About our Parish

The Port Elizabeth Oratory Parish of St Bernadette:

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, as well as 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 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: Rev Father Grant James (Provost), Fr Johnny Johnson, Fr Phillip Vietri, Fr Jonathan Vermaak (Administrator), Fr Gregory Mitchell, Fr Lewis Berry, Fr Henry Ezenwanne, Fr Cyriacus Okoro, Fr Michael Theron, Fr Arinze Okeke and Br Simon Mowatt.

On special occasions such as Easter, as many as six priests may con-celebrate a Mass together – a unique and special experience! 

Did you know that we offer a Latin Mass?

We are, perhaps, more traditional than most, 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. In addition to daily weekday Mass, we offer three weekend Masses and a Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) at 10am on a Sunday.

What can you expect?

Visitors to our parish often remark on the air of reverence that accompanies each Mass. Sometimes there is music and singing, sometimes not, but our aim is to make our church a place of reverent worship whatever the occasion. 

We also have different choirs for each weekend Mass, made up of volunteers from our parishioners. New recruits are always welcome!

We offer Benediction, Exposition and Confession:

On Saturday and Sunday evenings, the hour before Mass is dedicated to Exposition, Benediction and Confession (see the Mass times page for details). We kindly request that cellphones be switched off  upon entering the church, and that socialising be saved for after Mass. Parents of small children are most welcome, but please be aware that we do not offer a cry-room. We encourage parents to bring some form of quiet entertainment (ie books) if necessary. 

On Sunday mornings, our Little Stones catechesis class runs concurrently with the 8:30am Mass – parents can drop their children off beforehand, attend Mass and then collect them from their classrooms afterwards.

A little bit of 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 celebrated it’s 75th Anniversary.

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.

Office Hours: (see Christmas Shutdown info below)

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.

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