Benedict XVI Laments Death of Ghanaian Cardinal

Says He Was Prayerful, "Devoted Pastor"

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI called Cardinal Peter Poreku Dery, the retired archbishop of Tamale, Ghana, who died Thursday, a "devoted pastor" who left behind a "shining legacy of prayer."



The Pope said this in a telegram he sent to Archbishop Gregory Ebo Kpiebaya of Tamale upon hearing of the cardinal's death. He was 89.

"I extend my heartfelt condolences to you and to the priests, religious and lay faithful of the archdiocese," the Pontiff wrote. "This devoted pastor has left behind a shining legacy of prayer, humble obedience to the will of God and love of neighbor.

"He gave himself with generous heart to his priestly and episcopal ministry at the service of the faithful of the Diocese of Wa and the Archdiocese of Tamale for many years, preaching the Gospel in difficult conditions with the love of a father, great zeal and simplicity of heart, constantly attentive to the needs of the poor."

"As I commend his soul to the loving mercy of our heavenly Father, and as a pledge of consolation and strength to those who mourn," added the Holy Father, "I cordially impart my apostolic blessing to all present at the solemn liturgical celebration."

Benedict XVI also sent his condolences to Alipo Poreku, the brother of the cardinal.

The Pope said, "Saddened to learn of the death of your dear brother, I express to you my deep sympathy and assure you of my closeness in prayer. As a pledge of peace and strength in our Lord, I cordially impart my apostolic blessing."

Firsts

Peter Poreku Dery was born May 10, 1918, in Zemuopare, Ghana. He was ordained a priest in 1951.

He was appointed the first bishop of the Diocese of Wa in 1959, and in 1972 was appointed apostolic administrator of Tamale. He carried out his duties in both dioceses until he was appointed bishop of Tamale in 1974.

When Tamale was raised to an archdiocese in 1997, he was named its first archbishop.

The prelate also served as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the president of the episcopal conference of Ghana and coordinator of the Pan-African Council of the Laity.

The archbishop retired in 1994 and was named a cardinal in 2006 at age 87.