History of the Church

A short history leading up to the ‘Birth’ of The Church of the Immaculate Conception Pinetown

March 1852 First Vicar-Apostolic, Bishop J.F.M. Allard OMI arrived in Natal
1853 First parish priest in Durban, Fr Jean-Baptiste Sabon OMI
1879 Catholic soldiers arrive in the military camp in Pinetown
1881 Soldiers fall under Fr Baudry at St Josephs Church in West Street Durban
December 1882 The Trappists, led by Fr Franz Pfanner settled in Mariannhill
June 1883 Arrangements made for Trappists to celebrate Mass at the military camp
March 1887 Father Franz Pfanner bought 5 acres of land from the Reverend John Crompton for the sum of £79.8.10 In order  to provide a chapel in the  shortest possible time, Father Pfanner bought a small 3-roomed corrugate  iron house, transporting it just as it stood, placing the front part on a low  stone wagon while a few wheels were attached to the back.  It was then drawn through the streets by oxen.  The new Mission became known as Loretto”.  For many years the only permanent Catholic residents were members of the Frara, Fregona and Lassak families
1902 Mission land expropriated and  the small wood and iron church was moved to a site in the vicinity of the Crompton street bridge
1905 Fr Henri Delalle, new Vicar-Apostolic visited Pinetown and met with a few families to discuss plans for a parish
1909 Fr Charles Serriere OMI appointed to look after Catholics of all races in  Clairmont (now Montclair), Malvern and Pinetown and fund raising began
1911 Fr August Chauvin purchased a piece of land from Anthony R. Pillay, a school teacher, for £100. Sale was registered on 28.11.1913. This was to  become Chapel Street
1919 Fr Pierre Vernhet OMI was appointed first resident parish priest in Pinetown, but still no permanent Church
1922 The old wood and iron church and the land on which it stood was sold and a new church was built in Chapel Street.  The church was blessed by Bishop Henry Dlalle OMI on 7 May 1922
1935 Fr Vernhet became ill and never resumed work in Pinetown
1936 -1937 Fr Wiest or Fr Senechal from Bellair and Shallcross served Pinetown
1937 Church bell acquired by Fr Theodore Wiest  (now used at Immaculate Conception)
1938 – 1942 No parish priest during the war years
1942-1948 Fr Leo Byrne, parish priest, purchased the large site on the corner of Maurice Nichols and Underwood Roads for £4250 in 1958
1960 Fr McDade took over Pinetown parish, followed by: 1967, Fr John McGrath; 1974, Fr Eldred Leslie; 1978, Fr Zdenek Cizkovsky
1978 – 1985 Plans for the building of Immaculate Conception and moving from Chapel  Street made by Fr Zdenek Cizkovsky
1985 New church, Immaculate Conception was consecrated on 6 October, 1985
1991 Fr Pierre Lavoipierre succeeded Fr Zdenek who returned to Poland
2004 Fr Justin Stirton succeeded Fr Pierre Lavoipierre who retired
2015 Fr Michael Nadaraju succeeded Fr Justin who moved to Durban North parish

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