Geographical and Social Description of the Area
Ho Diocese is located in the Volta Region of Ghana and constitutes ten Administrative Districts, namely: Ho, Kpando and Hohoe municipal areas. Others include, North Dayi, South Dayi, Adaklu, Agortime-Ziope, Ho-West, Afadjato-South Districts and parts of Asuogyaman District in the Eastern Region. The Diocese lies within longitudes 12'E and 0 53'E; and latitudes 6 20'N. The Jasikan District lies in the North of the Ho Diocese while it is bordered in the East by the Republic of Togo. The Southern border is shared with Akatsi and North Tongu Districts while the Volta Lake forms the Western boundary. Ho Diocese covers a total land area of 5893 square kilometers. It is divided into twenty-nine Parishes. The vegetation of the diocese is a mix of guinea savannah woodland, forest and forest-savannah transitional zones. The savannah woodlands consist of tall grass with scattered trees including acacia, bamboo and baobabs.
Ghana has a democratically elected government after 40 years of political instability notably, from 1966 – 1992. The 1992 Constitution ties in Economic, Cultural, Educational, Women and Children's rights alongside the traditional civic, political and private property rights. Freedom of expression is in all spheres of life including religion and political participation and is enshrined in the Constitution. This is demonstrated by decentralized administrative and political structure. As a result, there are ten regions and about 260 Administrative Districts, which emphasize devolving power from the Centre to the lower levels. Establishment of National Council of Churches and National Catholic Secretariat cater for religious expression of Churches and ecclesial bodies, which structures are represented at regional and local levels. At community level, the Chiefs, together with the Town Development Committee and Unit committee headed by the Assemblyman, the needs of the community are effectively planned and executed.
The socio-economic life of the people in the diocese is very poor. The total population (2010) of the Volta Region is 2,118,252 while that of the Ho Diocese (which extends to 10 districts) is about 789,664 which is about 37% of the total population of the Volta Region. The population of Catholics in the Ho Diocese is about 450,000. Agriculture is the main stay of the economy and more than 70% of the total population is heavily engaged in it, with a few number of people engaged in fishing and livestock rearing. The major access to land is inheritance, although renting, leasing and share cropping also require land. Farm size is usually small just enough to cater for domestic use. Crops cultivated include maize, rice, cassava, cocoyam, yam, plantain, tomatoes, pepper, okro, garden eggs, cocoa and oil palm. Women constitute about 57% of population in the Volta Region and many of them are engaged in petty trading and artisanal businesses such as tailoring, baking, kente weaving including buying and selling. Women form 52%, children constitute about 45% of the total Catholic population. The teeming Youth (0 – 59 years) constitutes about 44.8% while about 10% comprises adults aged over 60 years.
Developmental Challenges of the Ho Diocese
The demographic analysis as indicated above shows that women, children and youth constitute the majority of the workforce. The developmental challenges facing the Ho Diocese, are sluggish growth of Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in generating economic activities locally, inadequate school building for basic schools, increasing number of jobless youth and out-of-school youth, modest increase of HIV/AIDS prevalence in communities, incredible constraints in accessing credits for business expansion and marginalization of women, widows and orphans in education (by gender parity in schools), low level of community participation and lack of access to productive resources such as land and intestate inheritance problems.
Ho Diocese has total population of 789,664 and 254,842 constitutes the population in the rural communities while 534,822 resides in the urban area (2000 population and Housing census). With 67.7% of the population residing in the rural communities; implies that development interventions need to be targeted at the rural communities and poor but productive women in the urban centers too in order to ensure equitable distribution of development efforts, and in particular, to considerably reduce migration of the youth from rural areas to urban area for job avenues.
Lack of financial assistance to undertake private or group project activities increase poverty at the rural communities. Access to good food and basic health care become very difficult and this has spiral effect on productivity. Nonetheless, rural communities understand the lack of cooperation and conflicts as major causes of sluggish pace of development which prolong incidence of poverty in the rural areas. Unlike, the urban parts of the diocese, where basic social services like schools, hospitals, financial institutions, good roads, formal legal institutions abound, the targeted rural communities do not have such adequate facilities.
