Portuguese priests were in Ghana by 1471 but their efforts had ended by the beginning of the 18th century. The first SMA to reach Cape Coast and Accra was Fr Francesco Borghero who landed there on his was to Dahomey. But it was to be some years before the SMA actually arrived there for missionary work.
In September 1879 the territory known as the Gold Coast was erected as a Prefecture Apostolic entrusted to the Society of African Missions. This was a result of the request for missionaries made by Sir James Marshall to the Office of the Propagation of the Faith in Rome.
The pioneer SMA was Fr Auguste Moreau who arrived along with Fr Eugene Murat in 1880 at Elmina. Again the dreaded fever had its impact… On 5 August Fr Murat died. The first baptism in the Gold Coast was that of a one-year old boy, George August Salmon, at Elmina. OLA sisters (Sr Ignatius from Ireland and Sr Potentia from Switzerland) came to Elmina in 1883 and opened the first girls’ school there.
In 1889 the first Mission was established in Cape Coast.
In 1890 the Church at Elmina was blessed, Keta became the residence of the SMA and OLA sisters opened a girls’ school at Cape Coast.
In 1896 Cape Coast was erected an Apostolic Vicariate and the first Bishop was Maximilien Albert SMA.
Republic of Ghana
Area: 239,460 sq. km.
Population: 20.4 million.
Population Growth Rate: 1.45%
Head of State:
President John Dramani Mahama was sworn-in on 7 January 2013, following the death in office of President John Atta Mills. President Mahama will serve for a four-year term.
Independence: 6 March 1957
Ethnic Groups: Akan 44%, Moshi-Dagomba 16%, Ewe 13%, Ga 8%, Gurma 3%, Yoruba 1%
Religion: indigenous beliefs 21%, Muslim 16%, Christian 63%
SMA involvement in Ghana (2013)
Currently there are 17 SMA missionaries working there of which 2 are Irish. There are also 4 lay missionaries working in Ghana.
Fr James Owusu-Yeboah SMA is the Regional Superior, the 2nd Ghanaian to hold this position.