HistoryFebruary 3, 2021 2023-09-15 2:36
In 1983, the Bishops of the former Ecclesiastical Province of Cape Coast comprising the Cape Coast Arch-Diocese and the dioceses of Accra, Sekondi-Takoradi, Sunyani, Kumasi and Keta-Ho decided to separate the philosophy department of St. Peter's Regional Seminary, Pedu, Cape Coast from that of Theology.
They did so primarily in response to the need to form a new generation of priests with adequate spiritual foundation in keeping with the calls by Pope John Paul II. A Spiritual year programme was thus added to the years of formation. This year, was to precede the seminarians' philosophical studies as a time of discernment and solid foundation in spirituality.
They did so also to respond to the pressure that was mounting on the facilities and the processes of formation at St. Peter's Major Seminary, as big numbers of seminarians were being enrolled at the time.
Accra was the location chosen for its proximity to the University of Ghana, Legon. This was to enable the priest-candidates to take advantage of the opportunities the University of Ghana had to offer.
The hope was that the new seminary would develop some day into a Catholic University College, if not a full-fledged University.
About a hundred and forty-two (142.34) acre plot of land was acquired at Sowutuom for the commencement of the project.
By the end of December, 1987, the first building was partially completed and on 9th December, the diocesan tankers of Sekondi/ Takoradi, Cape Coast and Keta/Ho came to spend the night in Accra and filled our 26,000 gallons underground tank to prepare the grounds for the commencement of the programme.
The first batch of seminarians (48 young men) arrived on January 15, 1988 to start the Spiritual Year Programme.
Two priests, Msgr. Rudolph Apietu, the first Rector, and Msgr. Michael Obosu, the first Spiritual Director, who had been in residence at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in anticipation of the opening of the new seminary moved onto the new campus a day before the arrival of the seminarians to welcome them.
According to Msgr. Obosu, the site “was like a God forsaken place filled with a lot of rocks, a few shrubs here and there and no tree anywhere for shade. The hall under construction was right in the midst of rocks. When I went to bed the night after that visit I could not sleep a wink till about 3.00 a.m., because I was very much preoccupied with what could be done in such a terrible place.”
Two matrons, Rev. Sr. Charles Luanga, HDR and Rev. Sr. Alexandrina, HDR, made the necessary purchases, ordered supplies in anticipation of the opening day. The Sisters commuted Kaneshie each day.
A second Hall of Residence was begun in July 1988. However, it was not ready for occupation by the beginning of the 1988/89 academic year. Tired of waiting, new candidates were invited in February, 1989, and they were paired with the students who arrived the previous year. This was very inconvenient since the rooms were planned for occupation by only one person.
For the pioneers, the first impressions were stark: there was no pipe-borne water, there were no trees, little shrubbery and only occasional patches of wild grass. The brown hills predominated. The seminary had a 27 KVA generating plant which was inadequate besides the fact that it could be used for only four hours daily, from 6pm to 10pm. Kitchen and dining facilities, Chapel and lecture halls were improvised. The regular movement of chairs and tables became the pattern of life for the first few years.
With the start of the philosophy department, additional staff members were added to the teaching faculty. Fr. Stephen Acheampong was added to the staff. Rev. Fr. John Martin Darko was appointed Vice-Rector and lecturer. Rev. Frs. Michael Barimah-Apau, and Kizito Abizi were also appointed. They were assisted for a short time by staff from St Peter’s who commuted to the compound weekly. The academic staff was supplemented by part-time lecturers from the University of Ghana, Legon.
In 1990 the second Hall of Residence was completed with the arrival of a third batch of students. The student population had now increased to over one hundred and twenty, with six staff members. On November 29 1990, His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tomko, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, formally opened the seminary, cut the tape for the new hall of residence, aptly named “Cardinal Tomko Hall” and then laid the foundation stone for the chapel.
From then on, the seminary has continued to grow structurally. The chapel was completed, a dinning hall complex was added; a lecture block with administrative offices and an ultramodern library block have been added to her structures. An additional block to house the spiritual year seminarians has been stalled for over a decade. Thankfully, through the generosity of some benefactors, some rooms have been completed, and are occupied by seminarians. There is still the need for the Staff to source for more funds to complete the building due to an additional year added to the study of philosophy.
Presently, the seeming “God-forsaken” barren land of St. Paul’s has become the green spot of “virgin woods” under whose shades many young men are being formed so that Jesus’ mission of giving the church shepherds is fulfilled.
The terrain still needs to be developed, there is still more room for improvement, our roads are laterite and dusty, our drainage system remains undeveloped, accommodation problems are still with us, and we count on all of you our generous benefactors to continue in the good works the Lord has begun in you.