To mitigate the slow pace of development in the project area, capacity building, quality education and microfinance especially for women have been identified as key elements in addressing the sluggish pace of development. Skill training in small and business management, communication techniques and changing gender parity in schools in favour of girl-child education resulting in the high performance in mathematics, science, English and social studies can improve technological development of the communities in the Ho Diocese.
Department of women affairs, Regional and District Directorates of Education of the Ghana Education Service, the community Leaders collaborate to build capacity of all stakeholders on the importance of girls education for rapid development in deprived schools in the Ho Diocese.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE DIOCESE OF HO IN THE VOLTA REGION OF GHANA
The history of Ho Diocese takes its origins from the Vicariate of Dahomey (the present day Benin), and the Vicariate of the Gold Coast, part of which became the Diocese of Keta. Keta Diocese in turn became the Diocese of Keta – Ho and Ho became the Episcopal See of Keta – Ho Diocese. And in our times on the 19th day of December, 1994, Keta –Ho Diocese (Co-terminus with the Volta Region) was divided into three Dioceses with Ho Diocese in the Center, Jasikan Diocese in the north of Ho Diocese and Keta –Akatsi Diocese in the South, all in the Volta Region of Ghana.
Panorama History from Vicariate of Lower Volta 15th March 1923 to 18th April 1950 (Keta Diocese)
One Hundred and Forty – Six years ago the whole territory from the River Volta to River Niger and from the Atlantic Coast to Sudan was under the Pro-Vicariate of Dahomey established on 28th August, 1860.
On that same day (28th August, 1860) the Vicariate of Dahomey was assigned to the Society of African Missions (S.M.A) which was established on 8th December, 1856 with headquarters in Lyon, France.
Fr. Pierre Augustine Plangue, SMA Superior General sent the first two priests to Ouidah (Dahomey). They arrived there on April 19, 1861. From the Ouidah Mission, the Missionaries visited Keta as one of their outstations from where the “pedes apostolorum” ventures of evangelization spread through the Lower Volta.
Pope Leo XIII erected the prefecture Apostolic of the Gold coast (now Ghana) on September 27, 1879 and the first two SMA Fathers Auguste Murreau and Eugene Murat landed in Elmina on 8th May 1880.
In 1882, Lagos became Apostolic Vicariate with territory covering Dahomey and Togo covering practically the present day Volta Region extending to Yendi, Tatale, Bimbila, Saboba, Chereponi, Gushiegu and further North to Bumpurugu, Garu and Bawku in the present day Upper East Region of Ghana.
Two SMA Missionaries Michael Wade (Irish) and Jean – Baptiste Thuet (a Frenchman from Alsace) were sent from Elmina, Prefecture Apostolic of the Gold Coast. They arrived in Keta on 25th May 1890 as the first resident priests.
A Papal decree dated 19th May, 1894 transferred the territory of the Lower Volta from the Prefecture Apostolic of Dahomey to the Prefecture Apostolic of the Gold Coast. Thus Keta Mission and its surroundings were separated from Dahomey Prefecture. Thus in exception of Keta and its southern surrounding, the Northern Sector which was formerly British Togoland remained what became Apostolic Prefecture of Togo (erected 12th April 1892) assigned to the German Divine word Missionaries (Societas Verbi Divini SVD).
The Southern Sector i.e. the lower Volta was under the political rule of Denmark headquartered at Keta. The then Northern Sector was ruled by Germany.
In 1892, the German S.V.D. Missionaries based in Lome and Kpalime undertook the evangelization of the northern Sector and worked mainly in (Kpando and Gbi – Bla, Hohoe) in what is now Ho Diocese. In 1902 the Divine Word Missionaries assigned to Kpalime Parish in Togo opened outstations at Gbi-Bla, Liati, Fodome Xelu and Fodome Axor.
In 1903, stations were opened at Kpando Dzogbesianti, Lolobi Ashiambi (Akrowa) and Likpe Avedzeme were opened.
In almost everywhere that we find a Catholic church today in what is now Ho Diocese, it was the laity sometimes yet to be baptized persons who initially gathered the people together into ekklesia (church community) and walked long distances to invite a priest to come and officially open the church.
In 1904, Rev. Father Anthony Witte became the resident priest at Kpando. In that same year 1904, Gbi Atabu station was opened.
In the year 1905the following stations were opened.
Alavanyo Dzogbedze, Alavanyo Agorxoe, Sovie, Aveme Danyigba, Teteman Buem now a parish in Jasikan Diocese.
