History Of Holy Spirit Cathedral
THE HISTORY OF HOLY SPIRIT CATHEDRAL, ADABRAKA-ACCRA
THE ST. JOSEPH CHURCH, ADABRAKA AND THE CATHEDRAL
It has been argued that because of the distance from Adabraka to Derby Avenue where the only Catholic Church in Accra was located at the time, it was thought more convenient to begin a new Catholic community at Adabraka. By 1933, a new Catholic community had developed at Adabraka. A Priest from Sacred Heart Church conducted regular Sunday Services for the new community in the house of Mr. Kuevi on the Castle Road. In November of 1939 or 1940, the annual Corpus Christi procession was held to avoid the rainy season in June/July. It began at the Adabraka Church in Mr. Kuevi’s house all the way to Sacred Heart Church. When Fr. Joseph Harold Lauck arrived in Ghana in January 1941, he was placed in charge of the Adabraka Community which was still meeting in Mr. Kuevi’s house.
In January 1949 St. Joseph Church in Adabraka became a residential station with the transfer of Fr. Lauck from Sacred Heart Church to Adabraka. In April of the same year, Fr. Gerhard Fini, a Diocesan Priest from Togo, joined him. Sunday Masses were now celebrated in two classrooms. The two Priests were also in charge of five outstations, namely, Osu, Labadi, Kpehe, Nima and Mataheko.
PROPOSAL TO BUILD A CATHEDRAL
The proposal to build a worthy Cathedral was first mooted by Archbishop David Mathews, the Apostolic Delegate of English-speaking East and West Africa. That was in February 1947, when he came from Mombasa, Kenya to visit the Accra Vicariate headed by Msgr. Adolph Alexander Noser, SVD.
Bishop Noser travelled to the United States, giving lectures, making friends for his Vicariate and making appeals for funds for the purpose of building a Cathedral. When he returned to Accra in the latter part of 1948 after his ordination as the first Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Accra, he took concrete steps towards the Cathedral Project.
The initial proposed site for the erection of the Cathedral was Korle Gonno near the present day St. Mary’s Senior High School. But because the site was close to the sea, the idea was dropped for fear of corrosion and a possible threat of sea erosion. The second place which was suggested was the site where Orion Cinema is located. A third site which was offered was near Korle Bu where the present mortuary is located. As it was apparently becoming difficult finding a fitting site for the Cathedral project, Bishop Noser decided to set up a Cathedral Building Committee made up of Mr. Patrick Branigan, the Attorney General of the Gold Coast, Mr. Charles Renner, the French General Consul; Mr. Hepburn-Smith, Commissioner of Income Tax; Mr. A. C. Salami, a Lebanese Merchant; Mr. Alfred E. Sam, a Government Pensioner, and Bishop Noser himself.
Later, two others, namely Fr. Cletus Hodapp, and Fr. Charles Schneider, the Bursar and the Assistant respectively of the Vicariate, were co-opted to the committee. As a result of the influence Mr. Branigan had in Government circles, it was discovered that the current location of the Cathedral was known as “Crown land,” and the corner at the junction of the Castle Road and Farrar Avenue was under lease to the Methodist Mission which was being used as a football field of a nearby Methodist School. When the Methodist Church was contacted to release the site for the construction of the Cathedral, they agreed but on condition that the Catholic Church leveled the football field near their School at Adabraka, and a second field be provided within a walking distance of the new Methodist School on the Wesley Church site.
A building permit was issued by the Municipal Engineer of the Accra Town Council and the drawings for the Cathedral were prepared by Fr. Joseph Jud; a building engineer who had come to the Gold Coast from Switzerland. Approval for the construction of the Cathedral was given on 9th August 1951.
On Mission Sunday, October 19, 1952, a Pontifical Mass was celebrated under a palm-branch shelter erected on the site during which the blessing and the ground-breaking ceremonies took place. An estimated 2000 people from all parts of the Accra Diocese attended the ceremony. Bishop Noser in a sermon, which was interpreted in Ga by Fr. Samuel Vanderpuije, said:
“the motive of building such a grand church is not that of pride, but of the desire to give Glory to God in a Cathedral Church expressing and symbolizing Catholic unity. This will not be a Church for any particular city, nor for any particular tribe; neither will it be built by an isolated group of Catholics. The Catholics of the whole Accra Diocese will build and use it together, as an expression of unity among themselves, with their priests and Bishop, and through them with His Holiness, Pius XII.”
Individuals, groups, societies and Catholic Churches in Accra Diocese contributed in cash and in kind towards the project. It is on record that before the ground-breaking ceremony, a number of strategies were adopted to raise funds towards the project.
Bishop Oliver Bowers who came to replace Bishop Noser, was ordained Bishop on April 22, 1953, in the U.S. He returned on September 26, 1953 and was received by an enthusiastic crowd through the streets of Accra to the Pro-Cathedral, the Sacred Heart Church. Bishop Bowers took canonical possession of the Diocese of Accra, on September 27, 1953, in the Holy Spirit Cathedral, which was yet to be roofed. However, the first Pontifical High Mass offered in the uncompleted Cathedral was by Bishop Gerard Bertrand, W.F. of Navrongo at 5:00 pm on May 31, 1953 in honour of the coronation of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. The Mass was preceded by a parade from Sacred Heart Parish, Derby Avenue through Accra to the Cathedral.
