Peter Collins SSS. Rest In Peace
This site is to celebrate
the life and work of Jesus Christ's servant, Fr. Peter Collins
and is to show, in some measure, our gratitude for his ministry
over the course of our lives.
Newly appointed Deacon Peter
Collins wth the first child that he ever baptised, Peter Drummond.
invite you all to email any reminiscences, photos and tributes
to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion on this
Peter passed away surrounded by his friends and family on the
1st February 2014 from the effects of inoperable cancer. We wish
his family and friends to know how loved and valued he has been
within our lives.
"Fr Peter Collins died peacefully aged 64 in the Palliative
Care Ward of Royal Melbourne Hospital on Saturday 1 February after
long illness, surrounded by loving members of his family. Professed
in the Blessed Sacrament Congregation on 2 February 1969 and ordained
on 8 May 1976, Peter served faithfully and generously in many
different capacities in Toowoomba, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne,
as well as assisting the General Administration inRome, the Congregation's
Provinces in Asia, and the Provincial Administration in Australia.
He endured the great pain and suffering of the last nine years
with extraordinary courage and patience, assisted by the wonderful
carers of Mercy Health and the nursing and medical staff of Royal
Melbourne. His way of the cross now over, may the good shepherd
guide him safely home." The Age, Melbourne
ask you to contribute. Photos, remembrances and tributes are all
Collins SSS (3/3/1949-1/2/2014)- Personal History and
Audio Interview conducted with Peter Collins by Pat Drummond
personal history and musings on the history and the future of
The Church and the Order
Peter Collins 1.mp3
Peter Collins 2.mp3
was born on 3 March 1949, the second of John and Irene Collins'
seven children, and educated at Holy Name, East Preston, St Thomas',
Clifton Hill, and St Bernard's, West Essendon. In early 1967,
after a year of work and part-time study, he entered the Blessed
Sacrament Congregation's novitiate in Toowoomba, making his first
profession on 2 February 1969. He spent a year at the Passionist
seminary in Lower Plenty before completing his studies under the
Columban Fathers at North Turramurra in Sydney.
He was ordained
on 8 May 1976 by Archbishop Frank Little at St Francis' in Melbourne.
Peter Collin's Ordination 1976
After a brief
stint at St Peter Julian's Church in Sydney, he was appointed
to 'The Shrine' at Toowoomba in January 1977. From then on he
worked tirelessly in pasto- ral and sacramental ministry, especially
with young people, and was well-known and liked. In 1981 he was
elected to the Congregation's provincial leadership team and appointed
National Vocation Director. In February 1982, he left Toowoomba
his vocational work in Sydney, but returned there as Community
Leader in 1987. In 1989 a one-year formation course at St Louis,
Missouri, led to his appointment as Director of Scholastics at
Eymard College, Box Hill, Victoria.
In 1994, he assisted the Congregation's General Administration
with a comprehensive report on initial formation and ministry
in Vietnam. He oversaw the Congregation's painful withdrawal from
Toowoomba in November 1995. From there he went to Perth as Community
Leader and Parish Priest, only to have to preside over the Congregation's
difficult departure from there also in late 1998. While still
there, Peter was chosen as Australian Delegate to the Eucharistic
Congress in Wroclaw, Poland.
In January 1999, Peter returned to Melbourne and headed up St
Francis' for eight years. One of his key initia- tives was the
introduction of a regular Mass for international students. In
2004, he became Convenor of the ecumenical group Melbourne City
Churches in Action, often leading the annual Good Friday procession
around the streets of Melbourne.
Peter's personal Way of the Cross began in 2002 with surgery and
radiation therapy for a tumour at the base of the spine. By 2007
he had recovered enough to be appointed leader at St Peter Julian's
in Sydney where he oversaw the refurbishment of church and monastery.
His term was cut short in September 2009, when the ad- vance of
tumours in his spine obliged him to resign. He returned to St
Francis' and resumed ministry, even from a wheelchair. He was
looked after at home by the carers of Mercy Health until worsening
pain and paralyis compelled him to remain in the palliative care
ward of Royal Melbourne. He died there in the presence of his
family on 1st February 2014, aged 64, after 37 years of priesthood
and on the eve of the 45th anniversary of his religious profession.
Throughout his long ordeal, even in the final twelve months of
intense suffering, Peter remained extraordinarily patient and
As he shared
in the cross of Christ, so may he share in his resurrection.
At St. Peter Julian's Haymarket, Sydney - The Sydney Rock Masses
of the 1970's
with Matthew and Peter Drummond in the mid 1970's
Peter was a
wonderful and ongoing presence in the lives of The Drummond family
during the mid 1970's. It was during the time that Pat Drummond and his Benilde college mate, Peter Hunt (later
Dr. Peter Hunt, noted Evironmentalist and ABC Radio's
'Earth Worm' presenter and founder) wrote and orchestrated
The Rock Masses for The St Peter Julian church in The Haymarket.
With Peter Collin's leadership and encouragement, they set about
assembling a 26 piece orchestra called The Haymarket Players
expressly for the purpose.
With Pat and his brothers,
Ron, Danny, Geoff and Steve on guitar and Vocals, Peter Hunt on
Flute, Glen Barwick on Electric guitar, Ivor
of Icehouse) on oboe and Bernard James as concert master,
they wove together a community of McCoys, McFaddens and Millers
as string players, some of whom would later form the basis of
notable Sydney folk rock band, Hatrick
(later to become Highly Strung)
Under Peter Collin's guidance,
Pat and Peter wrote and orchestrated masses at St Peter Julian's
Catholic Church for over three years. These masses were groundbreaking
and are now widely regarded as having been the first Rockmasses
ever staged in Sydney.