In 1906, Rev. Father Herring became the resident priest at Gbi Bla. In the same year a school was opened at Likpe Mate.
In 1907, Ho Bankoe Mission Station was visited by Rev. Fathers Kockers and Eichman from Kpalime parish. The following stations were opened in 1907.
Tokokoe, Atikpui, Agbenoxoe, Leklebi Agbesia, Logba Vuinta, Gbefi
In 1908 was a fruitful year like the previous years. In 1908 saw the opening of the following stations.
Nkonya now in Jasikan Diocese (co-created with Keta-Akatsi on 19th December 1994).
Hodzo, Gbledi, Tafi Atome, Leklebi Dafor, Logba, Aflao School (now in Keta-Akatsi Diocese.
In the same year 1908, the famous St. Francis Training College, Hohoe was opened by the German S.V.Ds at Gbi-Bla to train Teacher-Catechists and Seminarians under the title of St. Augustine’s College. In 1911 it was closed down and moved to Agbedrafor in Togo. It was brought back to Gbi-Bla in 1912 and closed down again because of the First World War (1914 – 1918). In 1929, the college was opened again (now under the SMA Missionaries) at Gbi-Bla as a rural Training Center which was transformed into a training college in January 1931 and officially opened by Bishop Augustine Herman, SMA. The college had 18 students.
The Principal was Rev. Fr. Joseph Gerald, SMA, (BA, H.Dip. Ed) who was ordained Titular Bishop of Ammaedara and Vicar Apostolic of the Lower Volta on 13th October, 1946 in the Cathedral of Cork, Ireland.
The history of St. Francis Training College continued to repeat itself when in 1934 the college was once closed down and relocated in Amisano near Elmina. Under the direction of Bishop J.G Holland, St. Francis Training College was reopened as a Two-Year Certificate ‘B’ Teacher training College on 14th February, 1947 at Gbi-Bla, Hohoe its God-given place of birth never to be closed down again.
In 1909, the following stations were opened:
Anfoega Wademaxe, Anfoega Agatanyigbe, Fodome Amle, Asato (now outstation of Kadjebi parish, Jasikan Diocese).
In 1911 at various times the following stations were opened: Shia (became a parish in 1957 with 15 outstations) Hoe, Likpe, Bala. Likpe Bakwa.
In 1912 the Sisters of Our Lady of Apostles (O.L.A.) founded in 1876 by Fr. Pierre Augustin the co-founder of the Society of African Missions (SMA Fathers), opened a convent and a school for girls at Keta. Dzodze School was opened in the same year.
In the same year Sisters Convent was opened at Kpando and stations were opened at Awate (now in Anfoega Parish) and Avee (now in Shia Parish).
Anfoega Akukome (became SS, Peter and Paul Parish in 1955 with 16 outstations) Taviefe Deme and Lume were also opened in 1913 as stations.
In 1914, the First World War broke out in Europe and the war was taken to West and East Africa with catastrophic consequences. The war ended on 11th November, 1918. The British took over Togoland, a colony of their enemies.
In 1917, the British forces captured the German Missionaries working at the three major stations at Denu, Kpando and Gbi-Bla and were taken under military escort to Lome and shipped to England as prisoners of war. It was a sorrowful day. Miserable to behold. The German Missionaries were weeping and the faithful were wailing and crying. In tears they sung a hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dzifomo Yeyea No. 172). What an appropriate hymn. The ship sailed off and disappeared at the horizon.
Not a single missionary was left for they were all Germans. All the three parishes and numerous stations were left without any priests. But the word of God could not be imprisoned nor deported from Togoland. During their 25 years of evangelization the German SVD Missionaries had 8,000 Catholics.
Bishop Ignatius Hummel, SMA ordained Bishop of the Vicariate-Apostolic of the Gold Coast residing at Cape Coast was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the part of former German Togoland occupied by British forces. There were no priests to take care of the affected blossoming parishes (Denu, Kpando and Gbi-Bla) and their many outstations when the war and the French SMA priests and seminarians serving in the army were either killed or lost in action.
