Brief History of the Catholic Diocese and their Activities
The parish of St. Augustine’s Guyuk was created out of Bare parish in the year 1990. Prior to this declaration of Guyuk as a parish; the only areas where the Catholic Church has existed include, the villages of Chikila and Gunda in the nineteen fifty’s and sixty’s (1950’s/60’s). The predominant tribe of the members of the parish is the Lunguda speaking people of Guyuk Local Government of Adamawa State, Nigeria. There are also few Wajah ethnic group belonging to same Local Government. Across the River Gongola, also are few of the tribes of Kanakuru and Lala of Shelleng Local Government Area of Adamawa State. There are few Igbos who are business men and women from the eastern part of Nigeria. It is worthy of mention too that some members of the parish are of the tribes of Bwazza and Marghi, who are civil servants and some are retired civil servants. It is interesting to note that what necessitated the creation of Guyuk as a parish was the commitment and dedication of the few Catholic students and teachers of Government Secondary School, Guyuk which was later relocated to Banjiram in the year 1978/79. The then Rev. Fr. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, now the Archbishop of Jos Archdiocese was indeed a great motivator to the Catholic community of GSS Banjiram (Guyuk). When he was the parish priest of St. Rita’s Bare, he was always visiting the school constantly to encourage the Catholic students and staff members and also to celebrate Mass with them. This no doubt helped in the gradual growth of the Catholic Church in Guyuk. Since after the creation of Guyuk as a Parish, the following Priest have contributed their quota towards the growth of the Parish:
St Joseph’s Catholic Church Damilu started as a Small Christian Community (SCC) of St. Theresa’s Cathedral in 1995. Then it was referred to as St. James Damilu. With the passage of time and the level development, Bishop C. Abba declared Damilu a parish with a change in name to St. Joseph. The parish then was comprised of Jambutu (now St. John of the Cross parish), Kofare and the chaplaincy of the Federal Government Girls’ College Yola.
St. Joseph’s parish Jada was carved out of Kojoli Parish in 1984. Fr Richard Tyokoyol was the pioneer priest. Since then, the parish has witnessed both spiritual and material growth galvanized by different priests who have manned the place to date. Today the parish has expanded, having up to 51 out-stations. The parish has a primary and secondary schools. There is a convent of the sisters of Daughters of Mary Mother of Mercy (DMMM) who collaborate with the priest in areas of catechesis and Christian education. This group of sisters also help in the administration of the schools.
The history of St. Monica’s Catholic Church Karlahi dates back to the creation of the classes for catechesis what today we call small Christian communities, in 1965. These small Christian communities comprised lugga, Gengle, Baraje and Karlahi respectively. It was during this period that the massive numbers of the faithful necessitated Fr. Flynn to establish a worshipping Centre within Karlahi considering the distance the people from lugga, Gengle, and Baraje ahd to cover. The consequence of this was the application to the district head of Karlahi for a piece of land to build a place of worship. This was granted them though not without some challenges. The church was created and it continued to function as an outstation under St. Peter’s Janbunu until it became a parish in 1994 with the late Fr. Colman Damian as the first parish priest. The parish has (27) outstations categorize into (5) zones, namely, Karlahi, Mani, Betti, Gogra and Chigari.
St. Mulumba church, Bajabure Housing Estate started as a Small Christian Community in 2001. The SCC brought Christian neighbours together in a prayer meeting every Thursday by 4:30pm at the mission house. Within the estate. An activity that continued with the different priests who served as parish priest of St. Francis Vunoklang. With the passage of time, the SCC metamorphosed into and outstation under St. Francis of Assisi Vunoklang. And by 2015 the Bishop pronounced the church a pastoral area, with Catholic Church Bagalci as an outstation under her. The church has standing committees for smooth running and efficient administration these are: Liturgical commission, Development committee, Finance committee, Celebration committee and Security committee. The church divides the estate into four small Christian communities (zone); zone A, zone B, zone C, and Zone D. Wednesdays are for Small Christian Community prayers. The church council meets once in every month and emergency meetings are called when the need arises.
St. Theresa’s Church took root on 17th September 1933 with the first Mass celebrated by Bishop Heerey and Fr. Winterle – German missionaries. The first mass was preceded by the baptism of four infants and an adult by Fr. Winterle and assisted by Mr. John Bello – a Fulani, who also was the catechist. Mr. John Bello was the head of the Catholic Church Committee, Yola, from 1930 – 1956. The sandstone church in Yola was completed in 1941 and Mass was celebrated there for the first time on Ascension Thursday. This is the present old Cathedral building. St. Theresa’s Church was built in 1941 and extended in 1951. The second extension was done and with the Installation of Fr. Dalton, as the Prefect Apostolic of Yola and eventually as the 1st Bishop of Yola in 1962, St. Theresa became the cathedral church. After the death of Bishop Dalton on 29th November 1969 at Clonmel, Fr. Patrick Francis Sheehan was ordained as second Bishop of Yola on 6th January 1971. The new Bishop embarked on building a new Cathedral, which was completed in 1986. And with the consecration and installation of Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza as the 4th Bishop of Yola, today the cathedral has undergone several stages of remodeling. The priests presently ministering in the cathedral include Fr. Loius Ngare, as the administrator and Frs. Joseph Alphonsus Kofa and Jude Ogumba as assistants. Within the cathedral compound are communities of the Sisters of the Infant Jesus and those of the Our Lady of Fatima.