Pope Francis honours Ghana’s Ambassador to the Vatican
Archbishop Edgar Pena Panna (left Substitute for General Affairs of the Vatican Secretariat of State, presenting the Award to Ambassador Joseph Akudibillah
It is the highest award conferred by the Vatican on laypersons.
Pope Francis conferred the award on Mr Akudibillah.
It was signed by the Secretary of State to the Holy See, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and presented to the Ambassador on behalf of the Holy Father by Archbishop Edgar Pena Panna, the Substitute for General Affairs at the Vatican Secretariat of State, at a recent ceremony at the Vatican.
The Grand Cross of the Order of Pope Pius IX is often given to Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See after two years in post as well as exceptional lay Catholics in the wider world for their outstanding deeds for the Church and society.
The Order of Pius IX (Pian Order was founded by Pope Pius IX on June 17, 1847. It recognises outstanding service for the Church and society and may be awarded non-Catholics as well as Catholics.
The title of nobility formerly attached to membership was abolished by Pius XII in 1939. In 1957, he instituted the Grand Collar as the highest category of the Order, complementing the other classes of Knights and Dames of the Grand Cross (GCPO; Knight and Dame Commanders with star (con Placa (KCPO, DCPO and without star (KCPO, DCPO; and Knights and Dames (KPO/DPO.
The words Virtuti et Merito (Virtue and Merit are engraved around the white medallion in the centre which portrays the name of the founder. The feast day of Blessed Pius IX is February 7.
Receiving the Award, Ambassador Akudibillah thanked Pope Francis and the Holy See for the honour done him and also expressed gratitude to President Nana Akufo-Addo and Ghanaians in general for the privilege given to him to serve in this prestigious capacity which had earned him the Papal award.
Until his appointment as Ambassador to the Vatican in 2017, Mr Akudibillah was a parishioner of the St Anthony’s Catholic Church at Daduuri in the Bawku Municipality of the Catholic Diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga.
He was also the MP for Garu Tempane from 2000 to 2004.