History of Chaplaincy 

The suggestion for the coming together of people in diaspora who are Catholics and share a common cultural background was first made by Cardinal Francis Arinze during a Mass he celebrated with Africans at Westminster Cathedral in 1985. Following this suggestion, some Africans rose up to the challenge and started what became known as the Association of African Catholics. Initially, the group met at West Hampstead and later at Battersea Park. It was here they requested a chaplain and Rev. Fr. John Kirby RIP was duly appointed Chaplain of the Association of African Catholics and he worked tirelessly to give status to the Association.With the ordination of Ghanaian Rev. Fr. James Enin as a Marist priest in June 1991, Rev. Joseph Baffour-Awuah took the opportunity to start the Association of Ghanaian Catholics with Fr. Enin as Chaplain. It was this move by Rev. Joseph Baffour-Awuah that gave impetus for the formation of the Association of Nigerian Catholics under the leadership of Rev. Fidelis Chukwu. 

NCC Journey

The Association of Ghanaian Catholics under the leadership of Rev. Fr. James Enin was officially recognised as a Chaplaincy in 1992, but the Association of Nigerian Catholics could not gain the same status due to the absence of a priest or deacon. The result was that the Association of Nigerian Catholics continued to function as an association within the big umbrella of the Association of African Catholics under Rev. Fr. John Kirby RIP with Rev. Fidelis Chukwu as Co-ordinator. It was in 1992 that both Rev. Joseph Baffour-Awuah and Rev. Fidelis Chukwu started their training for the Permanent Diaconate and at ordination; Rev. Fidelis Chukwu was officially assigned as Chaplain to the Nigerian Catholic Community. This was the time when some Nigerian priests, who had arrived as students, started to take interest in the Nigerian Catholic Community. At the same time, a new association was formed called The Umuigbo Catholic Community. It was this association that approached the Bishops requesting the appointment of a Chaplain in order to establish an Igbo Chaplaincy. The Bishops’ response, after due consultation with Rev Fidelis Chukwu, was to consider the establishment of the Nigerian Catholic Chaplaincy as they could not consider individual ethnic chaplaincies from within a Bishops’ Conference. The discussions were then resumed between the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria with the result that in 2006, The Nigerian Catholic Chaplaincy was officially established in England and Wales and Rev. Fr. Albert Ofere was appointed by the Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria as Chaplain. Rev Fidelis Chukwu then fully handed over to Rev. Fr. Albert Ofere.   

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