St. Joseph’s Catholic Mission today known as St. Joseph’s Cathedral, of Archdiocese of Kaduna was of the Catholic Missions established in Northern Nigeria by the missionaries from Asaba. It started on a humble note. Situated near the Kaduna Central Market at the junction of Lagos Street and the Old Market Road (now Ibrahim Taiwo Road). This parcel of land was allocated to the Catholic Mission when plots were allocated to the churches of different denominations. It was here that the visiting missionaries from Asaba and Lokoja (in particular Fr. Berengario Cermenati) celebrated Mass in the compound in 1909. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church land extended to the old Fire Brigade, and strentched to present Checheniya Market, which served as playing ground and farmland for pupils of St. Joseph’s primary school, until the lands were encroached upon by individuals and government.
The premises was blessed with a good deposit of many fruit trees, like mango and guava and was a serene environment for resting and playing for children who hunt daily for the juicy mangos and guavas. Old Market Road then had a good deposit of such trees.
By 1912, the building of the first small church of St. Joseph’s commenced, while in 1916 the first official Mass was celebrated. By 1917 a father’s house was built on the plot. On 25th April 1917, Fr. Berengario Cermenati SMA performed 57 baptisms in St. Josephs. (See baptism register of St. Joseph’s Cathedral). The visiting priests then began to live there. Following the increasing number of worshippers a bigger church was built and completed in 1934 under the supervision of late Monsignor Thomas Hughes who transferred his headquarters from Kano to Kaduna same year and was later transferred to Ondo/Ilorin in 1944 as Vicar Apostolic and later became the first Bishop of the area.Following the building of a bigger church, the old church became a hall which was used for classroom for the then St. Joseph’s Standard/Primary School and served as venue for special functions and meetings. (See the brief history of St. Joseph’s Nursery/Primary School in Chapter 3).
St. Joseph’s church became a Cathedral when the prefecture Apostolic of Kaduna was raised to the status of a diocese in 1953. It later became the metropolitan Cathedral in 1959 when the Ecclesiastical province of Kaduna was created by the Holy See. By this time, a new Church had been built on the site of the present Church building which was later expanded thrice. First in 1976 when the length was extended and later the width was expanded by John Browne SMA before the 1996 expansion and extension of the alter by His Grace Archbishop (Emeritus) Peter Jatau and the then Cathedral Administrator Late Very Rev. Fr. Martin Debaleh. The expanded altar was constructed by A.G. Ferero, an Italian construction firm with the help of Chief Francis Nnaebuna.
The construction of a new modern priest’s residence took off in 1984, which replaced the 1917 structure, now converted to a pavilion. Then followed by the building of a new ultra-modern two storey 500 capacity hall in 1987 which houses two reception halls, offices, classrooks and meeting venues. The hall was initially meant to be a three storey building but was later stopped at the second floor on the professional advice of a structural engineer (Engr. Joseph Omo Iyoha). The construction of the hall was done by Very Rev. Fr. John Browne SMA, and the part which he completed before he left the praish was put into use, which the other part was completed in December, 2003 by Msgr. Gabriel Enuagha Esq., and was formally commissioned as part of acitivities marking Archbishop Peter Jatau’s 40th priestly anniversary in February 2004.
It is worthy to mention here the role of a young Architect Bro. Charles Ijeoma who drew the design of the church hall at no cost. An ultra-modern office and secretariat complex named after Archbishop Jatau in Novermber 2005.
St. Joseph’s Cathedral being the head church in the Archdiocese gave birth to others, for through her, many parishes sprang up.
ST. JOSEPH'S CATHEDRAL
ADDRESS: Joseph’s Cathedral Ibrahim Taiwo Road, P.O. Box 14 Kaduna
Administrator: Very. Rev. Fr. Isaac Patrick Musa (08062264860)
Asst Parish Priest : Rev Fr. Melchizedek Kadiri (07062682402)
Associate Pastor : Very Revd.Fr. Paul Okewu
CATECHIST: Samuel Ochima Joseph
PPC CHAIRPERSON: Arc. Sese Akhideno Phone:08037037734