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Pastors of our Church

Pastors of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church Rivonia 

1961 Rev. Fr. Terrence Kelly O.M.I 1963
1963 Rev. Fr. John O'Donohue O.M.I 1967

1967 Rev. Fr. Jack Braniff O.M.I 1972
1972 Rev. Fr. David Adam O.M.I 1987

1987 Rev Fr. Michael Austin S.J. 1997
1997 Rev. Fr. Graham Rose 2005
2005 Rev Fr. Peter Doherty 2019

2019 Rev. Fr. Paul Beukes O.M.I 

Our History

On 11 February 1962, the Rt Rev. Hugh Boyle, Catholic Bishop of Johannesburg, blessed a hall that had been constructed by the lay members of the Rivonia Catholic Mission, led by Fr Kelly since 1956, on Church land. The site used for the building was originally bought in the early 20th century by the Church and intended for use as a seminary. The shape of the early half of that century, however, changed those plans. The intention was to use the building for all sorts of religious purposes until a proper church with a permanent constructed altar was built and dedicated.

This never quite happened. Instead, on the 30th anniversary of the blessing of the hall, Bishop Patrick Mvemve, Auxiliary Bishop of Johannesburg, dedicated the building and it became the proper church.

In 1963, Fr Kelly left Rivonia and its hall-church and was succeeded by Fr John O'Donoghue. Four years into his ministry at Rivonia, Fr O'Donoghue would make his lasting impression: in a relatively new departure for the Church, Parish Councils were being mooted, and on 9 May 1967 Rivonia established its first.

When O'Donoghue left Rivonia, he was replaced by Fr John Braniff OMI, who had previously served as the Catholic Church's chaplain to the armed forces. He was known colloquially as the Colonel (the rank he held) owing to his rather strict manner. A long rule over the parish certainly left his mark. He was then succeeded by another OMI, Fr David Adam, in 1972.

Fr Adam, throughout his career, had established a reputation as a caring, compassionate and concerned man. He was widely read and a gifted photographer. He had also first studied to be a draughtsman and was generally eager to try anything and everything new and exciting. This firebrand led the parish for over 15 years and brought many welcome changes and improvements.

Between Fr Adam's departure in August 1987 and the arrival of Fr Ivan Bougaardt in December 1987, the parish was serviced by the Rosebank parish. Fr Bougaardt was to have only a brief stay, filling in until a permanent appointment would be made. In March 1988, new incumbent Fr Michael Austin led Mass on Palm Sunday.

Fr Michael Austin through his tenure endeared himself to the parish and was indeed the priest in charge when the permanent altar at Our Lady of Lourdes was consecrated and the old hall became the proper church. The fitting farewell he received in 1997 is testimony to his popularity in the parish.

Fr Graham Rose succeeded Fr Michael Austin, although his appointment took several months to finalise. Fr Rose is a South African priest, having been born in Springs. He oversaw the affairs of Our Lady of Lourdes from (officially) December 1997 to December 2005, at which point he was replaced by Fr Peter Doherty. In August 2010 Fr Peter Doherty decided to plant a mustard seed by inviting a team of parishioners to develop a strategic plan for the planning and development of a new church for our Lady of Lourdes Rivonia. In March 2018 the new church was completed. Fr Peter Doherty retired in December 2019. Father Paul Beukes OMI was appointed as the current Parish Priest. The parish has grown from strength to strength.


Who is Our Lady of Lourdes?

Our Patroness

Lourdes is a village in France where Our Blessed Mother appeared eighteen times to Bernadette Soubirous in 1858. Her messages to Bernadette are ageless and apply to all of us today. Our Blessed Mother has since carried the title of Our Lady of Lourdes, and the site of her appearence is called the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Bernadette Soubirous was born on January 7, 1844. She was the first child of Francois Soubirous and Louise Soubirous (Casterot). Her father was a miller who provided a comfortable living for his family. Bernadette had six brothers and two sisters. Only three of her siblings lived beyond the age of ten. These loses bonded the family together in strength and love. Bernadette once said that she had never heard her parents quarrel. The family was always at peace. This solid family foundation left Bernadette emotionally balanced in times of trouble and when faced with poverty and illnesses which were to come.

A series of events which began in 1854 changed their lives. Bernadette's father was falsely accused of stealing two sacks of flour and was imprisoned for many days. There was a drought which lasted for two years and drastically affected the wheat harvest and work at the mill. And finally, the steam mills that resulted from the Industrial Revolution put Francois' mill out of business, and he was out of work. The family was reduced to living in a one-room dwelling called the Cachot, which was formerly used as a jail. During this same period Bernadette contracted cholera. The high fevers caused her to suffer physically the rest of her life. She suffered emotionally also. She felt the heart ache of being excluded as people pointed to her family as the ones who live in the Cachot. Her physical illnesses prevented her from going to school. At age 14 she spoke only the dialect of Lourdes. She was unable to read or write or speak French, and the Catechism was taught in French only. She went to Mass, but she was not allowed to receive Holy Communion with her friends. Sometimes Bernadette's only comfort was her mother's love. Later, Fr. Pomian prepared Bernadette for First Holy Communion. There was something about Bernadette that moved the Hosts of Heavenly Hearts. She was blessed with eighteen divine apparitions, and the world is forever changed and will never forget Bernadette.

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