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St. Joseph's Catholic Church, K/Vom

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History of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, K/Vom

The story of the Catholic Church at K/Vom stretches back to 1933, more than 77 years ago. In that year a group of Camerounians Catholics who had come for employment decided that they would build a church for prayer and worship. Thus the small seed was sown like the mustard seed, which grew and developed into the biggest shrub…so the birds of the air could shelter in it’s shade’ (Mark 4: 31 - 32).

However, many obstacles had to be overcome before the seed could take root. Since the land at Vom was especially designated as an area reserved for the expansion of the National Veterinary Institute, the authorities of the Institute were not favourable to the request of those early Camerounians for land for their Church and particularly for a father’s Rest House.

But the founding fathers’ were resolute; so they approached the Chief of Kuru with their request. The chief of Kuru gave them, free of charge, a plot “Not far from the Charge-Office”. However, “one Hausa-man” had sown a crop of cassava on the plot and he had to be compensated. Thaddeus Kong, an employee of the Vet, paid the money and the foundation of the first Catholic Church at Vom was laid in 1933.

Even before the building was roofed, the members contacted Rev. Fr. J. Sheehy, resident at St. Theresa’s, Jos. By the end of 1933, Vom had its first mass, celebrated between mud walls and beneath the open sky. Not long after this historic occasion, the first church building was roofed and completed.

In 1937 a young active priest, Rev. Fr. F. Hughes, in his early twenties arrived at St. Theresa’s, Jos, from Ireland. He was to have a long association with Vom and Kuru parish and environs. He paid regular visits to Vom between 1937 and 1943 and frequently said Mass in this first small church.

By 1940 the first church building was not able to contain the expanding number of Catholic followers. The old building was therefore demolished and a new and larger one replaced it.

In 1933, the Catholic Church of K/Vom was one of the four oldest churches on the Plateau. Its sister churches were St. Theresa’s, Jos (1918), St. Jarleth’s, Bukuru (1932) and one at Barkin Ladi (1928). Of the four churches, Vom alone could boast that its church was built solely from the efforts and faith of the people themselves without any outside help.

In 1940, as well as serving as a church for prayer and worship on Sundays, the building also served as a Catholic Primary School during the week. The new school had only one teacher, a Camerounian, Mr. Thaddeus Anthony. But late in the same year the school was closed down by the Education Authorities because it was not officially registered and remained closed until 1943.
In 1943 Fr. F. Hughes got the school registered and undertook to supply two teachers provided the  community would pay their salaries. The headmaster received ₤4. 00 per month while his assistant was paid ₤3.15 per month. In 1948, the first harvest and bazaar was held at Vom. It realized the sum of ₤48.00 and this amount was returned to the church to help pay the two teachers’ salaries.

By 1951 the foundation for St. Joseph’s Primary School was laid and in the same year, the church of Vom came under a new parish headquarters at Zawwan, where Rev. Fr. F. Hughes, SMA, was appointed Parish Priest.

In 1964 the Zawan Parish was further divided and Vom came under a new parish headquarters at Bukuru and in 1976 a further division was made which brought Vom under Kuru Parish.

Throughout the seventies meetings where held and plans were made to put yet a new Church; the present and the third since the beginning of the Catholic community in K/Vom. This present Church, built by Rev. Fr. Maurice Henry, SMA, was dedicated and opened on 23rd May 1982 by His Grace, Christian Tumi, Archbishop of Garoua, Cameroun, and His Lordship: G. G. Ganaka, Bishop of Jos.

In 1987 the request for St. Joseph to be made an autonomous parish was presented to Bishop Ganaka during his pastoral visit to administer the sacrament of confirmation in the parish.  The request was granted and the official inauguration of St. Joseph Parish took place on the 27th of January 1990. As a parish with Rev. Fr. Maurice Henry as the first parish priest, St. Joseph K/Vom had the following outstations: St. John, Turu; St. St. Matthew, Vwang; St. Peter, Chugwi; St. William, Dantau; St. Moses, Kogom and St. Paul, Haita.

Following the elevation of St. John, Turu, as a parish, St. Joseph K/Vom was left with St. Moses, Kogom, and three new outstations: St. Patrick, Chaha; St. Michael, Chakarum and St. Luke, Daholbob.

The Catholic Church’s commission to preach and teach the word of God in all its dimensions could not be complete without a health care programme. In 1989 “Mandela Klinik” of K/Vom was established  to cater for the health of the Vom population irrespective of their Church or belief, under the leadership of Rev. Sr. Mary Collins, OLA.

The following is the list of Parish Priests and Priests who have worked in St. Joseph, K/Vom:

  • Rev. Fr. Maurice Henry, SMA (Irish):   1973 – 2004
  • Rev. Fr. John O’Keefe, SMA (Irish):     2004 – 2007
  • Rev. Fr. Thaddeus Mokaya, SMA (Kenyan)     2007
  • Rev. Fr. Claude Nikpi, SMA (Ivorian)  2007 – 2008
  • Rev. Fr. Anthony Fevlo, SMA (Ghanaian)        2008 till date

Vision Statement

A vibrant SMA Parish that will be a role model in Pastoral care, where Love and Unity prevail through Capacity Building for sustainable, Spiritual, Socio-economic and Physical
Development centered on