and gentle pastor”.

In his message, the Holy Father has extended his “heartfelt condolences” to Cardinal Baawobr’s family, Missionaries of Africa, and the Clergy, women and men Religious, and the Laity of the Ghanaian Catholic Diocese.

He acknowledges with appreciation Cardinal Baawobr’s faithful witness to the gospel marked by generous service to the Church in Ghana, especially to those most in need.”

“I willingly join the faithful in praying that our merciful father may grant to this wise and gentle pastor the reward of his labors and welcome him into the light and peace of heaven,” Pope Francis says about the Ghanaian Cardinal who passed on at the Gemelli Hospital in Rome aged 63.


He adds, “To all who mourn the late cardinal’s passing in the sure hope of the resurrection I impart my blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in Jesus, the firstborn from the dead.”

Cardinal Baawobr’s death happened days after he was discharged from the Agostino Gemelli University Hospital/Policlinic Hospital in Rome, and reportedly expressed gratitude to all those who accompanied him with prayers. 

He 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. 

At the end of his homily during the Consistory that the Pontiff presided over in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father asked people to pray for Cardinal Baawobr.

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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.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.