The diocese of Ogoja is the one of the oldest of the Dioceses in the Calabar ecclesiastical province which forms one of the nine provinces of the Catholic Church in Nigeria. Evangelization started in the province on December 5, 1885 when Fr. Lutz (a long bearded man) a dynamic Holy Ghost father from France arrived Onitsha. He worked among the people until he died in 1895. Fr. Lejeune succeeded him. After him came Fr. Joseph Shanahan who became Bishop in 1920 and a great Apostle of southern Nigeria and the Cameroons. Under him the catholic faith reached Calabar, Ogoja and other parts of the Cross River area, Tiv land now Benue State and the Cameroons.
Bishop Shanahan who had worked for a long time among the people of Igbo land, was consecrated Bishop in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV. At his consecration, the Bishop requested for a mission in Tiv Land. The Pope gave the permission for the mission to be opened. Bishop Shanahan appointed two priests, Fr. Douvry and Fr. Mellet to carry out his mission. The two priests began their journey in a Canoe from 1921, being the eve of Pentecost, (Father Douvry had earlier resigned his position as the Rev. Vicar Apostolic in the Cameroons). In Ogoja, the fathers said mass the next day 16th May 1921, being Pentecost Sunday, in the open air. In the meeting with the elders of the town, the fathers were given land to build a church, a house, and a school. The decided to stay on in Ogoja and negotiated for land since the weather and the road were not good enough for them to continue to Tiv land (Benue State)…. READ MORE.