18 Dorchester Street, Robertsham / 66 Nelson Road, Booysens
+(27)11 680 0007/3900

About Us

Saint John Bosco Catholic Church

Currently serving our Parish are Father John Thompson SDB (Priest in charge), who was previously in Swaziland and Father Eugene Hennessy SDB previously in Ennerdale parish Assistance parish Priest. We are proud of our strong catechetical program, developed under the direction of Sister Colleen van Heerden FMA (RIP), which became a model for the Diocese of Johannesburg. This catechesis continues today under the guidance of Sister Patricia Finn FMA and through the enthusiastic team of catechists. We also run an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program. In the tradition of Saint John Bosco, the Youth have a special place in parish formation. Parishioners and visitors have the choice of six week-end and eleven week-day Masses. Saturday Vigil at 18h00, Sunday at 08h00, 10h00 12h00 and 18h00 at Robertsham and 08h30 at the Chapel in Booysens. Monday to Saturday at Robertsham at 08h00, and Monday to Friday at Booysens at 06h25.

St John Bosco Parish Church has a vibrant, multi-cultural community, with an active Parish Pastoral Council supported by an equally active Parish Finance Committee, Communication group that have been able to come up with this website among several sodalities (see Sodalities page) and a varied Music Ministry. Certain events and Liturgical celebrations have become traditional within the Parish, for example, the outdoor Veneration of the Cross Service at Booysens, the Good Friday procession from the Robertsham Church to the Chapel in Booysens, the annual Christmas lunch for pensioners organised by the Youth and the Liturgical Committee to keep our liturgy alive, focused and relevant. We welcome new members and visitors with open arms.

St John Bosco

St John Bosco was born on 16 August 1815 in the North of Italy. His father died when John was only two. All during his boyhood he knew little, apart from the poverty of a small farm. His desire was to study and become a Priest, but disappointment met him at every turn. An old retired Priest met John returning with his mother from a mission at a local Church, and was very impressed by the lad’s brilliant memory. He volunteered to tutor John privately. All went well for a few months and John made fine progress. But one morning, he was called to the Presbytery to find the old Priest dying. At the age of twelve John left home for the nearby town of Castelnuovo where would go to school. After school hours he worked at any trade where he could find an opening. He completed the three-year course in two years ending up with the highest marks.

In 1837 he entered the Diocesan Seminary. Four years later, to his mother’s unspeakable joy John was ordained and said his first Mass at the altar where he used to serve as a boy. The “Lady” of his first dream continued to appear and point the way. He trusted that God would not let him down. On 8 September 1841 in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, he met a young upcountry boy, Bartholomew Garelli from Asti, who he invited to a weekly meeting together with his friends. It was the beginning of the Oratory. On 18 December 1845, at St. Martins of the Mills, Don Bosco makes a fundamental encounter: a 8-year old, fatherless, pale boy: Michael Rua, who will be come his right hand and eventually his successor at the head of the Salesian Congregation. In December 1847 he opened a second Oratory next to Porto Nuovo, dedicating it to St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

On 29 October 1854, Dominic Savio, a “holy youth” joins the Oratory. 18 December 1859, became the official birth date of the Salesian Congregation, with Don Bosco and 18 other members. In 1860 Fr. Cafasso, Don Bosco’s spiritual director, died. Michael Rua became a Priest. In 1872 Don Bosco, with St. Mary Mazzarello, founded the Salesian Sisters (The Daughters of Mary Help of Christians) to work for girls as his Salesians were working for boys.Don Bosco passed away on 31 January 1888. In 1929, Don Bosco was declared. Blessed by his personal friend, Pope Pius XI who, on Easter Sunday 1934, also declared him a Saint of the Church, and the friend of young people. Don Rua, first successor to Don Bosco, sent Salesians to Capetown. They arrived there on 20 December 1896.

Our Church History

The Parish of St John Bosco was “born” in 1957, after the Salesians of Don Bosco were tasked with building a church in the Southern Suburbs of Johannesburg;

The Parish of St John Bosco was “born” in 1957, after the Salesians of Don Bosco were tasked with building a church in the Southern Suburbs of Johannesburg; more specifically at 18 Dorchester Street in Robertsham. Prior to this, Catholics in the area had attended Mass in a small Salesian chapel known as Ozanam House in Nelson Road, Booysens. This was the former home of mining magnate, Sir Abe Bailey, and was built in 1903. The house is now the convent of the Salesian Sisters who also run the Mary Help of Christians Pre-school and Junior Primary School built alongside the convent.

The initial ‘church’ building was a hall and the intention was to build a new church alongside at a later stage. The first Parish Council was formed in 1971 and in 1972; a much-needed parish house was built while funds were still being raised for the new church. After years of fund-raising through Planned-Giving, it was decided in 2000 to rather renovate, enlarge and modernize the old church. This project, under the Pastorship of Father Candice Dooley SDB, was completed in December 2000 and the church was consecrated by the late Right Reverend Reginald Orsmond, Bishop of Johannesburg, on 21 March 2001.

A Garden of Remembrance was opened in 2003 and this has provided Parishioners with a safe place for depositing ashes of deceased loved ones. The house on 20 Dorchester Street, adjacent to the Church, was refurbished as the Youth Centre, and doubles up as a meeting venue for other sodalities and committees. Since 1957, the parish has continued to grow in God’s Grace with many baptisms, first communions, confirmations, marriages, burials, liturgical events, missions and other social gatherings having taken place. All this would not have been possible without the dedicated service of the Priests and Deacons who are listed below:

Priests and Deacons of St. John Bosco Parish


  • Fr. W. Tait S.D.B (Deceased) : 1957 – 1959
  • Fr. G. Bolger S.D.B (Deceased) : 1957 – 1967
  • Fr. J. Nolan S.D.B (Deceased) : 1968 – 1973
  • Fr. K. Dean S.D.B : 1969 – 1971
  • Fr. M. Brassil S.D.B (Deceased) : 1971 – 1976
  • Fr. D. Lyons S.D.B : 1973 – 1977
  • Fr. M. Egan S.D.B (Deceased) : 1977 – 1986
  • Fr. E. Farrelly S.D.B : 1977 – 1979
  • Fr. A. Wills S.D.B (Deceased) : 1980 – 1983, 2000 – 2003
  • Fr. P. Ahern S.D.B (Deceased) : 1986 – 1988
  • Fr. T. Donaghy S.D.B : 1988 – 1990
  • Fr. V. Ford S.D.B : 1990 – 1998
  • Fr. I. Pisacane S.D.B : 1994 – 2000
  • Fr. C. Dooley S.D.B : 1998 – 2010
  • Fr. M. Power S.D.B (Deceased) : 2003 – 2009
  • Fr. J. Johnson S.D.B : 2010 – 2013
  • Fr. Roy : 2010 – 2012
  • Fr. J. Thompson S.D.B : 2014
  • Fr. E. Hennessy : 2013 – 2014


  • Rev. G. Connellan (Deceased) : 1983 – 2009
  • Rev. D. Lavers : 1985 – 2014
  • Rev. M. Nolan : 2009 – 2014
  • Rev. V. Ho : 2011 – 2014