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: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1416.