The pastoral vacuum created by the First World War (1914-1918) was filled by Teacher-Catechists and many other lay people who did remarkable apostolate of lay ministers. (1917-1921) Notable among the teacher catechists was Mr. Emmanuel Lodonu of Gbi-Atabu whose son Francis Kofi Anani Lodonu was ordained Auxiliary Bishop in 1973 and became the first native Ghanaian Bishop of Keta – Ho Diocese on 15th August, 1976.
Another famous Teacher –Catechist who held the fort in Kpando and neighbouring stations was Mr. Eusebius Klay of Kpando Tsakpe. Mr. Francis Sika of Gbi-Bla a disciple of the first Missionaries kept the light of faith shining at Gbi-Bla. The torch bearer teacher-catechist in Denu and environs was Mr. Paul Kofi Vudu of Denu, Mr. Cosmos d’Almeida, a teacher – catechist held the fort at Keta.
These and many other lay people kept the lamp burning. They taught catechism, conducted services “in the absence” of a priest; they baptized the new – born and adults in articulo mortis (in danger of death) and witnessed marriages and buried the dead.
In 1921, S.M.A. Missionaries began to arrive for the Keta mission and the parishes (Denu, Kpando and Gbi-Bla) and their surrounding stations started by the SVD Missionaries were put under the care of the SMAs. The first two SMA Fathers: Jean – Baptist Thuet and Erhard arrived at Kpando as resident priests.
Anastasius Odaye Dogli was ordained a priest on 12th July 1922 at Cape Coast by Bishop Ignatius Hummel. He was born at Baglo Buem (now in Jasikan Diocese in 1880. He started as a “pupil teacher” and was lawfully married and blessed with one daughter and became one of the first students of the Teacher-Catechist Training College opened by the German SVD Fathers. When the Germans were deported in 1917 he resumed the formation under the SMA Fathers in the Bishop’s House at Cape Coast. Fr. Dogli’s first appointment was Kpando (as Parish Priest).
The Late Rev. Monsignor Paul Yao was one of his Mass boys at Kpando. Fr. Dogli, a powerful preacher and man of frustrated initiatives was transferred to Gbi-Bla in 1927 with the mandate to open up the vineyard in the Buem area and in 1929 he was appointed Parish Priest of Jasikan. In 1935 he was transferred to Dzelukope. From 1944 to the time of his retirement to Baglo his hometown he was itinerary retreat preacher in parts of the Gold coast, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. He died on May 28th 1970 in Baglo.
Lower Volta Apostolic Vicariate 1923:
The Catholic Church in the Lower Volta (now Volta Region) was founded in Keta in 1890 by SMA Fathers from Dahomey. In 1894, it was annexed to the Cape Coast Vicariate. Pope Pius XI (1922-1939) created the Vicariate on 15th of March 1923 and entrusted it to the Dutch Province of the S.M.A.
The Apostolic Vicariate of the Lower Volta comprised the territory of the English Togoland and Keta and Denu parishes which were formerly part of the Gold Coast Vicariate headquartered in Cape Coast. The Lower Volta Apostolic Vicariate extended from the South East corner of the Volta river estuary as far North as Bimbila, Yendi and Bawku. The Volta River formed the boundary between the LOWER VOLTA Vicariate and the Vicariate of the Gold Coast. While a Prefecture Apostolic is a territory or a Diocese headed by a superior, a Vicariate Apostolic or a Diocese headed by an ordained Bishop.
Bishop Augustine Herman’s Era (1923 – 1945)
Rev. Fr. Augustine Herman, SMA was born at Turckheim in Alsace Strasbourg on 18th December, 1879. He studied in SMA Seminaries in Holland and Ireland and was ordained priest in 1902. He taught for a year and was sent to Nigeria in 1904 working mainly in the districts of Ijebu and Ikiti. During the First World War he was attached to the English, French and native forces as a Chaplain in Cameroon. He was mobilized into military service in Europe and returned to Nigeria after the World War I. It was in Nigeria that he was appointed to head the newly created Lower Volta Apostolic Vicariate and Consecrated Bishop at Strasbourg, Alsace in France on 13th June 1923 as Titular Bishop of Bubastis.
