by PETER GRACE and ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — The rector of Holy Cross Seminary from early 2012, Msgr Peter Jeffrey, has returned to Australia for medical treatment.
After Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Ponsonby on June 8, parish priest Fr Robert Steele
thanked Msgr Jeffrey for his service and contribution to Auckland diocese and the New Zealand
Church. Sacred Heart Church is only metres from the seminary.
At the Good Shepherd College 2014 graduation on June 6, Bishop Patrick Dunn thanked Msgr
Bishop Dunn said Msgr Jeffrey had been unwell in recent months, and he faced chemotherapy back in Australia later in June.
And in a statement, the president of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop
John Dew, said they were grateful to Msgr Jeffrey for his work at the seminary over the past three years.
“He came to us from the diocese of Sandhurst, Australia, at a time when he was due to retire.
Instead, he responded willingly to our request to come to New Zealand as rector of Holy Cross
Msgr Jeffrey said he was sad to be leaving at this stage in the year, but he thought it was best for the seminary and for himself that he return to Australia for medical treatment. “I would liked to have completed my term, which was due to finish at the end of the year,” he said.
At the graduation, Bishop Dunn said that in 2011, the bishops were looking for a new rector
for Holy Cross Seminary. Msgr Jeffrey was suggested and, to the New Zealand bishops’ astonishment, Sandhurst diocese agreed to send Msgr Jeffrey to New Zealand once again. The astonishment was because of Msgr Jeffrey’s remarkable record of service to the Church in Australia — and even in Fiji.
“Msgr Peter had been here,” Bishop Dunn said. “He helped in the search we were doing when we
were looking at moving the seminary from Mosgiel to Auckland in the 1990s.
“I would just like to say Msgr Peter, when we look at your CV and we actually know you personally, it is no surprise at all that [you have] filled these positions of responsibility.”
Msgr Peter is a treasure, Bishop Dunn said — a gift from the Australian Church.
“We treasure your presence in our midst and really, on behalf of the Good Shepherd Community,
we want to assure you of our prayers for the treatment that you’re facing, and we pray that
you’ll make a very prompt recovery and that you’ll come back here on holidays.”