Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Accra
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|Archdiocese of Accra
Holy Spirit Cathedral, Adabraka-Accra
|Territory||Greater Accra Region and parts of Volta Region|
|(as of 2013)
|Established||31st January, 1893|
|Cathedral||Holy Spirit Cathedral|
|Patron saint||Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Peter Claver, St. Martin de Porres and the Martyrs of Uganda|
|Metropolitan Archbishop||Charles G. Palmer-Buckle|
|Suffragan||Ho, Jasikan, Keta-Akatsi, Koforidua|
|Vicar General||Monsignor Francis Adoboli|
Territory of the Archdiocese of Accra
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Accra covers the Greater Accra Region and parts of the Volta egion. There are 62 parishes and rectories. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Accra (Latin: Accraën(sis)) is the Metropolitan See for the ecclesiastical province of Accra in Ghana which includes the suffragan dioceses of Ho, Koforidua, Jasikan and Keta-Akatsi. The Latin title of the archdiocese is Archidioecesis Accraënsis, and the corporate title is Archdiocese of Accra. The cathedral parish for the archdiocese is the Holy Spirit Cathedral.
Most Reverend Dominic Kodwo Andoh† was the first Ghanaian native to become Archbishop of Accra. Installed in October 1971, he became the 3rd Ordinary for Accra since its establishment as a diocese.
- 1 History
- 2 Special churches
- 3 Leadership
- 4 Suffragan Diocese
- 5 Structure
- 6 Education in the Archdiocese of Accra
- 7 See also
- 8 References
The Catholic Church came rather late to the Gold Coast when others had long began making inroads to accomplish their double barreled mission to plant the Christian faith and to engage in slave trade in that part of the African continent. The Potugese, with their eyes on gold, established themselves on the western coastline; the Protestant nations, coming later, built their forts on the eastern as the slave trade was then the main item of trade. When the Portuguese castle at Elmina fell to the Dutch in 1637, all Catholic missionary work came to an end. The first Catholic priest to set foot in Accra may well have been in the 1570s when the Portuguese established a short-lived trading post in Accra. They held it for only seven years when it was destroyed by the inhabitants. About a hundred years later, in 1679 (when the Danish Governor of Christianborg Castle was murdered by adventurers) the castle was sold to the Portuguese. They held it for three years. The Bishop of St. Thomas Island sent them a Chaplain, an African priest. His name is not known, but he was believed to have been the first African priest to hold an ecclesial appointment in the Accra Catholic Mission.
Arrival of Missionaries
In 1978, the Superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers sent Father Grommendigner on an official visit to the Gold Coast, to select the most suitable sites for establishing Missions in the Gold Coast. The Propaganda Fidei (now the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) then handed the Gold Coast to the Society of African Missions who had asked for it. So in 1880, Fathers Moreau and Murat landed at Elmina to bring the Catholic Faith to the land. On 31 January 1893, Fathers Otto Hilberer and Eugene Raess arrived in Accra to found Catholicism in the capital city. Prior to that,in 1880, two SMA missionaries; Frs. Auguste Moreau and Eugene Murat stepped on the shores of Elmina, sent by Propaganda Fidei, Rome, to bring the Catholic Church anew to the Gold Coast after failed attempts centuries earlier. Father Murat died only three months later of Yellow Fever.In 1882, Father Moreau SMA visited Accra from Elmina to find out the possibility of starting a mission there. The Governor and the Ga Chiefs asked him to establish the Church in Accra with the reason that Accra had just been made the capital of the Gold Coast. On 31 January 1893, Frs. Otto Hiberer and Eugene Raess started the Catholic Mission in Accra.
At the request of the Propaganda Fidei in Rome, the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) sent missionaries to take over the Accra Mission from the SMA in the Ghana. Fr. Adolf A. Noser SVD became the first Superior of the Accra Mission along with Fr. John Dauphine SVD.
