Duquesne professor named bishop in Ghana

Priest was working on doctorate at university, but duty calls

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The Rev. John Bonaven­ture Kwo­fie came from his na­tive Ghana to Duquesne Univer­sity last year to teach and earn a doc­tor­ate. But the lat­ter goal will have to wait in­def­i­nitely, as Pope Francis has dif­fer­ent ideas for him.

Pope Francis on Thurs­day ap­pointed Rev. Kwo­fie bishop of Sekondi-Tako­radi, a re­gion in Ghana with more than 400,000 Cath­o­lics.

“I‘‍m still pro­cess­ing it,” said Rev. Kwo­fie, 56 — who has back­ground in ac­a­demic, pas­to­ral and mis­sion­ary work — in a phone in­ter­view. “It‘‍s not some­thing one as­pires to. You are called to a ser­vice. I only pray God gives me the nec­es­sary strength to do what He wants me to do.”

Rev. Kwo­fie was or­dained a priest in 1988 and is a mem­ber of the Spir­i­tan Con­gre­ga­tion, the re­li­gious or­der with which Duquesne is af­fil­i­ated.

He did mis­sion­ary work in Gam­bia, was vice pres­i­dent of the Con­fer­ence of Ma­jor Su­pe­ri­ors in Africa and pro­vin­cial su­pe­rior of the Con­gre­ga­tion of West Africa.

He did ex­ten­sive study in Rome at the Pon­tif­i­cal Bib­li­cal In­sti­tute in Rome, from which he re­ceived a li­cen­ti­ate in sa­cred scrip­ture.

Rev. Kwo­fie came to Duquesne in 2013 as as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of the­ol­ogy. Among the classes he taught was a core course in bib­li­cal and his­tor­i­cal per­spec­tive.

“The stu­dents have all im­pressed me with their mo­ti­va­tion,” he said. “They came in with such en­thu­si­asm. I’‍m go­ing to miss them.”

After he re­turns from a pre­vi­ously sched­uled ac­a­demic con­fer­ence in Aus­tria, Rev. Kwo­fie plans to meet with priests and sem­i­nar­i­ans from his di­o­cese who are study­ing in the United States be­fore re­turn­ing home for his Sep­tem­ber or­di­na­tion.

Be­fore set­ting pri­or­i­ties as bishop, he plans to meet with priests and lay­people.

“The church is not just the bishop or priests,” he said. “The church is all of us.”

Peter Smith: peter­smith@post-ga­zette.com or 412-263-1416.

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