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History of Saint Paul Kpeke church

70th Anniv Brochure kpeheIt all began on the Sunday afternoon in December 1944 when some Ewes residing in Lagos Town (renamed Accra New Town), a suburb of Accra, decided to meet in the house of Mr. Peter Aziaba. The main objective of that meeting was for the group to plan how best they could be of help to one another especially in moments of bereavement. A few minutes after the meeting had started the gathering was elated to see Rev. Fr. Gerhard Fini who explained that he was on an exploratory and pastoral visit to Catholics living in the vicinity. He then asked Mr. Michael Nutsuglo who was also at the meeting to furnish him with the number of Catholics in the area and to find a place for Holy Mass to be celebrated on Sundays. This assignment delighted Mr. Nutsuglo who thereafter embarked on visits to such areas as Pigfarm, Alajo, and New Town. Soon a number of Catholics were visited and a room was acquired near the old site of West Africa Secondary School, New Town, for worship. A monthly rent of four shillings was paid for the room.

The Holy Mass, attended by 25 people, was celebrated by Rev. Fr. Gerhard Fini for the new community in January, 1945. Among those present at the Holy Mass were: Mr and Mrs Nutsuglo, Mr. and Mrs. Marcellinus Nyarku, Mr. Sanvee, Mr. John Kofi Miheaye, Mr. Lambert Abotsi, Mr. Arnold Nyarko, Mr. Faustinus Missodey and Mr. Leo. As a result of the invaluable services he rendered to the Church, Mr. Michael Nutsuglo was later appointed first president (as the Chairpersons were then known) of the Church. He was succeeded by Mr. Eusebius Aguiar who later left Kpehe for Keta in December 1949. Mr. Jerome Amanda became the Acting President. It is of interest to know that the Legionaries from St Joseph, Adabraka (this church later relocated and was re-named Holy Spirit Cathedral) organized the first meeting at this new church at Accra New Town. The Legion of Mary is one society that has been a great source of blessing to the Catholic Church. Introduced in Accra in 1941 by Bishop Adolph Noser, the members, noted for their evangelization zeal visit homes and bring lapsed and inactive Catholics back to the Church. Through the activity of the Legionaries from Adabraka Church, the new Church at New Town experienced a steady growth.

As membership increased it became necessary to find a more spacious place for Church activities. It was therefore, a great joy when Rev. Fr. Alphonse Elsbernd SVD announced after one Sunday Mass that he is in the process of acquiring a piece of land at Kpehe for a Church building. It was Mr. S. T. Agbeko, a prominent member of the Sacred Heart Parish in Derby Avenue, Accra, who bought the plot of land and gave it to the Church. Later Most Rev. A. A. Noser, Bishop of Accra, arranged for a three-classroom school block to be built that also served as a chapel. At the request of Fr. Elsbernd, Mr. Eusebius Aguiar, a catechist, proposed that the Church should be named after the great Evangelist and Apostle St. Paul. This idea was accepted by Rev. Fr. Elsbernd on 18th September, 1946. The occasion also happened to be the first time Rev. Fr Elsbernd celebrated Holy Mass at New Town. In attendance was the Choir from St. Joseph Church, Adabraka. By 1947, Holy Mass was being celebrated twice in a month. The school, then a year old, also made progress and could boast of two teachers. In the latter part of the same year, Rev. Fr. Henk Janssen SVD became the outstation priest of the Church. Soon after, Fr. Janssen began a vigorous house-to-house survey at Kpehe, Nima, Mataheko, etc. Bringing lapsed Catholics back to the faith. The pastoral efforts of Rev. Fr. Janssen greatly helped to inject new life into these stations. And when later he was transferred in September 1948, the Church was placed under the pastoral care of Rev. Fr. Joseph Harold Lauck SVD. Four years after the establishment of the Church, Mr. Dominic Eklu, who later became known as Raphael Kumedzro (“Teacher Raphael”), started organizing Sunday Schools. He also became a catechist in 1951.

