By BUSAYO ONIJALA
LAGOS- Bishop Emmanuel Badejo of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo has described the late Richard Cardinal Baawobr, the President of the Catholic Bishops in Africa, also known as the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), as a symbol of great hope to the Church in Africa that will be greatly missed.
Badejo,the Bishop Chairman of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) stated this in a condolence message on Monday from Oyo , Oyo State and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
NAN reports that Baawobr, 63, from the Diocese of Wa in Ghana and one of the recently created cardinals from Africa by Pope Francis, died on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 at the Agostino Gemelli Hospital in Rome.
He left behind an aged mother among other relatives and the Catholic Bishops in Africa to mourn him.
According to Badejo, even before the consistory for Baawobr’s creation in Rome as a Cardinal, his acceptance to serve as the President of SECAM injected a new dynamism into the life of the Church in Africa.
Badejo noted in the statement that the ever-smiling Cardinal immediately rallied the new executive and Standing Committee of SECAM to a meeting a mere two days after his election on July 31, 2022 to define a new course for SECAM.
“The new President of SECAM showed the direction he wanted SECAM to go, through his adoption of a synodal and inclusive style of procedure, even from the conduct of his first and only Standing Committee meeting on that memorable evening.
“He expressed his desire to help SECAM recover lost grounds in its pastoral and administrative obligations to the local churches and to help Africa participate effectively in the ongoing universal Synodal process.
“As it turns out, all that was not to be,” Badejo said in the statement.
Ge added, “SECAM will have to forge ahead without its beloved new President and I was privileged to have met Cardinal Baawobr just a few days before he passed away.”
Badejo said that despite Baawobr’s frail aspect, his mood was sky high and he told me how he looked forward to getting back to work as president of SECAM.
Badejo said that added that the work must go on with Baawobr on the other side, noting that the late Cardinal’s optimistic smile would “stay here for long with us.”
“On behalf of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), I pray that God strengthen and comfort the Cardinal’s mother and immediate family, SECAM, the Diocese of WA and the Missionaries of Africa,” he said. (NAN)