His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Ghana (middle) is now the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa. This is the first time since the establishment of SECAM 53 years ago that a Ghanaian has been elected the President of the body/Photo: SECAM
By Favour Nnabugwu
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa, and Madagascar (SECAM), the association of Catholic Bishops of Africa, Madagascar, and the Islands, has elected His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Ghana as its new President.
His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr is now the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa.
The election took place in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday during the 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM, whereby 130 participants, including cardinals and bishops from all corners of the continent.
The new President succeeds His Eminence Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo from Burkina Faso.
Another Cardinal, His Eminence Fridolin Besungu Ambongo of the Archdiocese of Kinshasha, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was elected First Vice-President, while Most Rev. Lucio Andrice Muandula of the Diocese of Xai Xai, in Mozambique, was elected Second Vice President.
The new President of SECAM, His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr, was named Cardinal on 29 May 2022 by Pope Francis and will be officially installed Cardinal on 27 August 2022.
SECAM, established in 1969 in Kampala, Uganda during the visit of St. Pope Paul VI, was born out of the desire of African Catholic Bishops present at the Second Vatican Council to speak with one voice on matters pertaining to the Church in Africa.
The Symposium, headquartered in Accra, consists of eight regional associations:
- Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC).
- Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central African Region (ACERAC).
- Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt (AHCE).
- Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA).
- Episcopal Conferences of the Indian Ocean (CEDOI).
- Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa (CERNA).
- Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA).
- Reunion of Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).