In 1955, a new Church Committee was formed with Mr. John Asagba as President. With the assistance of Mr. Ben Keleba, an able leader of the Losso group, the church experienced further increase in membership. December 1963 saw a new Church committee in place with Mr. Peter Kyeremeh as President and Mr. Albert Hukportie as Vice President. Under their able leadership the church continued to grow in strength. Two years on, the Church was fortunate to have a seasoned choirmaster in the person of Mr. Anthony Adams. With the support of Rev. Fr. Richard van der Wurff SVD, the St. Paul’s Choir was formed. The then St

Cecilia Singing Band was formed in 1949. And under the leadership of Mr. Faustinus Missodey, they continued to sing from the Ewe ‘Dzifomo’. Mr. Michael Mensah and Mr. Anthony Yebuah later joined the St. Paul Choir as Assistant Choirmaster and Organist respectively. By the time St. Paul Catholic Church, Kpehe was twenty years old in 1965, it had benefited from the services of other Priests like: Rev. Frs. Leslie Hatfield, Cletus Hodapp, Albert Kretschmer, Frans Mertens, Martin Wels, Emile Seiler, Otto Henning, Charles Schnelder and Richard van der Wurff, all SVD Missionaries. Even though as far back as 1958, the Church had legal hold on the land that it had acquired, it was nevertheless confronted with one serious problem – how to prevent other people from trespassing on that portion of the land which was not in use at the time. In 1965, the valiant and persistent efforts of Rev. Fr. Richard van der Wurff resulted in the ejection of the encroachers on the Parish land. In that same year the Church building, whose cornerstone had already been blessed on 3rd October, 1964 by Bishop J.O Bowers SVD, was laid by Mr. P. K. K. Quaidoo, a Minister of State and a prominent Catholic who had taken a keen interest in the activities of the Church. Succeeding Rev. Fr. Richard van der Wurff was Rev. Fr. Francis Klinkhammer SVD who, like his predecessors, did his best to increase the membership of the Church and to supervise the construction of the Church.

The year 1968 saw the arrival of Rev. Fr. Otto Henning SVD as the Priest in change of the Church. The task of having to continue with the construction of the church building fell on him. In no time he moved from the Holy Spirit Cathedral and used the current sacristy and the room behind the Tarcisians corner of the Church as his residence and office respectively. Rev. Fr. Henning SVD thus became the first resident Priest of the Church. As the membership increased, Bishop Bowers decided to appoint a pastor to shepherd the Church. In 1970, the year that the Church celebrated its 25 years of existence, Rev. Fr Joseph Harold Lauck was made the first pastor. Rev. Fr. Alphonse Elsbernd, the pioneer S.V.D. missionary in Accra and the author of the book: The story of the Catholic in the Diocese of Accra, described that appointment in the following words: “It was quite a change for Fr. Lauck; the Parish was poor and had to count the pennies while the new Church building was still incomplete” Rev. Fr. Lauck moved into the rooms used by his predecessor. He later built a one room apartment which was attached to the Church. For several years he lived in this upstairs room until his retirement in 1987. In 1969, Mr. Sylvester Dankwah-Smith became the President of the new Church committee. Some notable events that took place during this period were the robes

System were installed. Textile material for sewing of robes for the St. Paul Choir and Tarcisians Choir were also brought in from United States of America. By 1969, the parochial work of Rev. Fr. Lauck had extended to Kotobabi, Police Depot, Akweteman, Oduman, Oduntia and Pokuase. Rev. Fr. Anthony Baiden-Amissah was brought in to assist Fr. Lauck, but he was to leave shortly on transfer to Nkawkaw. Most Rev. Dominic Andoh, the then Archbishop of Accra, was so impressed with the achievements of the Church that, in 1976, he raised the status of St. Paul Church to a full Parish. The canonical erection took place on 22nd October, 1978. The ground breaking for the construction of the parish rectory was performed by the Archbishop Most Rev. Dominic Andoh on 22nd August, 1983 and dedicated by Msgr. Pius Kpeglo the Vicar General on 11th September,1987. The dedication ceremony was also used to install Rev. Fr. Samuel Appiasi thus became the second Parish Priest and the first Ghanaian to pastor the church at Kpehe.

