Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Johannesburg

Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Holy Trinity Catholic Church

On the western side of the city of Johannesburg, in an area called Braamfontein, Holy Trinity Catholic Church is nestled between towering office blocks and University buildings. It is the “home base” of Jesuit ministry to the inner city of Johannesburg. St. Ignatius wanted Jesuits to be found in the market squares, in the places where people spend their days, and so Holy Trinity is an excellent place for Jesuits to be. Jesuits have been ministering at Holy Trinity for 39 years, since 1973. Holy Trinity has a long and rich history and is still present today because of the many religious congregations and diocesan priests who ministered here.

In 1897 the Trappist Monks from Mariannhill set up a mission to serve migrant mine workers in Stiemens Street. The first church was built and opened in 1899. Soon after this the Anglo-Boer war broke out and the Trappists returned to Natal. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate served the new parish. The current church was completed and opened in 1938. In 1966 the Paulist Fathers looked after the parish and university chaplaincy. In 1969 the parish was handed over to the Diocese for a short period and then, in 1973, the Society of Jesus took responsibility for the parish and university chaplaincy.

Holy Trinity continues to be, like its beginnings, a community for and of migrants. The Parish is made up of people from all over Johannesburg as well as people from all over the African continent. Some specialised ministries try to respond to the needs of the various and specific people who are part of the community. The parish is well known in the area for its service to those who are marginalised and abandoned by society but also for those who feel marginalised and abandoned by the Church.

At Holy Trinity we are always trying to build a community where everyone feels welcome – no matter who they are, where they come from, what they have done or failed to do. Nobody is excluded from the Table of the Lord. Our vision of the world and Church is formed and informed by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. We strive to make the Word of God speak to and challenge us where we are now, in inner city Johannesburg. The parish staff do the best to maintain good preaching standards. We believe in and strive to live a faith that does justice.

There are a number of ministries which happen from Holy Trinity, a school chaplaincy, two university chaplaincies, a home for the elderly and two hospitals. There is also a daily soup kitchen, a weekly bible study and sharing for the homeless, a clinic and fortnightly Pharmacy for the homeless; a lunch service during the week for students who are struggling; a group for women who have suffered the trauma of abortion, a group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and inter-sexed people as well as traditional ministries like catechetics for young people and adults. We also try our very best to make sure that priests are available everyday of the week for confessions, Monday to Friday. Reconciliation is an important ministry to us and so we endeavour to be available to people as often as possible so that they can participate in this healing Sacrament and be graced by God. We try, through our ministry, to form men and women for others.

Fr Graham Pugin, S.J., and Fr Matthew Charlesworth, S.J. are currently missioned to Holy Trinity Catholic Church. Click here to visit the Parish’s website.

Take a look at this video about the social outreach in the parish.


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