Monsignor Peter Jeffrey will be leaving his role as Rector of the Seminary a little earlier than expected due to health reasons and was farewelled at the Holy Cross Seminary in Auckland this week.
“I’m sad to be leaving at this stage in the year but owing to health reasons I feel that it’s best for the Seminary and for me that I 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,” says Monsignor Jeffrey.
“We are grateful to Monsignor Jeffrey for his work at the Seminary over the last 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 Seminary,” says Archbishop John Dew, President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference.
“During his time here, he has embraced the culture and the Church here and has contributed greatly to the Seminary,” says Archbishop Dew.
“Monsignor Jeffrey’s experience and passion for priesthood has contributed greatly to his work at the Seminary,” said Archbishop Dew. He brought his many years of experience as both a staff member and rector of two seminaries, and his involvement in Catholic education. He also has great enthusiasm for the new evangelisation, and having worked in a number of parishes. He has a proven knowledge of pastoral ministry.”
“While we’re sad to see him leave early before the anticipated end of his term later this year, we understand that the need to prioritise his health and wellbeing. We are deeply grateful for his presence, his wisdom and experience, and all that he has brought to the life of the Seminary during his time as Rector. He can be assured of our prayers.” Says Archbishop Dew.
Reflecting on his time here Monsignor Jeffrey says he has enjoyed New Zealand “I’d like to thank all of the staff at the Seminary for their work and support of me and my role. I’d also like to thank all of the Seminarians who have passed through the Seminary during this time. I wish them all the very best in their discernment and development of their vocation. They will remain in my prayers as I return to Australia,” he says.
In an ABC interview prior to beginning the role at Holy Cross Seminary, Monsignor Jeffrey said “...the key thing for students is their own personal, human formation. If we know ourselves and know how to relate with and understand other people we can build relationships, and it’s all about establishing good relationships”.
Monsignor Jeffrey was ordained at Sacred Heart Cathedral in his home town of Bendigo in 1963 and worked as Assistant Priest at parishes in Beechworth, Cohuna, Heathcote and Shepparton.
He then spent twelve years at Corpus Christi Provincial Seminary in Australia as a member of staff (1972 – 1977) and Rector (1978 – 1984). In 1985 he was appointed a staff member of the Pacific Regional Seminary in Fiji and became Rector in 1989, a position he held until 1993.
In 1994 Monsignor Jeffrey became Parish Priest at St John’s Catholic Parish in Euroa before joining St Brendan’s in 1995.
In addition to seminary and parish-based roles, Monsignor Jeffrey has been Chairman of the Sandhurst School Education Board since its inception 15 years ago; Director of the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria for 12 years, and Chairman of a Diocesan Ecumenical Commission for 14 years. He was named Prelate of Honour by Pope John Paul in January 2000.