Mary Immaculate Church, Waverley

Parish Priest

Parish Priest

Fr Bernie Thomas, OF

I come from a small suburb of Wellington called Wainuiomata, and my original training once leaving school was as a Cartographer (map drawing). However I have had a variety of jobs over the years, including managing a petrol station, working in a fish factory, and working for the Inland Revenue (Tax) Department.

I have also spent a lot of time prior to being friar working for the church. – 2 years as a parish youth worker, 2 years teaching as a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and a year in Samoa also teaching. I was the Director of a school retreat team for 3 years which travelled throughout NZ leading retreats in many of the Catholic Schools. I have also been leading youth retreats since 1981! Since becoming a friar, I have continued my work in school retreat ministry, but have also lead many adult retreats over the last 22 years. I have completed 4 years as University Chaplain as well as two years as PP of Waiheke Island parish.

Prior to that I was school chaplain to Marcellin College (Auckland) and St Peter’s College (Auckland – Christian Brothers). I was for a few years also the Director of our Franciscan Retreat Centre in Auckland. I was a lecturer and distance lecturer for the Catholic Institute of Aotearoa NZ teaching courses on Youth Ministry and Spirituality of Youth. I am also a trained Franciscan Spiritual Director receiving my training at the Franciscan International Study Centre in England.

Outside of my ministry, I have a great passion for music, being a pianist and can manage to play the pipe organ. I love musical theatre and have been in a number of musical productions over the years (prior to being a friar) I also love classical music and am looking forward to checking out the orchestras and choirs around Sydney. In the last 3 years I have returned to gym training, (after a few years of just dabbling in the fitness scene) so look out for me a one of the local gyms. My other hobby is knitting, and over the last few years have probably knitted over 150 babies beanies for new-born children – freebies to a hospital in South Auckland. As a fundraiser whilst at the University Chaplaincy, I would’ve knitted well over 100 adult beanies and 200 pairs of hand-warmers. If you want some knitting done just let me know!

Feel free to contact me at any time should you need support or just want to catch up for a coffee or a meal.

Blessings, Fr Bernie
Phone: (02) 9369 932