Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Bishop Joseph Francis Kweki Essien from the pastoral care of the Catholic Diocese of Wiawso in Ghana and appointed his successor.
In the latest administrative changes published Thursday, January 26 by the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis appointed Mons. Samuel Nkuah-Boateng who has been serving as administrator of the Cathedral of Wiawso, as the successor of Bishop Essien.
Bishop Essien is retiring at the age of 77 after serving as the Local Ordinary of Wiawso Diocese since March 2000.
Born in May 1968 in the Diocese of Wiawso, the Bishop-elect Boateng started his Priestly formation at St. Teresa’s Minor Seminary in Elmina in the Archdiocese of Cape Coast, and St. Peter’s Regional Major Seminary in Cape Coast.
The holder of a bachelor’s degree in sociology and religious studies from the University of Ghana where he also obtained a master’s degree in pastoral ministry and religious education, and a master’s degree in philosophy was ordained a Priest for Wiawso Diocese in July 2001.
As a Priest, the Bishop-elect has served in various capacities, including Parish Vicar of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church Enchi; Secretary to the Bishop of Wiawso; Rector of St. Mary’s in Dwinase; Parish Priest of St. Augustine Catholic Church in Sefwi Boako.
Mons. Boateng has also served as the director of the pastoral and formation center; administrator of the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wiawso Diocese.
He has been a member of the College of Consultors and the Presbyteral College of Wiawso Diocese since 2020, served as Director of the Centre for Pastoral Ministry and Formation, coordinator of the diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace, and Administrator of the Cathedral of Wiawso.
Mons. Boateng is the immediate former President of the National Union of Ghana Catholic Diocesan Priest’s Associations (NUGCDPA), a post he held from 2012 to 2020.
In a message obtained by ACI Africa, NUGCDPA members congratulated the Bishop-elect on his appointment.
“A hearty congratulations to you, on the occasion of your appointment, as triage Second Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wiawso,” NUGCDPA members say through their President, Fr. Thaddeus Kuusah.
They promised to support the Bishop-elect "and pray that the good Lord who has chosen you as Bishop will continue to bless and give you the needed gifts to exercise your new office and service in the Church."
In a separate message, Diocesan Priests in Ghana thank the Bishop emeritus of Wiawso for serving the Diocese and the Church in Ghana “diligently”.
“We would like to congratulate you Bishop Essien on the occasion of the acceptance of your resignation as the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wiawso by our Holy Father, Pope Francis,” NUGCDPA members say.
They add, “May the Lord bless all your toils and labors, and may the Catholic Diocese of Wiawso, which you served with tremendous zeal as the first Bishop, continue to grow in the power of the Holy Trinity.”
When consecrated Bishop, Mons. Boateng will serve as the second Local Ordinary of the 8,696 square-kilometer Ghanaian Diocese that was erected in December 1999.
The suffragan Diocese of the Archdiocese of Cape Coast has a population of 107,002 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.