The First Church
Renewed life came when Fr. Joseph Stauffer, SMA came to Accra for an Educational Board meeting. Seeing the size and importance of Accra he determined to make it a residential station. After long negotiations, assisted by Mr. Bonito, he bought a large empty cocoa shed located at Derby Avenue to be used for a place of worship for the sum of 700 British pounds. The refurbished cocoa shed was dedicated by Frs. Stauffer, Stebler, Baumann and Brother Clement as the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. A few months later an extension to the property was acquired from Mr. Van der Puije for 1000 pounds sterling. Father Stauffer and Father John Van were appointed in 1925 to be pastors of the first resident station. In 1933, the cocoa shed church was renovated and was solemnly dedicated by Bishop Albert Ernest Hauger in 1940.
The First Priest
The First Accra Diocesan Priest, Fr. Bernard S. Mensah, was ordained in Cape Coast on December 12, 1942. He celebrated his first Holy Mass in Sacred Heart Church.
A Decree from Rome on February 11, 1944 raised the Accra Mission to the status of Apostolic Prefecture entrusting it to the Divine Word Missionaries. In November, 1946, Accra was elevated to an Apostolic Vicariate with Monsignor Adolf Noser SVD as the first bishop. Pope Pius XII raised the Apostolic Vicariate of Accra to the status of a Diocese and Accra Diocese became the suffragan diocese of the new Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Coast. On September 7, 1953 Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers SVD, an African-Caribbean from the Commonwealth of Dominica, who was working in the Koforidua and Agomanya areas, took canonical possession of the Accra Diocese in the partially completed Holy Spirit Cathedral. He became the fist black bishop of the Gold Coast. In 1957, Bishop Bowers founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Handmaids of the Divine Redeemer as the first local religious group for the diocese. In 1971, Monsignor Dominic Kodwo Andoh was nominated the third bishop for the Diocese of Accra, following the transfer of Bishop Bowers back to his homeland in the West Indies.
The Holy Spirit Cathedral
The seat of the archbishop is the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra. Its construction began in 1951 by Bishop Adolf Noser and was completed in 1957 by Bishop Oliver Bowers. The Holy Spirit Cathedral has since been an important venue for Catholic and National events alike. On the 6th of March 1957, a thanksgiving Mass was held in the cathedral to mark the Independence Day of Ghana. A National Prayer and Thanksgiving service was held at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra on July 6, 2014. On February 8, 1953, Bishop Noser blessed and laid the cornerstone of the Holy Spirit Cathedral. Before then, on January 7, 1953 Bishop Noser had announced his successor, Bishop-elect Joseph Oliver Bowers, SVD. Hence, when Bishop Noser was transferred to Papua New Guinea as Archbishop of Alexishafen, he left everything in the hands of Bishop Bowers. Bishop Bowers took canonical possession of the Diocese of Accra in the partially completed Cathedral of the Holy Spirit on September 27, 1953. It is interesting to note that Catholics from all walks of life contributed to some of the furnishings of the Holy Spirit Cathedral. As recalled by the Metropolitan Bishop of Accra, Most Reverend Bishop Palmer-Buckle, Parishioners and pupils of St. Joseph Catholic School in Adabraka were tasked to bear partial cost of the floor, walls and pillar tiles. He was one of those pupils of St. Joseph School who paid for the floor tiles. The Holy Spirit Cathedral was finally roofed in January 1955. By December, the same year, the Bishop’s residence at the Cathedral, was completed. The following year in 1956, all the stained glass windows, ordered by Bishop Bowers from France, were completely fixed. On January 5, 1957, Bishop Bowers declared the Holy Spirit Cathedral open for public divine worship though the construction was not entirely completed and some finishing touches needed to be made. The actual decree declaring the Cathedral as a Parish took effect from February 5, 1958, thereby absorbing the St. Joseph Parish in Adabraka.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Sacred Heart Church which was started under a large empty cocoa shed at Derby Avenue in Accra, was the first church to be built. It was dedicated on February 11, 1925.
Metropolitan Archbishops of Accra (Roman rite)
Bishops of Accra (Roman rite)
- Archbishop Dominic Kodwo Andoh† (1971 – 1992)
- Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers† (1953 – 1971)
- Archbishop Adolph Alexander Noser, S.V.D.† (1950 – 1953)
Vicars Apostolic of Accra (Roman rite)
- Archbishop Adolph Alexander Noser, S.V.D† (1947 – 1950)
Prefects Apostolic of Accra (Roman rite)
- Archbishop Adolph Alexander Noser, S.V.D† (1944 – 1947)
The Metropolitan Archdiocese has four suffragans. In 1992, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Koforidua was carved out of Accra by His Holiness, St. John Paul II. Accra was elevated to a Metropolitan See and Bishop Andoh was made the Metropolitan Archbishop. While the Ho, Jasikan and Keta-Akatsi Dioceses cover the Volta Region of Ghana, Koforidua Diocese spans a vast area of the Eastern Region.