Thus on March 3, 1957, at a Pontifical High Mass in the presence of the Papal Delegate, Bishop v.d. Bronk of Kumasi, Bishop Bertrand of Navrongo, Bishop Konings of Keta, and Bishop Bowers of Accra, Archbishop Porters, SMA of Cape Coast, consecrated Ghana solemnly to the Sacred Heart of Jesus ahead of Ghana’s independence on March 6, 1957. Earlier, the Cathedral was opened to the general public on Sunday, January 5, 1957 when Bishop Bowers declared: “There will be Mass at the Cathedral every Sunday at 7:15 am and everyone is free to attend.”
Currently, the Holy Spirit Cathedral has twenty-three adult and eleven youth societies, groups and associations; a total of thirty-four societies.
CELEBRATIONS OF THE SACRAMENTS
The Cathedral has been the home to thousands of people as far as the reception of the sacraments is concerned. The First Baptism in the Cathedral was administered by Bishop Bowers on 27th February 1955. Today, as many as 10,822 persons have had the privilege, either as children or adults, to have been baptized at the Cathedral. The very first Communion was received on February 9, 1958. As at now, 7,768 First Communions have been received here in the Cathedral. Not only this, as many as 5,352 persons have received Confirmation after the initial one on October 3, 1957 while 1,583 Marriages have taken place.
On education, the Parish can boast of the St. Joseph School; a school that has produced great scholars, an Archbishop, a President of Ghana, numerous men and women who are all contributing to the development of the church and country. The Cathedral Parish has offered pastoral care to many outstations some of which have become Parishes. Currently, it takes care of two outstations: St. Joseph in Weija and St. Peter in Tettegu.
Priests who worked at the Cathedral
- Fr. John Coady, SVD
- Fr. Francis Charles SVD
- Fr. Charles Boykins SVD
- Fr. Andrew Campbell SVD
- Fr. Agripino dela Cruz SVD
- Fr. Peter Baddoo
- Fr. Fred Timp SVD
- Fr. Alex Bobby Benson
- Fr. Joseph Afrifah-Agyekum
- Fr. Charles Pokoo
- Fr. Anthony Baiden-Amissah
- Fr. Thomas Anokye-Dansoh
- Fr. Gabriel Otoo
- Fr. Seth Arwo-Doqu
- Fr. Francis Adoboli
- Fr. Fred Agyeman
- Fr. Raphael Atta-Donkor
- Fr. Henry Frempong
- Fr. John Amoah
- Fr. Fred Agyeman
- Fr. Matthias Amuzu
- Fr. Michael Mensah
- Fr. Delase Atsu Parku
- Fr. Miguel Oppong
- Fr. Charles Francis Ackon
- Fr. Sylvanus Dogodzi
- Fr. Emmanuel Gosu
- Fr. John Henry Mensah
- Fr. Anthony Adu Mensah
- Fr. Patrick Agbeko
- Fr. Emmanuel Duku
HSC parishioners ordained as Priests
- Fr. Aristide Ayitey
- Fr. Charles Gabriel Palmer Buckle
- Fr. Joseph Agoha
- Fr. Gabriel Sosu
- Fr. Lawrence Duho
- Fr. Dominic Amegashitsi
- Fr. Michael Agbuisi
- Fr. Francis Oteng-Bawuah
- Fr. Delight Arnold Carbonu
- Fr. Vincent Agbeyome Akpah
- Fr. Patrick Quarcoopome
HSC parishioners ordained as Rev. Sisters
- Sister Vincentia Mensah HDR
- Sister Lawrencia
- Sister Clare Spencer
- Sister Domitila Amissah-Mensah
- Sister Lucy Agbuisi
- Very Rev. Fr. Charles Schneider – 1958 to 1960
- Very Rev. Fr. Martin Wels – 1961 to 1962
- Very Rev. Fr. Albert Kretschmer – 1963 to 1964
- Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Halleran – 1965 to 1967
- Very Rev. Fr. Dominic K. Andoh – 1967 to 1968
- Very Rev. Fr. Lawrence Thornton – 1969 to 1983
- Very Rev. Fr. Joseph Tetteh Addy – 1983 to 1986
- Very Rev. Fr. Msgr. Pius K. Kpeglo – 1987 to 2006
- Very Rev. Fr. John K. Louis – 2006 to 2012
- Very Rev. Fr. Charles Francis Ackon (Ag) – 2012 to 2014
- Very Rev. Fr. Samuel Filton-Mensah – 2014 to Date
HSC Parish Pastoral Council Chairpersons
- Sir George K. Hagan, KSG – 1958 to 1965
- Mr. Matthew Addai – 1966 to 1971
- Dr. John St. George Warmann – 1972 to 1974
- Mr. Francis I. Andoh, Jnr. – 1975 to 1981
- Mr. Augustine E. T. Adjei – 1982 to 1984
- Mr. Victor K. Aidoo – 1984 to 1987
- Mr. Joseph Moore Angate – 1988 to 1992
- Mr. Joseph K. Obeng – 1993 to 1996
- Mrs. Elizabeth Ezan – 1997 to 2000
- Mr. Peter Siaw Nyarko – 2001 to 2004
- Mr. Johnnie Moreaux – 2005 to 2008
- Mr. Ernest Amoako – Arhen – 2009 to 2012
- Mrs. Mary Anane-Mensah – 2013 to 2014
- Mr. Peter Wireko – 2014 to Date