Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu was born on 8 February 1948 in Jamasi, Ashanti. He studied at the St. Teresa’s Minor Seminary at Amisano from 1962 to 1969. In 1969 he entered the St. Peter’s Regional Seminary, Pedu, Cape Coast, from where he proceeded in 1970 to Ushaw College, a Catholic Major Seminary in Durham, England, to continue his training for the priesthood. While at Ushaw College he obtained a B.A. (Hons) in Theology at the University of Durham in 1974. On completion of his studies at Ushaw College in 1975, he returned to Ghana and was ordained a priest at the St. Peter’s Cathedral, Kumasi, on 3 August 1975 by the Most Rev. Peter Kwasi Sarpong.
He worked at the St. Mary’s Church, South Suntreso, Kumasi, for one year as an Assistant Parish Priest. During this time he looked after 49 outstations of the St. Mary’s Parish. In September 1976 he went for further studies in the United Kingdom. He obtained a Ph.D in New Testament Exegesis at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, in December 1980. In April 1981 he was appointed lecturer in the Department for the Study of Religions, University of Ghana, Legon, where he taught New Testament Studies, New Testament Greek and Early Church History.
From October 1992 to January 1995 he was the Head of the Department for the Study of Religions, University of Ghana. He also taught New Testament at St. Paul’s Seminary, Sowutuom, Accra, on a part-time basis. In 1992 he was appointed by the Pope to be a member of the International Theological Commission based in Rome. He held this post until October 1997.
Pastorally he worked as Chaplain to the Catholic community at the University of Ghana and at Kwabenya from 1981 to 1995. For over ten years he was the National Chaplain of the International Movement of Catholic Students (Pax Romana), Ghana Federation. Apart from a year’s sabbatical at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, U.S.A., in 1987-1988, he worked at the University of Ghana from April 1981 till January, 1995.
Granted a year’s sabbatical leave by the University of Ghana in January 1995, he went to Rome lecture in New Testament Exegesis at the Pontifical Beda College, a seminary for late vocation students. While he was at the Pontifical Beda College, he was appointed the first Bishop of the newly-erected Diocese of Konongo-Mampong on 17 March, 1995. He was ordained bishop on 28 May 1995 along with four others in Accra. He was installed the first bishop of the Konongo-Mampong Diocese on 11 June 1995.
He is the Chairman of the Board of the Trustees of the Otumfuo Education Fund, Kumasi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University College of Ghana at Fiapre, near Sunyani, and a former member of the Ghana Education Service Council of the Ministry of Education.
From 1992 to 1997 he was a member of the International Theological Commission based in Rome and at that time under the presidency of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. He is currently a member of the Methodist-Catholic Dialogue Commission which comes under the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome. He is the Chairman of the Ghana Association of Biblical Exegetes (GABES). Currently he is the president of Ghana Bishop’s conference (G.B.C)
- Light on the Word: A Discussion of some difficult Passages in the New Testament (Takoradi: St. Francis Press, 2007).
- The Inculturation of Christianity in Africa: Antecedents and Guidelines from the New Testament and the Early Church (New Testament Studies in Contextual Exegesis 1: Frankfurt/Berlin /New York/Oxford: Peter Lang, 2005).
- Catholic Beliefs and Practices (Takoradi: St. Francis Press, 2005)
- Christianity on the Threshold of the Third Millennium: Prospects and Challenges: Fifth Marshall-Moreau-Murat Memorial Lectures, April 1997 (Takoradi: St. Francis Press, 1998).