I have, since May 2019, assisted Fr Thabiso full-time as the Parish Secretary and his PA.
My life started a year and a bit after the Second World War in 1946, in a village in Holland called Zevenaar. I must have been born in the morning as I was baptised on the same day. My godparents were an uncle priest and my aunt who owned a Catholic bookshop which means I had many prayers offered to support me.
I was five years old in 1952 when my parents, together with two brothers and a sister, immigrated to South Africa due to better work opportunities. We settled in Boksburg and joined St. Dominic’s Catholic Church which was nice because my older brother’s name was Dominic. My parents had four more children here in South Africa of which one of my sisters died soon after birth, so we were seven children. Boksburg was chosen because of the Catholic schools there, while my father worked in Benoni as a technician. I was prepared for my First Confession and Holy Communion in 1954 by an missionary Brother uncle. Then in 1955 I was Confirmed by Bishop Hugh Boyle.
In 1967 we moved to Pretoria, at that stage I considered joining the Brothers of Mariannhill. I had qualified as a maintenance electrician, and wondered if God was calling me. I spent a weekend in the noviciate, but before I could enter, I had to keep a promise I had made to visit my uncle priest in Holland, I incorporated a pilgrimage to Lourdes which was very special and had, what I can only describe as, a divine experience. I felt a tremendous sense of Love, engulfed in a divine embrace and touched by Our Blessed Mother.
On my return home, I felt deep within me that God was not calling me to the religious life and I had a chat with Fr. Denis Adami, who suggested we wait for guidance. At that time I was a member of the Archbishop’s Singers at the Sacred Heart Cathedral and there I met a young lady, fell in love and married her which took place at St. Martin de Porres Sunnyside with Fr. Peter Stein presiding.
My late wife, May and I had four children, this proved a difficult time in our lives and we also felt that the Church cared very little for us and so we started looking elsewhere, but as there was no Eucharist in any of the other Christian Churches we stayed. Sometime later we were persuaded to attend a Marriage Encounter Weekend, this was like being “born again”. We became team and involved ourselves in Marriage Encounter and found Jesus back in our lives. May and I also presented various other programs to develop our lives and those of others, such as the Fully Human Fully Alive program, Parent Effectiveness program, then in the training of Small Sharing group leaders for the “Renew Process”.
May became ill with breast cancer in 1997, which she battled with for five years and then it took her life in 2002. Her faith was very strong, and she accepted her fate with courage and a deep sense of peace. We were able to mourn her death with her the day before she passed on, it left sadness in our hearts but there was also a lot of joy as we knew she was blessed and believed she had a relative short trip to heaven. May had told me to marry again as I was not a loner, that’s when Jenny came into my life.
I worked for Siemens for over twenty years and occupied various positions up to Production Engineer, responsible for the technical side of a production line of telecommunication components. However, when the factory closed due to new technologies, I started my own business as a Handyman doing maintenance work, and that’s how I became responsibility for the maintenance at Queenswood Parish.
Fr. Craigh Laubscher had asked me to consider the Deaconate as a possible new direction in my life. My immediate response was “I can’t see myself studying and going into a new field so different, NO, it’s not for me” I said, but that question kept coming back to me so after a few months I went back to Fr. Craigh and told him I can’t fight this battle against The Lord and so started the Deaconate training with Monsignor Hill, I accepted the Lord’s call and made the commitment to do His Will. Since then I have had only positive support from Queenswood Parishioners as well as from my wife and family.
My involvement in church goes back to my childhood such as Boys Scouts, altar server, youth etc. Coming to Pretoria, I joined Queenswood parish and became involved with the Youth group, YCW, catechesis and House Group leaders. Over all these years I have been on the Parish Pastoral Council for a number of terms in various portfolios. I have been a Proclaimer of the Word and an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist. I have also been involved in our Bereavement course and at present assist my wife Jenny with the Baptismal classes. I’ve been a member of the Queenswood Parish for over forty years and been an Adorer since its inception. On a diocesan level I am involved with the training of men for the deaconate in the Christian Doctrine subject. On the Parish level I am responsible for the Liturgy portfolio which includes the Proclaimers, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Altar Servers, Musicians etc. As deacon I am available for baptisms, weddings, blessing homes / cars and funeral services.