Ghana’s Cardinal Baawobr Elected Head Of Catholic Church In Africa, Madagascar

Eminence Richard Baawobr

The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa, and Madagascar (SECAM) has elected His Eminence Richard Baawobr of Ghana as its new President.

The Ghanaian Cardinal-designate was elected during the 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM, the association of Catholic Bishops of Africa, Madagascar, and the Islands, which took place in Accra Ghana.

SECAM was established in 1969 in Kampala, Uganda, during the visit of St. Pope Paul VI. The body was formed to present African Catholic Bishops’ positions on matters pertaining to the Church in Africa.

It is headquartered in Accra and consists of eight regional associations including Central Africa (ACEAC), Central African Region (ACERAC), and Egypt (AHCE).

Others are Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the Indian Ocean (CEDOI), North Africa (CERNA), Southern Africa (IMBISA), and West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).

Baawobr is now the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa, succeeding His Eminence Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo from Burkina Faso.

The cardinal takes over as SECAM President from Cardinal Philippe Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso, who has been at the organisation’s helm since July 2019.

In attendance were 130 participants, including cardinals and bishops representing over 600 catholic bishops of Africa.

Cardinal Fridolin Besungu Ambongo of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was elected First Vice-President.

Most Rev. Lucio Andrice Muandula of the Diocese of Xai Xai, in Mozambique, was elected Second Vice President.

Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, President, Pan-African Episcopal Committee for Communications, said it is the first that a Ghanaian has been elected SECAM President.

Baawobr and 20 other priests were nominated as Cardinal by Pope Francis on May 28, 2022. They would be inducted at a consistory on August 27.

The new SECAM leader will become the third Ghanaian Cardinal after the late Cardinal Peter Dery and His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Appiah Turkson.

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