There are six deaneries in the Archdiocese of Accra. Originally termed as Vicariates or Districts in the Code of Canon Law, deaneries exist "to foster pastoral care through common action". Each Deanery is headed by a Dean whose duty of promotion and coordination chiefly pertains to his responsibility to oversee and assist in uniting the other presbyters or priests in his vicariate in a common pastoral activity. The six deaneries of Accra are:
- Kaneshie Deanery
- Mamprobi Deanery
- Kpehe Deanery
- Osu Deanery
- Madina Deanery
- Tema- Battor Deanery
Education in the Archdiocese of Accra
In January 1931, the first school was opened on the Sacred Heart Church grounds. With an enrollment of fifteen boys and six girls the school opened and by August it was recognized by the Government Educational Director and placed on the Assisted List (which meant that Government would pay an agreed percentage of the teachers' salaries depending on the quality of the school as determined by the inspectors). Today, Accra Archdiocese has over seventy basic schools, several second cycle schools three seminaries and formation houses and a university.
Catholic Basic Schools in Accra
Catholic Private Basic Schools in Accra
- St. Bernadette Soubirous School-Dansoman
- Mary Mother of Good Counsel-Airport-West
- St. Theresa’s School-Kaneshie
- Christ The King Int. School-Cantonments
- Bishop Bowers School-Latebiokoshie
- St. Peter Claver French School-Mataheko
- Corpus Christi-Com. 18 Lashibi
- St. Ignatius R/C School-Batsona
- St. Mark R/C School-Ashongman
- St. Ancilla Preparatory School-Haatso
- St. John the Evangelist-Adenta
- St. Thomas Aquinas SHS-Cantonment, Accra
- St. Mary’s SHS-Korle-Gonno, Accra
- St. Margaret Mary Sec./Tech-Dansoman, Accra
- Our Lady of Mercy SHS-Tema
- St. Don Bosco Voc. Training Centre-Ashaiman, Tema
- Sacred Heart Technical Inst.-James Town, Accra
- Catholic Social Advance Inst.-Adabraka, Accra
- St. Francis Xavier Sec./Voc.-Kotobabi, Accra
- St. Peter Claver French School-Mataheko, Accra
- Corpus Christi SHS-Lashibi-Comm 18, Tema
- St. Kizito SHS-Battor
Catholic Seminaries and Formation Houses
- St. Paul's Catholic Seminary (Philosophy Session)-Sowutuom
- Society of African Missions (SMA)-Sowutuom
- Salesians of Don Bosco-Ashaiman
- Catholic Institute of Business and Technology (University College)-Adabraka
- "Archdiocese of Accra". http://www.gcatholic.org/dioceses/diocese/accr0.htm.
- "SVD IN GHANA". http://www.svdghana.org/svd-in-ghana.html.
- 120th Anniversary Brochure (Revised Edition ed.). Department of Social Communication, Catholic Archdiocese of Accra. November 24, 2013. p. 23.
- "Formation of HDR Sisters by the SSPS". http://www.worldssps.org/pages/where_africa/ghana/ghana.htm.
- "Accra Archdiocese Under Bishop Andoh". http://220.127.116.11/~accracat/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20:accra-diocese-under-bishop-dominic-k-andoh-dd-jcd&catid=16:history&Itemid=22.
- "Bishop Andoh laid to rest". http://www.myghanaonline.com/1.1415432.
- Cathedral, Holy Spirit. "History of the Holy Spirit Cathedral". http://www.holyspiritcathedralaccra.com/?q=node/9.
- "Mahama must listen to God and seek His will – Palmer Buckle". GhanaWeb. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
- Accra, Catholic School. "Mary Mother of Good Counsel School History". http://mmgcschool.com/.
- "Catholic Institute of Business and Technology Homepage". http://www.cibtghana.net/.