The motto on his Coat of Arms is: “Sicut Miles Christi” (“As a soldier of Christ”) (cfr. 2 Timothy 2:3). He arrived in Keta on 23rd October, 1923 as the first bishop of the Lower Volta apostolic Vicariate and after 6 days started pastoral visit of the central parishes and outstations on bicycle from Keta to Krachi. He was a classical text book example of a holy untiring pastoral Bishop. He spent two or three days in almost every station, visiting the homes and the sick, teaching catechism, celebrated mass, heard confessions and examined candidates for Baptism (adults) and Confirmation. He was led and propelled by the Holy Spirit. He combined pastoral work with school education which he considered as an invaluable instrument of evangelization and development. He founded over 2000 Catholic Schools in a short period of time.
During his many time, new stations were opened including the following in the present day Ho Diocese in 1924. Gbi - Bla (first time after the 2nd World War) and Ho got permanent resident priests. Gbefi Tornu, Kpando Dafor and Alavanyo Abehenease were opened in 1924.
In 1925, twenty five stations were opened in the Vicariate including the following stations in Ho Diocese. Alavanyo Wudidi, Kpando Fesi, Anfoeta Tsebi, Peki Adzokoe, Sokode Gbogame, Klave, Trsukpe, Tsyome, Aveme Beme, Vuinta.
In 1926 a Minor Seminary was opened at Kpando. In the same year 1926, the Little Servants of the Sacred Heart (Menton Sisters) opened a convent and a dispensary in Kpando. They taught catechism and visited the aged and the sick in their homes. They were dedicated to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They later on opened dispensaries at Dzodze (1934) and at Abor.
In 1926 the following stations were opened: Saviefe, Vane, Have, Gbi Wegbe, Wli Todzi, Fodome Woe.
In 1927, nine stations were opened in the Vicariate including: Tanyigbe in Ho Diocese.
In 1928, stations were opened at Kpedze (which became a parish in 1986 with 20 outstations) Adaklu Wayanu, Peki Woadze, Agate, Nyagbo and Botoku.
In January, 1931, Bishop Herman officially re-opened the Training College at Gbi-Bla headed by Rev. Fr. Joseph Gerald Holland, SMA for the formation of Teacher – Catechists.
IN 1934, OLA Sisters opened a Boarding School for girls at Gbi-Bla, and the Training College at Gbi-Bla closed down once more and the students were sent to Amisano near Elmina.
In 1935, Likpe station got her first resident priest in the person of Rev. Fr. Francis Hertzig.
The Second World War (1939 – 1945) disrupted the work of evangelization. New missionaries could not come in and those already here could not go home on holidays.
The Death of Bishop Augustine Herman: Sunday, 8th April 1945 at 7.15p.m.
Bishop Augustine Herman was consecrated Bishop on June 13th 1923 in Strasbourg, France. On October 11, 1923 he landed on the shore of Gold Coast at Sekondi and went to present himself to Bishop Ignatius Hummel, Vicar Apostolic in charge of the Gold Coast and administrator of the Lower Volta Vicariate. He continued his journey by boat and landed in Lome, Togo on 23rd October 1923 and proceeded to Keta on the same day.
After three days, faithful to his Motto “As a Soldier of Christ”, Bishop Herman made a reconnaissance pastoral visit of 16 days on foot and bicycle from Keta through Anyako, Abor, Adaklu – Ahunda, Ho, Peki, Kpando and Kete – Krachi.
Bishop Herman’s apostolic work cannot be quantified neither by numerical facts nor statistics. In Bishop Lodonu’s words, Bishop Herman “transformed the whole of the Vicariate of the Lower Volta” (Information on Ho Diocese, Ghana 2006)
On March 16, 1945 Bishop Herman wrote to his flock: “as the bad state of my health does not allow me to continue the administration of the Vicariate, I give my resignation letter today and appoint Rev. Fr. James Verheugd to be pro-vicar with all powers attached to this title”.
He was booked to leave by boat to Europe from Lome on 8th April, 1945. He was given a grand farewell on Easter Monday, 2nd April 1945. In Lome, his condition became worse and was taken to the hospital on Saturday, 7th April 1945. His confrere Rev. Fr. Riebstein from the same town as Bishop Herman administered the Sacrament of the Sick.
Mr. Gerald Asomontsi of Teteman, the Bishop’s faithful Driver, Cook, Catechist and interpreter was by him praying when Bishop Augustine Herman died on the first Sunday of Easter, 8th April 1945 at 7.15 p.m. in Lome. The Body was brought to Keta on 9th April, 1945 and buried in the right side chapel of St. Michael’s Cathedral at Keta.