With so many 'Peters'
in the mix, it was no wonder that Pat and Carol named their second
son, born during this time... Peter.
And, with so much music
in the blood, it was also little wonder that Pete Drummond would one day grow up to be regarded
as one of Australia's finest drummers.
"Thank you Peter
for all that energy, guidance and love during that period that
your tradionally monastic order was opening up to the world....
and opening it's arms to the city's youth" - Pat Drummond
"Danny Drummond "Steve Drummond was in Melbourne
and spent a number of hours with Peter on the day before he passed
away. Peter will be missed by many of us- he was a passionate
voice for social justice and he lived Christianity- didn't just
Peter officiated at
many Weddings, Baptisms and other communal liturgical celebrations,
Ronald and Beck Dando sent these photos of his wedding with thanks
to Peter for his enhancement of their Big Day.
together the hearts of Ronald and Beck at St Mary's Basilica on
the 5th February 2011
St Francis', Melbourne
Jim and I were aware that
things were looking pretty grim for Fr Peter when we moved from
Melbourne in mid 2012 but reading today on the internet that he
had died earlier this year was just so sad.
It seems to me that it is only when someone has left this world
that people say all the nice things they know and remember about
him - what a nice person he was and just how much he mattered
but he truly was a nice person and he did matter more than
His voice had both gentleness and strength and the words he spoke
were comforting to those who are seeking something better in this
He radiated kindness and compassion. This is so obvious
when one saw the young people who gravitated to him, especially
those who are so far from home.
I am sure he would say that he was not perfect and that is probably
right. It would be hard to find someone who
is but he would have gone pretty close as far as we are concerned.
We regret that we hadn't spoken with him far more often but, when
we did, Jim and I walked away with a smile and I so liked my "hello"
kiss on the cheek from him.
We have listened to his homilies and were lightened by them.
I suppose lightened is a funny word to use but when one is burdened
and troubled listening to his sermons was almost a "time
out" a time to re-coup and face the world again with
There is so much of which his family and congregation can be proud.
He made all welcome at St Francis.
He encouraged other faiths to join with "us" and the
feeling of quiet calm when one enters the church is so comforting.
I feel sure that this calmness is generated by those who
are there to guide us.
The numbers of people of all faiths who come to St Francis on
Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas is testament to how he
and the other priests care for all. There is no pomp
and ceremony just goodness.
We particularly remember one Sunday when a disturbed person came
into the church during Mass. We all looked at
one another wondering what to do and then Fr Peter appeared.
He spoke quietly with the man, put his arm gently around his shoulder
and together they walked outside. The
caring way he was with this sad person truly was what our belief
should be all about.
If I had said these words to him then I would probably have fallen
into a blubbering mess but I can write them.
Jim and I were so thankful for his warm smiles and friendship.
We were his parishioners some of the Sunday Catholics who
will indeed always be indebted to him and remember him.
Carmel and Jim Marsh.
Our Lady Of Dolours, Chatswood, Sydney
I remember going to the
church at Chatswood in Sydney, as they had a CYO group, and the
one at Lane Cove had disbanded years before. I walked into the
church and there was this young deacon helping to organise the
local youth group for what in those days we called a "folk
mass". I went up and introduced myself and said I could play
piano. I ended up playing piano at Chatswood for over 10 years,
including some memorable major folk masses and Christmas celebrations.
Even saw the Drummond boys at Haymarket!!
Peter was my deacon for
the CYO and a dear friend. I went on a trip with many other CYO
members, that we organised ourselves, to Melbourne for his ordination.
We even took him out for a pre ordination dinner! From memory
we visited / stayed (can't remember precisely) at a church establishment
in what was then country Melbourne... (started with 'L' but can't
remember the suburb) but it had the most amazing altar. Peter
did a mass for us there during that week.
He was a good and holy man and could always talk to you and inspire
you. I met with Peter many times over the years, both in Sydney
and Melbourne; with my mum as well and he was always the same,
loving and caring.
One funny anecdote.. I went to Melbourne with a mate from those
CYO days and met with Peter for lunch in the late 80's early 90's.
We were discussing over lunch in a restaurant in downtown Melbourne,
The Church, Pope and things in general to do with his career.
He was talking about meeting
the Pope ( JPII I think ) in Rome and told us of the meeting and
then did this amazing impersonation of the Pope, the voice-over
was great! Everyone in the restaurant turned around to look, thinking
"the Pope is in the room" and, as Peter was wearing
his priest's collar, the look on their faces was priceless. I
think they thought the Pope was there having lunch, but when they
saw his collar, that was even better. Would make a classic home
He was a great man and I miss his guidance.
From Fr Jo Dirks SSS.
Peter's Collegue and Communal Brother
(Fr. Jo Dirks SSS)
he sits publicly marked for sacrifice more than most
vested for the ritual enacted by Jesus on that Passover night
at a table small and sturdy, used for public exams.
But this is no three hour ordeal, but life itself;
diminished in size as the lowered table of the word;
microphone downsized; the world is shrunk,
but the spirit is expanded beyond the pain
as the words of Juan de la Cruz resound:
in the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone;
or as Sally Read put it - being Catholic is like being
in love -
the Church being the ultimate poem
fleshing out God's presence on earth.
The wheelchair is silent as the ministers
serve the faithful with God's viaticum and wine.
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