By Damian Avevor
His Eminence Giuseppe Cardinal Bertello, President of the Governorate of the Vatican City says he was happy to return to Ghana, his first love as an Apostolic Nuncio between 1987 and 1991.
“I am honoured and I am also glad to be with you. I say always that Ghana is my first love. I have spent 25 years as an Apostolic Nuncio but Ghana is my first hence, my first love” Cardinal Bertello stated.
The Cardinal arrived in Ghana on Thursday March 2 as Pope Francis’ Special Envoy to Ghana for the 40th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Ghana and the Holy See and the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s Independence on March 6.
He also presided over the re-consecration of Ghana to the sacred heart of Jesus at an Ecumenical and interfaith Prayer Session at the Holy Spirit Cathedral on March 4.
Cardinal Bertello who is also the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State said, he was honoured to be appointed by the Pope to represent him and is excited to be back to Ghana his first love.
He holds the 2nd position next to Pope Francis, the rank of a Vice President of a country.
At a ‘Media Encounter’ at the Apostolic Nunciature on Friday, March 3, Cardinal Bertello said “It is a pilgrimage for me because I was in Ghana some 30 years ago. I feel very honoured because the Pope has appointed me as his Special Envoy for three events.”
He noted that his come back to Ghana was an important moment, stating that “it is a good sign of the Church in Ghana to the re-consecrate Ghana to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to participate in the 40th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between Ghana and the Holy See and to participate on behalf of the Pope the 60th anniversary of Ghana’s independence.”
He praised the good dialogue between the government and the Church in ensuring development to the benefit of the people and expressed the Holy See’s continuous cooperation with Ghana.
Archbishop Jean Marie Speich, Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana said the Nunciature was always ready for dialogue and the promotion of peace and development, saying that the Diplomatic Mission was held in high esteem.
He assured that the Apostolic Nunciature in Ghana would continue its good relation with other Diplomatic Missions in the country for
Earlier, Cardinal Bertello paid a courtesy call on Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana at the Flagstaff House. It is the first time the Holy See has sent a high profile official to participate in Ghana’s anniversary.
Accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, His Excellency Jean Marie Speich, Cardinal Bertello expressed the Pope’s congratulations to the President and people of Ghana of the Diamond Jubilee of Independence.
Cardinal Bertello lauded the peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims and presented a gift from the Pope to the Vice President.
Dr. Bawumia thanked the Holy Father for the honour done Ghana by sending a Special Envoy and expressed appreciation to the Church for its economic consolidation to the country.
Vice President Bawumia flanked by cardinal Bertello (right) and Archbishop Speich