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Long journey to confirmation


When 91-year-old Josef Petrmichl was confirmed in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on June 30 it was the fulfillment of a long-held desire to complete his faith journey.

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Mr Petrmichl was baptised and raised a Catholic in the western part of Czechoslovakia, now the Czech Republic, but a world war and communism prevented him from being confirmed.

He fled to Germany and came to Australia as a refugee as a young man but lived in the Australian bush for many years before coming to Adelaide and joining the Payneham parish about 35 years ago.

“I was attending Church every Sunday but I was a shy person and didn’t feel comfortable being confirmed with young people so I put it away in the back of my mind,” he explained.

“Then I saw in the parish bulletin that they were doing adult confirmations and I went to a meeting in the Cathedral to prepare for my confirmation.”

Mr Petrmichl said being Catholic had been a big part of he and his family’s life, coming as they did from a part of Europe where “99.9 per cent of people” were Catholic.

The widower said his daughter and son, who was his sponsor, were present for his confirmation by Fr Charles Gauci and he described the occasion as “very special”.

“Now I feel relieved, I feel better somehow,” he said.

“I always wanted to be fully integrated into the Catholic family.”

Mr Petrmichl said there were eight others in his adult confirmation group but he was the oldest “by far”.


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