Bishop Augustine Herman was Bishop of the Lower Apostolic Vicariate for 22 years
(1923 – 1945).
BISHOP JOSEPH GERALD HOLLAND, SMA
Bishop Joseph Gerald Holland, SMA succeeded Bishop Augustine Herman in 1946. J.G Holland was born in Liverpool in 1903 and was ordained priest in1928. He was appointed Principal of St. Francis Training College at Gbi-Bla in January, 1931. On 18th July, 1946, Rev. Fr. J.G. Holland was appointed titular Bishop of Ammaedara and Vicar Apostolic of the Lower Volta. He was consecrated Bishop on 13th October 1946 in Cork, Ireland.
Bishop Holland arrived in Keta on 18th January, 1947 and took over the administration of the Vicariate from Very Rev. Theodore Veldboer, S.M.A., who was then the Pro-Vicar of the Vicariate. On February 2, 1947, he celebrated a pontifical High Mass at Keta followed by a guard official reception. Five days later he started his apostolic mission which took him from Keta to Abor, Denu, Ho, and Kete-Krachi. He visited Kpando on February 15, 1947 and Hohoe the next day.
During the time of Bishop J.G. Holland, St. Francis Teacher Training College was re-opened (1947) never to be closed again. The following parishes were opened: Papase (1948), Nkonya Wurupong (1950).
In 1950, Bishop J.G. Holland went home on sick leave to Britain. Fr. Anthony Konings, S.M.A., Pro-Vicar was holding the fort.
The Apostolic Vicariate of the Lower Volta became Keta Diocese:
On the 18th of April, 1950, a Papal Bull or document from the Pope established the hierarchy of British West Africa. Consequently, the four vicariates in the Gold Coast became four Dioceses: of Keta, Tamale, Kumasi and Accra. The Vicariate of Cape Coast was declared an Archdiocese. This meant that the Catholic Church in the Gold coast in 1950 was of age and would be led by its own Bishops in accordance with the laws of the Universal Church in union with the Pope. It would no longer be a ward of the Church evangelized as Mission and administered from lands afar overseas.
The Bishops of the Gold Coast did not know of the Good News until May 1950 when they all went to Rome on official visit “Ad Limina”. It also meant that the Bishops were titular Bishops of their territories.
On 31st May, 1952 Bishop J.G. Holland was enthroned in his private Chapel as the First Bishop of Keta Diocese. The ceremony was performed by Archbishop William Porter of cape Coast in the presence of Fr. Anthony Konings, Vicar General and Fr. Cornelius Breukel, Parish Priest of Dzelukope.
Bishop J.G. Holland was no longer Titular Bishop of Ammaedara but Bishop of Keta. In fact he was the first Bishop of the Diocese of Keta. And St. Michael the Archangel Church at Keta became the Cathedral Church. And the Pro-Vicar (Fr. A. Konings) became Vicar General.
The ailing Bishop J.G. Holland returned home to Europe in 1952 and his resignation was received by the Sacred Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith on June 4th 1953. Bishop J.G. Holland died in Liverpool on 14th April 1972 at the age of 67.
The Very Rev. Anthony Konings was appointed Apostolic Administrator in 1953. Fr. Philip S. Bonto was the only priest Bishop Holland ordained in 1949.
During Bishop Holland’s tenure of office, a Secondary School for boys named after Bishop Augustine Herman was opened in January 1952 at Kpando headed by Rev. Fr. Cornelius Priems, SMA.
The Era of Bishop Anthony Konings, SMA
Bishop Anthony Konings was born at Posterholt in Holland on May 3, 1910. He was ordained priest in1935. He arrived in the Gold Coast in 1935 and posted to Kpando, Hohoe and Jasikan in that order (1938 – 1944). In 1944, he was appointed General Manager of Catholic Schools in the lower Volta Vicariate. He was Pro-Vicar from 1947 – 1950. When the Vicariate became Keta Diocese in 1950 he consequently became the Vicar General and was appointed Apostolic Administrator of Keta Diocese in 1953 when Bishop Holland resigned because of ill-health. Very Rev. Anthony Konings was appointed Bishop of Keta Diocese on 27th February, 1954 and was consecrated Bishop in Posterholt his home town in Holland on May 1st 1954 and returned to the Diocese in the same year.
