Tamale, April 05, GNA - A large congregation of Catholic faithful in Tamale on Tuesday turned out on motorcycles, cars and trucks to meet His Eminence Peter Cardinal Porekuu Dery at Datoyili, a village seven miles from the Metropolis, to give him a rousing welcome to Tamale. Peter Cardinal Dery received cheers and praises from worshippers at the entrance of the Our Lady of the Annunciation (OLA) Catholic Cathedral while the Saint Paul Frafra Catholic Community Dancing Group drummed and danced to welcome the Cardinal.
He was led into the church compound where he was helped into a wheelchair and pushed to one of the entrances of the church from where he blessed the congregation and sprinkled holy water on them amidst songs of praises.
The Most Reverend Gregory Kpiebaya, the Catholic Archbishop of Tamale, then led Cardinal Dery in a procession into the Church where the congregation knelt for a silent prayer.
Archbishop Kpiebaya briefed the congregation on the investiture of Cardinal Dery and the warm reception accorded him by the Ghanaian community in Rome.
"Peter Cardinal Dery, the Tamale local church, indeed, the God family, welcomes you to the Cathedral. We brought you to meet your people. Here they are and here you are".
Addressing the congregation, Peter Cardinal Dery said: "I got shocked on hearing the news that Pope Benedict XVI had promoted me to a Cardinal."
"God is wonderful and I am deeply proud of what happened but this is what many people had expected for a long time now".
"But what makes me happy is that all of you have accepted my promotion by the Pope as a Cardinal. The Pope says I am a Cardinal and I cannot say no. The right answer is yes, I am," he said. Cardinal Dery, who was flanked by Bishop Kpiebaya and Father Matthew Yitere, the Cathedral Administrator, said he would continue to care for the youth.
"They make me happy. I am a friend of the youth. I will fall with them and rise together with them. I will not forget about my friends". He advised the youth to pray to God to help them to also help others. Cardinal Dery said: "I want to know if my becoming a Cardinal has thrown you into joy. Is that the end of me? Is that all? The little you have, give to the needy and the more you have give more to them who are needy".
He urged Catholics to be dedicated to the gospel, saying: "I want to tell the Pope that I cannot work to promote the gospel with more zeal as I am now weak".
He appealed to the congregation not to give charity to him because "I will give to the wind," but advised them to give to Bishop Kpiebaya, because he would know how to please the people.
Cardinal Dery, thanked the government delegation, nurses and doctors, as well as all well-wishers who accompanied him to Rome and asked them to remember him in their prayers.