by PETER GRACE
A Pukekohe couple are the first married couple to be appointed in a team leadership role for the Catholic
Cameron and Cheryl Surrey are taking over from Regnum Christi member Lisa Small, who has been at the Northcote-based college for several years.
The Surreys visited the college on October 23. Mr Surrey told NZ Catholic that that they would be starting there in January. “We are just about to begin preparing for next year,” he said.
Ms Small said that over the previous three years she had been the formation and household leader. With
her impending departure, there had been no plan to look for a married couple. “It just happened that way.”
The job had changed, she said, but had melded into being a formation leader for students. That meant coordinating the programme of living with the students, making sure everything they had come for was supplied, and that they were able to achieve other goals in formation.
The Surreys seem well qualified for the role.
Mr Surrey said he spent five years at the diocesan seminary before discerning that priesthood was not his calling.
Mrs Surrey said she met Cameron after she was chosen by the English bishops to represent England at World Youth Day in Sydney, just as the New Zealand bishops had chosen Cameron to represent New Zealand there.
Mr Surrey said that after WYD he went to the United Kingdom and he and Cheryl married there. He began doctoral studies in the UK, but had recently submitted his doctorate in theology at the University
Mrs Surrey explained that when they were in London they were involved in a group called Power in Heart. “We did a lot of Theology of the Body, so we were involved in running retreats, helping youngpeople build relationships.”
She has since been working as the parish secretary at St Joseph’s parish, at Pukekohe. She has a degree in pastoral theology from St Mary’s University, London.
The couple now have a daughter, Daisy-Ann, who was born in the UK.
Mr Surrey explained that they will be on a fixed term contract in their CDC role, “so it always depends on whether there are enough students to make it viable, so therefore it’s in our
interest to work”. The role will be one which they will approach as a family, he said.
Ms Small said she has been living outside her community while she has been at CDC. She will return to the United States at the end of January to live, at least initially, in the Regnum Christi community in Atlanta.
“But I will be back. We run Summit Camps [for youngsters in NZ] between the ages of 10 and 15.”
CDC will continue next year with the support of the Marists, she said. Some local priests, and a few from outside, had also given input into the college.
Ms Small said that over a few years, seven young men had gone from the college to discern their vocation to the priesthood and about six women to discern a vocation to religious life. “And we have had marriages.”
She said she believed that at least 90 per cent of graduates are still active within their parishes and their Catholic communities.