Tamale, Feb. 22, GNA - Pope Benedict XVI has elevated the Most Reverend Peter Poreku Dery, former Archbishop of Tamale, to the rank of Cardinal, Most Reverend George Kochery, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, announced on Wednesday.
Most Reverend Dery is the first African to be elevated among 15 others worldwide by the Pope, said the Most Reverend George Kochery, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana.
Announcing the elevation at a ceremony in Tamale, attended by Archbishop Dery himself, Rev. Kochery said it was in recognition of his untiring and meritorious services to the Catholic Church in Ghana. "Dear people of Ghana, here you have another Prince of the Church. Your Eminence, Cardinal-Elect Dery, my hearty congratulations and felicitations for this great honour bestowed upon you by the Supreme Pontiff," Rev Kochery said, adding that he was the architect of the Tamale Ecclesiastical Province.
Most Rev. Kochery said Rev Dery would join the others for the official ceremony of elevation on March 24 2006.
Cardinal-Elect Dery, who walked with difficulty, gave thanks to God. "God is great and wonderful and I thank him." He however added, "but I am now sick. When you announced my elevation, my sickness started again".
The Cardinal-Elect then asked the Bishops and Priests of the Tamale Archdiocese of the Catholic Church who were present at the ceremony to sing 'This is the day that the Lord told me we would be rejoicing.' The Catholic Archbishop of Tamale, the Most Rev. Gregory Kpiebaya said: "Nobody points at an elephant to a child. Cardinal-Elect Dery deserves the elevation. This is only good enough to justify the good works of him."
Most Reverend Lucas Abadamloora, President of the Ghana Bishops' Conference, who is also Bishop of Navrongo/ Bolgatanga Diocese, said: "It is a great honour for Ghana to have two Cardinals. The Lord would use him to bless the country."
Archbishop Dery, who holds a Doctorate in Divinity, was born on May 10, 1918 at Nandom Kuo in the Upper West Region. He was ordained a priest in May, 1951 and made Bishop of Wa on May 8, 1960.
He became Archbishop of Tamale in November 1977 and retired in 1994.
Archbishop Dery was President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference from 1982-88.
Present at the ceremony were Most Rev. Philip Naameh, Bishop of Damongo, Most Rev. Vincent Boi-Nai, Bishop of Yendi and a large number of Catholic faithfuls.