The Pope John Senior High School (SHS) and Minor Seminary in Koforidua has held a ceremony in memory of the late Bishop Joseph Oliver Bowers, the Founder of the school in Koforidua on Thursday.
Pope John Senior High School
Bishop Bowers founded the Saint John?s College and Minor Seminary in 1959 which later was renamed Pope John?s SHS and Minor Seminary with the aim of educating young men for the holy priesthood and for socio-political leadership in Ghana.
As part of the ceremony, the Visual Arts Department of the school built a bust at the centre of the campus which has been named, ?The Founder?s Square? and was unveiled by the Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer Buckle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra and a former student of the school.
The late Bishop Bowers was born on March 28, 1910 in Hampstead in the Commonwealth of Dominica, a small Island in the Caribbean Sea near Jamaica.
He was the eighth of 11 children of Sheriff Montague Bowers of Antigua and Mary Thomas of Dominica, he entered the Divine Word Missionary (SVD) Novitiate in Wisconsin, United States of America (USA) in 1931 and was ordained to Holy Orders in 1939 in Rome, Italy.
Bishop Bowers on January 1, 1940 arrived in Accra for Missionary work and was posted to the Krobo and Koforidua districts of the then Accra Mission under the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries, who had taken over the portion of the church from the Society of African Missions (SMA) in 1938.
In 1950, he was sent to Rome for further studies and returned to Accra in 1952 with a Licentiate in Canon Law after which in December the same year he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Accra.
The celebrated Founder of Pope John Seminary SHS became the first Bishop of African descent in the then Gold Coast in September 27, 1953 and was Bishop of Accra until 1971 when he was transferred to Saint John?s Basseterre in Antigua as its first bishop.
He retired in 1981 and returned to Ghana in 1997 to spend the rest of his retirement in Ghana, he celebrated centenary of his birth on March 28, 2010 and on October 14, 2011, he was decorated with the Order of Star of Ghana by late President Atta Mills.
Bishop Bowers died at the age of 102 on November 06, 2012 and was buried on November 10, 2012 in the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Accra.
Most Rev Palmer- Buckle said he contributed immensely to the educational formation and professional training of hundreds of teachers, doctors and nurses, scores of catholic priests and others who now hold leadership positions in Ghana.
He said Bishop Bowers was so much interested in women empowerment that he founded the Congregation of the Handmaids of the Divine Redeemer, an indigenous religious order of Sisters in 1957 at Agomanya to dedicate themselves to Christian Mission, women empowerment and girl-child development.