Our History

Holy Cross Catholic Church Apo was the brain child of Rev. Fr. Martin Mbeledeogu now of blessed memory who was then the Parish Priest of St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Parish, Apo. He asked Catechist Vitalis Hya (then called Vitalis Vihishima) to run an out station for the Tiv speaking community.

The Christian members of the community erected a thatched building for the out station at Angwa Tiv near Kabusa Junction. The first service without a priest was conducted on Sunday March 14, 2004 by catechist Vitalis Hya then an extraordinary minister of the Holy Communion at St. Charles Parish Apo.

After the death of Fr. Martin Mbeledeogu, Fr. Cyril Nwafor and Fr. Albang were posted to the St. Charles Lwanga Parish. It was Fr. Cyril Nwafor who first celebrated the Holy mass at the Holy Cross Catholic Church Angwan Tiv as formerly known. We moved from Sunday Service to Sunday Mass. Then there was another posting and we had Fr. Nwadike popularly known as Fr. Church and Father Peter Atsewe. Their staying with us was very brief. Then came El-Rufai’s demolition in 2006. The Parish Centre and the outstation were demolished. We tried to erect another building but we were trashed down again by the demolition exercise. We had no other alternative than to move down to the Apo New Site.

At the Apo New Site, we secured a land around Honda Line through the effort of Mr. Christopher Sabo, and with team spirit we collectively cleared the Land to begin worship. Since we were under the care of the Pro- Cathedral, Rev. Fr. Donatus Akpan present Bishop of Ogoja Diocese came to our assistance by donatingN50, 000 for us to start with. The first Mass on the new site was celebrated on the 7th May, 2007 by Rev. Fr. John Obi. Through the efforts of Fr. Donatus Akpan, Catechist Vitalis Hya and the Church Council Executives led by Mr. Jonathan Igbonekwu, we witnessed a tremendous progress in the church. We had so many Priests coming to celebrate the Holy Mass for us – like Fr. John Obi, Fr. Solomon Ukoh, Fr. Victor Ogunyemi, Fr. Samuel Tarvihi, and Father Cyprian Imande. We really enjoyed their presence so much that many of our brothers and sisters that left to join other denominations because there was no Catholic Church nearby came back to the fold. We stayed at the temporary site for a year and some months (2007- 2008) and there came another demolition that completely engulfed the area.

It was at this time that we got information about a piece of land mapped out for worship by the government at the now permanent site. We followed it up, and through the tireless efforts of the pioneer Church Council members and the co- operation of the Land Officer, Mr. Olabiyi, we were able to secure the land. When we later discovered that the land was too small to build the church of our dream, we acquired the next plot to our own at the cost of N2.7 Million Naira. The Money was donated by the Abuja Archdiocese through Fr. Donatus Akpan.

We merged the two plots and erected a batcher for worship and Fr. Akpan continued to nurture us from this period of time till St. Charles Lwanga was made a Parish again. Fr. Solomon Uko took over as Parish Priest and continued form where Fr. Akpan stopped. Other notable Priests who came to celebrate Mass for us at this time include: Fr. Charles Ndubuisi, Fr. Felix Ani, Fr. Stephen Akpan, Fr. Robert Achiaga, Rev. Fr. Effiok (MSSP) and so many others.

With the efforts of Fr. Solomon, the second Church Council Executives led by Mr. Fidelis Nwankwo, the building committee members and the cooperation of the entire Parishioners, we were able to erect this present church building- a place we can proudly call our own after much wanderings.

On the 25th May, 2014, another Church Council Executive led by Mr. Cletus Ilo was inaugurated. Their inauguration coincided with the posting of Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Onuma, an Associate Priest of St. Charles Lwanga Parish to Holy Cross Catholic Churchby Rev. Fr. Solomon Uko to oversee the Church.

Fr. Emmanuel continued to administer the Church until 1st June 2015, when Holy Cross Catholic Church Apo New Site was elevated to a Parish status by His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the catholic Arch Bishop of Abuja to the Glory of God. Rev.Fr. Vincent May Ogunsoro became the first Parish Priest. When Fr. Ogunsoro assumed office in Holy Cross, the slogan he introduced was “Holy Cross, We are God’s Family on a Journey”.This motto has actually proven that we are really God’s family on a journey as we are not afraid of anything. As a Parish, the Church has undergone so many transformations both in structure and spiritual growth.

For instance, within the same year of its elevation to a Parish status, the Church acquired a plot of land inside the Apo Mechanic Estate for the building of a befitting father’s house. Also the Church through Fr. Ogunsoro also started celebrating the Holy Mass at Mgbuka Market every Tuesday of the week.

This community grew tremendously and was later named St. Vincent Catholic Community, Mgbuka.

On Sunday 8th May, 2016, an outstation was created by the Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Vincent May Ogunsoro at Pigba-kasa Village, a suburb of Apo Mechanic Village. The outstation, St. Anselm, Pigba-Kasa was named after our Auxiliary Bishop, Most Rev. Anselm Umoren is currently waxing stronger as Parishioners from that axis now attend the Church. Furthermore, in an effort to have more stations, the church decided to acquire a large expanse of land at Pigba-Sama hill. Fr. The outstation: Church of Ascension, Pigba-Sama will soon commence activities by the grace of God.

Fr. Ogunsoro also established the Parish Laity Council as election was held on 25th March, 2017 to elect the first Executives of the Council. The Council Executiveled by Mr. Adayilo D. Moses was inaugurated on Sunday 26th March 2017 for a period of four years tenure.

From 2017 to 2019, the Emeritus Parish Priest, Fr. Ogunsoro whom some of us regard as “Fr.Infrastructure” started the internal beautification of the Holy Cross Church. He carved out offices, Chapel, Sacristy,stores, toilets, meeting halls, flooring, and pewsetc. He also carried a massive work at the Sanctuary and today Jesus is present there through the Blessed Sacrament.This development continued until 1st June, 2019 when the tenure of Fr. Ogunsoro ended and a new Parish Priest, in the person of Rev. Fr. Mneuter Clement Ujah was posted to the Parish.

Fr. Ujah upon his assumption of office continued from where Fr. Ogunsoro stopped. He has expanded the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and co-opted the Laity Council President, CMO President, CWO President and CYON President. He has also started the building of the Fr.’s house inside the Mechanic Estate and is nearly completion. He has also introduced the “Project Sunday” which comes up every first Sunday of the month.

On 1st of March 2023, Fr John Sixtus Okonkwo took over from Fr Clement as the Parish Priest with Fr Charles Kamsi Onyeneke as Assistant Priest. On 1st of October 2023 Fr Patrick Mallam took over from Fr Charles Kamsi Onyeneke as Assistant Priest.

With all these achievements and God on our side, we intend to build “a strong Christian community where no one is an outsider”. The staff strength is approximately about 3,000 parishioners.