The President of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM), Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ, joined Catholic Bishops and the Church in Africa in mourning the death of Ghanaian Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr, Bishop of Wa, in Ghana.

In a letter dated 28 November 2022, the JCAM President expressed his condolences to the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and the Church at large, saying “I was deeply saddened to hear of the unexpected death of SECAM President Cardinal Richard Baawobr which occurred yesterday, Sunday, 27 November 2022. On behalf of the Jesuit Fathers and Brothers of Africa and Madagascar, I would like to convey our deepest condolences to you and the entire SECAM leadership and team.”

Cardinal Baawobr was a former Superior General of the White Fathers (Missionaries of Africa) and worked in DR Congo, France and Tanzania before being named Bishop of Wa Diocese in 2016. He was serving as the President of SECAM, having been elected on 30 July, this year, during its 19th Plenary Assembly which was held in Ghana. Most recently he had been appointed to the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.

In his tribute, Fr. Orobator said that when he last met the late cardinal in Ghana, he “looked so lively and eager to begin his new responsibilities as cardinal-president.” He added that “SECAM and the church in Africa have lost a good and faithful pastor.”

Pope Francis also eulogised Cardinal Baawobr through a telegram message dated 29 November 2022. In the message, Pope Francis says that having learnt “with sadness of the death of Cardinal Richard Kuuia Baawobr, I extend my heartfelt condolences to his family and missionaries of Africa, as well as clergy, religious and laity of the Diocese of Wa…. I willingly join the faithful in praying that our merciful father may grant to this wise and gentle pastor the reward of his labours and welcome him into the light and peace of heaven.”

Cardinal Baawobr was one of the two African bishops among 20 newly created cardinals by Pope Francis. The Cardinal died three days after he was discharged from Agostino Gemelli Hospital in Rome, where he was receiving treatment. He had travelled to Rome to attend the Consistory presided over by Pope Francis.

May his soul rest in peace.