Fr Peter Quin SJ
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
Fr Peter loving me unconditionally - despite my series of bad hairdos in my teen years.
A matter of hours ago, I was told the heart-breaking news of the loss of my dear friend, Fr Peter Quin SJ.
My first memory with Fr Peter was when I was very young. I was at breakfast with him and my parents, and I was intensely preoccupied with my colouring-in book. During conversation with my mother and father, Fr Peter picked up the green crayon and, without asking, started colouring-in with me. He was colouring in a young boy’s hair green.
"Fr Peter!” I exclaimed! “People don’t have green hair!” A perfectionist as a child (and admittedly - at times as an adult), I was horrified that Fr Peter had now ruined my colouring-in book by giving a young boy green hair.
Fr Peter put down the crayon and looked at me and said, “You know, I have a young man who comes to my church, and he has rainbow-coloured hair.”
“Rainbow-coloured hair!?” I repeated in disbelief.
“Yes,” Fr Peter said. “And you know what he did? He came in and sat at the back of the Church. And you know what I said?”
“What!?” I asked, still caught up on the rainbow-coloured hair.
“I told him to come and sit at the front of the Church because God loves everyone equally. And if God loves everybody equally, we should do the same.”
This simple task of colouring-in was a defining moment in my childhood. While I had been brought up with the same values from my parents, Fr Peter’s story really hit home the point that everyone should be loved and treated equally.
It’s a series of small anecdotes and moments which lay the path everyone takes in life, and some incredible people who act as guides. I started the Global Goals Australia Campaign due to many little stories in my life - stories like the one above with Fr Peter. He is one of the many reasons I wake up everyday and work to achieve the Global Goals.
As heartbroken as I am that I will no longer chat to Fr Peter on the phone or receive that special Christmas card, it means so much to me that I can still treasure many of the moments we shared together.
During our last phone conversation before I left for overseas, Fr Peter told me he was trying to stick around for three things:
To see more of the world and “just have a few more good years”
To visit his sister again
To marry me off
Well, Quinny, one thing I can say is I’m glad the pressure is off for me to find a husband now! But I will always continue doing God’s work the way you taught me, bringing love, peace and harmony to everyone I meet. You will always be remembered, my friend. Rest in peace.