RETIRED Brisbane archdiocese priest Fr Peter Conroy died on March 16 at St Vincent’s Hospital, Kangaroo Point.
Fr Conroy was aged 81 and his health had been under strain for some time.
He was born in Brisbane on May 12, 1938, one of four children, to Edward and Alma Conroy.
His elder brother John and younger brother, Martin, both became lawyers, as was their father.
The family were stalwart parishioners at Wilston Parish, and he attended Marist College Ashgrove.
After his secondary education Peter entered Pius XII seminary at Banyo in February 1956 to be ordained a priest in St Stephen’s Cathedral on June 29, 1962.
He served in the parishes of Manly and Murgon before being appointed the official Catholic Chaplain to the Greenslopes Repatriation Hospital, where he extended devoted pastoral care to the ex-service men and women and their families.
His defining appointment came in 1978, when he was made pastor at St Fabian’s Parish, Yeronga and served for almost 40 years.
His devoted ministry was appreciated by many of his flock who were so concerned about his deteriorating illness and final hospitalisation.
Long-time friend Fr Denis Long recalled Fr Conroy as a great pastor who put his heart and soul into whatever task he was faced with.
“He was a shy person, but once you put in the effort to know him, he was delightful company and very friendly,” Fr Long said.
“I came to know him better in later life, for during our years at the seminary he was three years behind me.
“Back then we couldn’t break the ‘sound barrier’ – a stipulation which saw philosophy students (the first three years of seminary formation) discouraged from talking to the theologians in the final four years of study,” Fr Long said.
In addition to his parish and chaplaincy work Fr Conroy also excelled in a role as chair of the Sick and Infirmed Priest Sustentation Society.
He always displayed a great level of care for any priest who was retired or sick and visited them whenever he could.
It was a model he would have delighted in seeing continued by the Clergy Support Office, and the nurses they engage through St Vincent’s Healthcare to assist retired clergy, and indeed from which he himself benefited in latter years.
Fr Conroy is survived only by his brother Martin, with whom he was close, and a number of nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass for Fr Conroy was held at the Cathedral of St Stephen on March 20.
It can be watched on demand at https://youtu.be/LNMXc3Vd1Ns