Our Patron Saint
Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru on the 9th of December 1579.
Martin showed unbounded love for the poor and he fed almost two hundred poor people daily.
He also gave away $2000 worth of food to Indians and Black people in town. He also cared for the sick, the miserable and the dying.
Through his efforts, an orphanage was built for the poor and homeless children of Peru.
People from Lima referred to him as the “father of the poor”.
Martin died on the 3rd of November 1639. He was declared a Blessed servant of God in 1837. It is therefore the reason that the parish and the school were called Blessed Martin for a long time.
Martin was declared a saint in 1962 by Pope John Paul XXIII and he continues to watch over and guide the parish of St Martin de Porres – Orlando West.
History of St Martin de Porres School and Parish
The story of St Martin is intimately linked with the beginnings of the township of Soweto, which was formed in 1904.
The Great Depression of 1930 saw more and more people migrating to the city in search of work and the city council set aside an area near Klipspruit and a new township called Orlando came into existence. The township was named after Edwin Orlando Leak who was the city councillor at the time.
In 1946, Blessed Martin came into existence when Fr Albert Vanenbussche OMI acquired a piece of land and asked Bishop O’Leary for permission to use that land for a school and a parish.
Fr Vandenbussche was also a priest at Christ the King in Orlando East and both parishes were perceived as one mission at that time.
The building of St Martin began in April 1946 and the foundation stone was laid on the 15th of August 1949.
The parish of St Martin has been run by the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) since 1984.
St Martin de Porres Today
The parish is run by the Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) and the financial structure of the parish is run by the Parish Finance Committee (PFC).
The current parish priest is Fr Nobert Munakani SJ who is the president of both the PPC and the PFC and the parish administrator is Mr Oupa “Deejay” Dire.
The parish also has sodalities who are represented on the PPC. Those sodalities are the Sacred Heart of Jesus, St Anne, Daughters of St Anne, Kemolo ea Maria and the Catholic Women’s League (CWL).
There are various groups and portfolios which also have representatives on the PPC and those are Youth Group, Caritas, Marriage and Family Life, Catechists, Liturgy Committee, Communications Desk, SPRED and sections which are determined by geographical locations around the parish.
The PPC is a body where everyone in the parish is represented in one way or another and on this committee decisions about how the parish is run are made.
Parish Priests that have served the community of St. Martin’s
1946 – 1953 Fr. Albert Vandenbussche, OMI †
1953 – 1958 Fr. Daniel Verstraete, OMI
1958 – 1961 Fr. Herman D’Hoore, OMI
1961 – 1962 Fr. Leo Muldoon, OMI †
1962 – 1967 Fr. Patrick McInerney, OMI †
1967 – 1970 Fr. Joe Leathem, OMI †
1970 – 1971 Fr. Tom Kearns, OMI
1972 – 1984 Fr. Augustine Makhokolo, OMI
1984 – 1985 Fr. William Daniel, OMI (Fr. Dermot Mills, OMI)
1985 – 1989 Fr. Xolile Keteyi, SJ †
1990 – 1991 (Mr. Peter Knox and Deacon Dermot Preston, SJ)
1991 – 1992 Fr. Michael Lewis, SJ
1992 – 1997 Fr. Timothy Smith, SJ
1998 – 2006 Fr. Kevin McElhatton, SJ
2006 – 2010 Fr. Thomas Plastow, SJ
2010 – 2021 Fr. Bruce Botha, SJ
2021 – Fr. Nobert Munekani, SJ