On 26th December, 1985, there was a discussion with Archbishop Dominic Andoh on the possibility of the celebration of two Masses at Kpehe. After three months of preparation, the parish started two Sunday Masses. The CYO was mandated by the Archbishop to sing at the First Mass. In March 1992, the foundation stone was laid for a six- classroom school building. This was completed and inaugurated on Sunday, 28th Januar y, 1996 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the Parish. Construction work on a JSS workshop sponsored entirely by “Miscreor” was also begun in 1994 and completed in 1995 From August 1997 to September 1998, Rev. Fr. Peter Atsu was made the Parochial Administrator of the Parish. He was assisted by Rev. Fr. John Boye. Soon after, the Archbishop Most Rev. Dominic Andoh on October 1, 1998, appointed Rev. Fr. Francis Adoboli as the third Parish Priest. The taking of possession of the Parish and the installation ceremony took place on 18th October, 1998. Over the period further pastoral programmes and activities were introduced into the Parish life. Hour of Grace: The Hour of Grace which was introduced on December 8, 1998, is a monthly one-hour adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Water and other Sacramentals are blessed for the faithful. Since its introduction a large number of Catholics and non-Catholics have thronged to the parish for prayers and spiritual assistance. Crusade: Deeply reflecting on the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis in which his Holiness asked the faithful to know that

and new expressions for proclaiming and witnessing to the gospel’ the Parish has decided to organize open air crusades as one of the methods to announce the good news of Christ. Three well patronized crusades have so far been organized at Accra New Town, Alajo and Kotobabi. House-to-House Evangelisation: It was all joy when on 21st June, 2003 the entire Parish went on home to home evangelization at New Town, Alajo, Avenor and Kokomlemle. This exercise was preceded by Bible and evangelization week celebration. A great number of lapsed Catholic came back to the Church while others also joined the Parish. Certificates of participation were awarded all those who participated in the programme. St. Bakhita Catholic Church Amasaman: Through the evangelization enterprise of the Parish the St. Bakhita Church at Amasaman was born. Prior to the coming together of the community at Amasaman, the Pilgrim of St. Michael led by Mr. Joseph Hooper, the Evangelization Formation School whose leader is Mr. Mashininii Missodey, undertook weeks of outreach programme in and around Amasaman. The first Holy Mass was celebrated at the house of Madam Rejoice Tormeti on 4th May, 2003. The main celebrant was Rev. Fr. Francis Adoboli. The Mass was preceded by a brass band procession, through the Amasaman township.

Obom Catholic Church: With the transfer of Rev. Fr. Henry Noordemer to the Afram Plains the Obom Church was brought under the pastoral care of Kpehe in 1994. Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Abelenkpe: The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church which was under St. Kizito Parish, Nima, was later placed under the pastoral care of St Paul Parish, Kpehe, effective 1st October, 1999. Bible Sharing: Weekly Bible sharing has become a regular feature of the Parish. One person who had devoted much of his time and had consistently animated this Spiritual exercise was Rev. Bro. Stephen Domelevo. Special Lenten and Advent Confessions: During these times twenty or more priests from the Accra East Deanery assist in the penitential service and individual confessions. Through this special spiritual exercise several parishioners continue to have recourse to the Sacrament. Education Assistance Fund: The Parish, through the initiative of the Youth Council, then headed by Mr. Raphael Alaglo, has set up an Education Assistance Fund to help brilliant but needy students. Credit Union: In February 2005, the Parish established a Credit Union that makes soft loans and credit facilities available to all contributors.