About our Parish

The parish of St Bernadette is home to the Catholic Church in Walmer. It is formally known as The Port Elizabeth Oratory Parish of St Bernadette and is quite unique in that, while it falls under the Diocese of Port Elizabeth, it is administered by the priests of the Port Elizabeth Oratory of St Philip Neri. The parish and the Oratory (which share the same premises) have a close relationship; the parish participates in traditional Oratorian devotions on Tuesday evenings and during Lent, Easter and Advent. Social events such as Carols by Candlelight and the annual parish braai are hosted in the grounds of the Oratory. 

We are, perhaps, a touch more traditional than most (being the only parish to offer Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form) but traditional does not mean old-fashioned. We constantly strive to meet the needs of a modern Catholic community by keeping up to date with digital media,  as well as the latest international catechesis programmes and home-group resources.

We have one official parish administrator, but if you attend Mass regularly, you may notice different priests at the altar every weekend. These are the Fathers of the Oratory. On special occasions such as Easter, as many as six priests may con-celebrate a Mass together – a unique and special experience! 

History:

The parish first served as an outstation of the parish church of Blessed Oliver Plunkett, South End. The parish was solemnly blessed and opened by MGR. Hugh Boyle on 5 October 1947, and care for the parish entrusted by Bishop Michael Coleman to the Congregation of the Oratory in November 2002. In November 2022, St Bernadette’s Parish will celebrate it’s 75th Anniversary.

The Oratory:

The parish is served by all the fathers and brothers of the Oratory: Rev Father Grant James, Fr Johnny Johnson, Fr Phillip Vietri, Fr Jonathan Vermaak, Fr Gregory Mitchell, Fr Lewis Berry, Fr Xolisa Mafu, Fr Henry Ezenwanne, Fr Cyriacus Okoro, Fr Michael Theron, Fr Arinze Okeke and Br Simon Mowatt.

Parish Staff:

Parish Administrator: Fr Jonathan Vermaak
Secretary: Mrs Ann Mowatt
Media & Communication: Mrs Hayley Scholtz

Garden of Remembrance:

Access to the Garden of Remembrance is available on request from the parish office.

Lockdown Office Hours:

The parish office is open from 09:00 – 10:00, Monday to Friday, but will accommodate anyone requiring assistance outside of these hours, by prior arrangement. Please call 073 247 1316.