Five Minutes with …
Five Minutes with Greg Jeffery
Husband, Father of 3, ACU Campus Ministry Pastoral Associate
Where were you born?
Durban, South Africa.
Did you have a Catholic upbringing?
I attended Catholic schools and went to Sunday Mass each week, but was somewhat disengaged from my faith as a young person.
How did your faith change as you entered adulthood?
When I was 20, I was diagnosed with cancer. During this time, I had a very tangible experience of God’s love for me. It was during this time that I began to realise that being a Catholic was less about my own eﬀorts to succeed or to change, and more about being open to God’s love to change me. After this encounter with God, I just wanted to share that with other people.
How did you end up in Australia?
I travelled to World Youth Day in Sydney in 2008, where I came across NET ministries. I was inspired by the opportunity to share my encounter of God’s love with young people, and so spent two years with NET sharing my experiences with students across Australia.
You then discerned a vocation to the priesthood?
I spent two years with the Missionaries of God’s Love in Canberra. I think one reason I was attracted to becoming a priest was a belief that this was how I could do a good job at being a Catholic. However, through prayer and through meeting many great lay witnesses to the faith – fathers and husbands who were living incredibly holy lives in such a simple way – I began to understand that I could serve God and lead a holy life just doing the ‘ordinary’.
What happened next?
I was going to head back to South Africa as my VISA was expiring, but the archdiocese wanted me to stay in Canberra and work as a campus minister at ACU. I really wanted to work for the church in evangelisation as a lay person, and it seemed to me that in South Africa there were not many opportunities for lay people to work in evangelisation. Thankfully, despite a long and uncertain application process, I was allowed to stay in Australia and take up the opportunity.
How do you share your faith through ACU campus ministry?
We live in a very secular culture, and so a key part of my work involves engaging with students where they’re at and building relationships with them. At ACU, we ultimately try to create an environment where students can encounter Christ – but there’s a deep awareness that God acts in His time. I’m not God and I’m very grateful for that!