General News Tue, 11 Mar 2008

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RIP: Peter Cardinal Poreku Dery

Accra, March 11, GNA - Peter Cardinal Poreku Dery, Archbishop Emeritus of the Tamale Archdiocese, who died on 6th March 2008, was born on 10th May 1918.

He was the fourth of the 10 children of Theodore Poreku and Agnes Zoore. He was born in the house of his uncle Ngmankurinaa. Cardinal Dery was born after the death of his immediate brother and he was thought to be a reincarnation of his brother and thus called Dery.

The future Cardinal accompanied his uncle to establish his many and varied fetishes for the prominent people of the area. His main duty was to help his uncle to slay the animals and hens required for the establishment of konkpenebie, konkyekommo, sokyere, doosoglaa, nyogebaliere, and the rest of the fetishes. He was baptized in Jirapa in 1933.

Cardinal Dery had his education at the Minor Seminary, Navrongo; St. Peter`s Major Seminary, Wiagha where he studied philosophy and theology. He continued his education at the University of St. Francis Xavier, Antigonish, Canada where he read diploma in social studies in 1958. He obtained his Doctorate in Theology at the International Catechetical Institute "Lumen vitae", Brussels, Belgium.

Cardinal Dery was ordained on February 11, 1951 at the St. Theresa's Church, Nandom, by Gerard Bertrand, M. Afr., Bishop of Tamale.

He was elected First Bishop of Wa on March 16, 1960 and was consecrated on May 8, 1960 at the Patriarchal Vatican Basilica, by Pope John XXIII, assisted by Napol=E9on-Alexandre La Brie, Titular Bishop of Ilta, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Work of Canada, French sector, and by Fulton John Sheen, titular bishop of Cesariana, auxiliary of New York, national director of the Pontifical Missionary Work of the United States of America. In the same ceremony were consecrated future Cardinals Paul Zougrana, M.Afr., archbishop of Ouagadougou; J=E9r=F4me Rakotomalala, archbishop of Tananarive; and Bernard Yago, archbishop of Abidjan.

As soon as he was installed as Bishop, he requested permission from Rome to translate the Ordinary of the mass into Dagare and have it sung in local melodies, accompanied by local musical instruments; permission was given and the Bishop himself composed the first Dagare mass. It was a milestone in the Africanization of the Church in Ghana. Involving the Laity, the education of the youth and vocations promotion were his three other main goals.

Cardinal Dery participated in the Second Vatican Council, 1962-1965. He was the Apostolic Administrator, sede vacante of Tamale. He was transferred to the see of Tamale, November 18, 1974. He was promoted to Metropolitan Archbishop of Tamale when the see was elevated to that rank in May 30, 1977.

Cardinal Dery was the President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference from 1982 to 1988.

He attended the II Extraordinary Assembly of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, November 24 to December 8,1985; and the VII Ordinary Assembly of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, October 1 to 30, 1987. He resigned from the government of the Archdiocese on March 26, 1994.

Cardinal Dery was created Cardinal Deacon in the Consistory of March 24, 2006; received the red biretta and the deaconry of S. Elena fuori Porta Prenestina on March 24, 2006. He was older than 80 years at the time of his promotion to the Cardinalate and thus was not eligible to participate in a conclave.

Source: GNA

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