On 1st February, 1954 Our Lady of Apostles (O.L.A.) Secondary School for girls was opened at Keta. Sr. Theodora Fahy, OLA, was the first Headmistress. In January 1956, the school was moved to her permanent site at Ho. The student population for the 2005/2006 was 950.
In 1955, Anfoega, Saints Peter & Paul Parish was opened. Fr. Theodore Maessen is the first pastor. They were all established by the initiative and zealous apostolate of lay people.
In 1957, Keta Diocese was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes at Kpando Agbenoxoe.
Shia and Vakpo parishes were opened with a resident priest in each of the parishes. In 1958, The Government of Ghana took over all Church Schools in the Volta region. But the schools were returned to the Churches in the same year after strong protest.
St. Paul’s Secondary School for boys was opened at Hatsukope, Viepe Aflao near Denu in 1958. Fr. Caffery was the first Headmaster.
The Holy Rosary Church, Gbi – Hohoe was officially started with a Holy Mass by Rev. Fr. Rudolph Zijstra, SMA on 12th June, 1958. It was Mrs. Alice Tsaku and Mr. Anselmus Amedzi who initiated the idea of having a church at Hohoe (Ahado). It is now a fully grown parish with 1st cycle schools, and socio-economic developments: A bakery and confectionary for the youth, a credit union, a welfare association and ten church associations and sodalities.
On 20th December 1959, Anfoega Catholic Hospital was founded. The pioneer staff consisted of Sister Gras and Sister Huisman. Dr. Bouwers-Bavinck joined them later. In 1963, Maria Dekkers popularly known as Sr. “Ria” came to continue the good work and developed the hospital which now has 105 beds distributed in three wards.
Kpando Catholic Hospital was founded on February 2, 1960. It was staffed by a Team of Grail Movement led by the First Medical Officer, Dr. Margaret Marquart in whose honour the Hospital has been renamed: The Margaret Marquart Catholic Hospital. The Grail Movement established a Catechetical Social Center, popularly known as the Grail Center in Kpando next to the Hospital.
St. Anthony’s Hospital, Dzodze was founded in1960 with the initiative of Fr. Leo Brouwer the beloved Parish Priest with communal labour provided by the people.
St. Mary’s Minor Seminary was founded at Lolobi on 29th September, 1961 headed by Fr. William Van Frankenhuijesen, SMA. St. Mary’s Seminary Secondary School for boys opened admission to non-seminarians and students of all denominations right from the very beginning of its foundation.
St. Theresa’s Teacher Training College for training lady – teachers was opened at Hohoe in September, 1961 headed by Ms Catherine Bagley, an Australian member of the Grail Movement.
In 1963, a Catholic Hospital was opened at Dodi – Papase by Fr. Harry Smith and in 1971, St. Joseph’s Hospital run by OLA Sisters was opened at Nkwanta (now in Jasikan Diocese). It started as a Clinic and Maternity.
The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church (SMMC) was founded by Bishop Anthony Konings in 1971 with the Novitiate at Dzelukope. The formation was entrusted to O.L.A. Sisters on 6th of January 1971, Sisters Dolores Davis and Jane Frances Kenny started with seven novices. The pioneers S.M.M.C. Sisters are Georgina Fuglo, Philomena Osibe and Arcade Eleeza.
Bishop Lodonu continued the founding process and brought it to maturity. The formation house was moved to Sokode Gbogame, near Ho, in 1985.
In 1986, Bishop Lodonu appointed Sr. Georgina Fuglo as Superior General and Sr. Philomena Osibe became the First SMMC Sisters trained Novice Mistress. At her first General Chapter, the SMMC Sisters elected Sr. Georgina Fuglo, Superior General.
In October 2000, Rome gave approval for the Canonical Erection of the SMMC Congregation. Bishop Lodonu officially erected the SMMC Congregation as “an Institute of Diocesan Right” in Ho Diocese on 6th January, 2001 at the Sacred Heart Cathedral, Ho.
At her second General Chapter in 2001, Sr. Cecilia Kudexa was elected Superior General. Currently, the Congregation has 69 Professed Sisters and 4 novices. The SMMC Congregation is professional and faithful servants of the Church in Educational, Social and Health Institutions in the Dioceses of Ho, Keta – Akatsi, Jasikan.