Msgr Terry Leslie, ‘a wonderful pastor’ honoured

Msgr Patrick Terence Leslie, who served as Vicar-General of Auckland diocese under three bishops, passed away on October 4, 2022. He was 95 years old.   

Msgr Terry Leslie

At his requiem Mass held at the St Joseph’s Church in Takapuna on October 10, Auckland Bishop Emeritus Patrick Dunn recalled that Msgr Leslie’s life was spent very actively at the start of his priesthood and patiently over the last 15 years.  

“[He held] key positions of responsibility in the diocese: Vicar for Clergy, having the confidence of the priests; Vicar for Administration; and Vicar-General for Bishop John Mackey, Bishop Denis Browne and for me. Although, he used to keep reminding me that I was his altar boy,” Bishop Dunn said.   

Born on April 30, 1927, in Inglewood, Taranaki, Msgr Leslie was ordained priest in July 1955 in St Patrick’s Cathedral by Bishop James Liston. He was much involved in the Catholic Youth Movement in 1956.  

“The whole youth movement was a very exciting movement in the Church in Auckland. It was then fed with ideas mostly from Europe but elsewhere, too, from people like Fr Joseph Cardijn (later Cardinal Cardijn),” Bishop Dunn recalled. “A number of the younger priests in Auckland were very attracted to this thinking and … Terry was immersed in this world.”  

Msgr Leslie was assigned to the parishes of Ponsonby, Kaitaia, Remuera, Mt Wellington, Ellerslie, Mt Maunganui, Gisborne, Papatoetoe, Takapuna, Tuakau and Orakei. He was appointed Prelate of Honour by Pope John Paul II in 1982.  

“When he was in his 70s, he decided to set aside these responsibilities and went to Hibiscus Bay parish which is one of our larger parishes and worked there as pastor for another seven years until his health forced him to step down from full-time ministry in 2005,” the bishop said.  

Bishop Dunn said Msgr Leslie was a priest after Pope Francis’s model who has the smell of the sheep.  

“He knew his people. We loved him and he loved us,” he said.  

Ben Dowd and John Leslie also shared their memories of their uncle. They recalled him being very social and who was into boxing, swimming and rugby during his school years. Msgr Leslie played golf, loved swimming and had a “keen interest in horsing”.   

One of the symbols placed on his casket was a photo of a horse, Miltak. Msgr David Tonks explained the name was a combination of Milford and Takapuna.  

Bishop Dunn said the last few years had been “challenging times” for Msgr Leslie.  

“But those are years, too, that he navigated with quiet courage and an open heart, part of the vocation. And so, we honour not just a wonderful pastor but a very faithful, faith-filled disciple,” he said.  


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Rowena Orejana

Reader Interactions


  1. Jane says

    Terry and I clashed over the parish notice board! He loved golf but wasn’t so keen on CUF. We got to ‘first base’ and I got a hole in one.

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