On the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the parish of St Paul Zogbadjè. Fr. José Florent Kakpo SMA, the present parish priest with his parish Council wanted to mark a special seal for the revival of the Christian community in Zogbadjè.
On account of this, everybody is invited to draw more inspiration from the two – dimensional life of St. Paul, “with his zeal as a Pharisee filled with the truth and a relentless converted to the service of the Good News of the Risen Christ”, to imbibe the multitude of gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 9)
Considering the growth of the community of Zogbadjè , which identifies with this life of St. Paul, we must rediscover and activate this commitment to follow Christ, to project with his power, in the love of God the Almighty Father.
The 5th anniversary of the parish was the solemn celebration of the faithful in Zogbadjè. It was a great event so the vigil prayer was organized in view of the celebration then 7 continuous days of: Prayer, Mass, Teaching, Adoration and Intercession were conducted accordingly. There was also a good response from the people. One of the evenings a movie was projected for the children.
An evening the choir practice was organized for the feast. The feast was prepared with all its cleaning, decoration and its necessities. A mass was celebrated by Bishop about 3hours where the people participated actively (4000 people). What dynamism of Christian life, with a living and joyful faith. So with the accompaniment of these groups, the personal accompaniments and the confessions, they parish feast was well organized.
History of the parish St Paul deZogbadjè
The community of Zogbadjè walking towards a chapel
Before the year 1990, a group of faithful from Zogbadjè involved their whole family to grow a new community. The members of this community went on foot to the mother parish called Saint Anthony of Padua in Abomey Calavi for the mass at 8am which was in fon. Inspired by the Holy Spirit; the oldest of the group, Papa François Hounkanrin emitted the idea of a Catholic church in Zogbadjè and opened it to the commuinty like Véronique Davou , Philomène Hounzinmè , Eleonore Quenum (Maman Zogbo ) and the other members of the group. The idea was approved and in 1990 was submitted to Fr. Denis Bellut SMA, the parish priest of St. Anthony of Padua. He gave his approval following several meetings and investigations to make this idea a reality. It was at one of these meetings held at the current honklonhon school in the presence of the village leader, while Fr. Bellut chose and indicated the place that the chapel will now occupy. It was the vast domain belonging to the Catholic University Community of Benin. On January 11, 1991, Father Bellut presented to the faithful, George Hounkpe, a permanent catechist at St. Anthony of Padua to teach catechism classes. With the faithful, Georges Hounkpè built a shed for catechism classes only in Fon and the Sunday celebrations without priest and Eucharist begin. In December 1991 before Christmas the first mass was said in the chapel of Zogbadjè by Fr. Bellut .
From the chapel to the parish
On January 3, 1993, an office headed by François Hounkanrin was formed for the good management of the chapel. Raymond Agbéssi became the secretary and Véronique Davou his cashier. With the dynamism of the commission, the faithful received for the first time the sacraments of baptism and first communion on May 22, 1994. In the process, it is necessary to choose a name for the chapel. On the instruction of Fr. Bellut , three names were proposed : Saint Gerard of Magella or Majelle ( by Lady Eleanor Quenum ); St. Francis (by Francis Hounkanrin ) and St. Paul (by Father Bellut ). Following a draw between the three names proposed, the name Saint Paul was chosen to the great satisfaction of all as Patron Saint of the new chapel.
The missionary zeal of Saint Paul being with the community, evangelization progressed with the recitation of the common rosary during the months consecrated Mother Mary. This is how the chapels Ste Famille de Tankpè and Saint Michel de Togoudo were constituted; then St. Josephine Bakhita parish. These were entrusted to SMA priests since its erection in 1998 and with Fr. René Grosseau (SMA) as the first parish priest of Ste. Josephine Bakhita would also now take control of St Paul’s chapel in Zogbadjè .Thus, under the care of Fr. Grosseau , a new pastoral council of Zogbadjè was formed on February 21, 1999, with Mr. Eustache Affouda Yayi as vice-president . It is this pastoral council that worked for the acquisition of the current position on March 02, 1999. This community settled permanently on this position in January 2002 and was led by different pastors who worked to give their enthusiasm, there were Frs.Samuel Agbémé SMA (2002-2004) and Augustin Owunzuriké SMA (2004-2007).
In this launch, in 2007, at the time of Father Placide Houessinon , the parish priest of Bakhita (2007-2013) and M.David Yamongbè , the vice president (2002-2010) that the chapel had a parish look by the multiplication of weekday and Sunday masses. This parish appearance was improved and maintained by a new pastoral council, whose vice-president was Mrs. Thérèse Bada- Sinzogan. (2010-2016). Thus it was the great joy that the chapel was erected parish on November 16, 2013 with Fr. Osbert Egbe ADM SMA as the first parish priest ( 2013-2015) and his assistant as Fr Dieudonné Baloïtcha SMA. In 2015 the parish welcomed the new priests Fr.Thomas Mivodjo SMA (2015-2016) and his assistant Fr.Charles Kumar SMA (2015-2018). From 2016 to now the parish received a third parish priest Fr. José Kakpo SMA with his assistant Fr. BénoîtSMA accompanied with the vice president Mr.Magloire Bada (2016 to now)
The conclusive stages prior to the construction of the buildings of the Church for the growing community are irresistibly planned and executed according to the available sources.