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Duquesne theologist named a bishop in Ghana

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Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, bishop elect of Ghana’s Sekondi-Takoradi

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Thursday, July 3, 2014, 10:18 p.m.
 

An assistant professor of theology at Duquesne University still can't believe he was picked to become the new bishop of more than 408,000 Catholics in his native Ghana.

“For some reason, I was the one who was named bishop,” said the Rev. John Bonaventure Kwofie, 56, who received a call early on Thursday that Pope Francis has chosen him to become a bishop of Sekondi-Takoradi, home to 408,650 Catholics in western Ghana. “It was like a shock.”

The bishop-elect expects his consecration — or ordination ceremony — to take place in early September in the African nation.

Kwofie calls the job a challenge and said he wants to establish a common vision with the 110 priests and 70 other nuns and religious clergy in the diocese.

“The diocese has had some problems. It was without a bishop for about two and a half years,” Kwofie said. “I would like to go there, meet with the priests (and others, asking), ‘What kind of church do you want to be?' ”

Kwofie, who was born in Powa, was ordained a member of the Spiritan Congregation in 1988 and has a licentiate in sacred scripture exegesis from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. He came to Duquesne last year to teach interpretation of the Bible and how it relates to contemporary issues.

“I will really miss Duquesne,” said Kwofie who has worked as an academic, pastor and missionary in Rome and various nations in West Africa. “I had a wonderful, beautiful year. The students were so good, so disciplined.”

Kwofie has served in a variety of leadership roles with the Spiritan Congregation, which is the order that founded and operates Duquesne, school spokeswoman Karen Ferrick-Roman said.

The Rev. James Chukwuma Okoye, another Spiritan priest and director of the Center for Spiritan Studies at Duquesne, is thrilled for Kwofie.

“I knew it was going to come, sooner or later, the church was going to discover him,” Okoye said. “He is middle of the road ... wise ... filled with humility.”

Okoye believes Kwofie will be up to any challenge.

“He will do a fantastic job. He is unflappable. He is a steady personality who is able to look at various sides of an issue and not rush to judgment or rush to action,” Okoye said.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com.

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