The First Catholic Church constructed in Northern Ghana has held its Centenary Celebrations.
The Navrongo Catholic Cathedral Building is entirely built of mud bricks, and plastered with mud mortar. It is a mix of European architecture and local construction techniques. The Cathedral is 60m long and 14m wide, with a 13m high bell tower.
In April 1906, three missionaries, Father Chollet, Father Morin and Brother Eugene, arrived at the English military garrison of Navarro to evangelize. In 1907, a first small chapel was built, followed by a larger community chapel in 1910.
The cathedral itself was completed in 1920 and worshippers used the building for the first time.
The building has undergone many structural changes, and is still in use. The Cathedral is the last of its kind in Ghana. On average, 100 tourists from Israel, Germany, Spain and England visit the mud cathedral.
The Bishop of the Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese of the Catholic Church, Most Rev. Alfred Agyenta, said 100 years in the lifespan of a building constructed entirely from mud is a great achievement.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Ghana, Most Rev. Henryk Mieczyslaw Jagodzinski, commended the leadership of the Minor Basilica for maintaining the facility.
The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr. Stephen Yakubu, said the government will continue to work with the catholic church for the needed development.
Railways Development, Minister Mr. John-Peter Amewu, in a message from Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawmuia said the catholic church has partnered government to improve the delivery of healthcare, education, good governance, justice, peace and many other areas of Ghanaian society.
He said the Catholic Bishops Conference still focuses on socio-political empowerment to enable God’s people to live in freedom, peace and dignity.
The various speakers admonished believers in the country against materialism and “get rich quick” syndrome which has currently driven some people in the country to “steal, kill and destroy”.
An appeal was made to the Tourism Ministry and the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board to collaborate and assist the committee in-charge of the maintenance of the Minor Basilica to protect this national heritage.