The following tribute to the 1948 Parade Captain and College Dux the late Fr Peter Jones has been paid by Kevin Rickard - a final year student of 1953 and an Inductee into the Old Paradians’ Association Hall of Fame.

Rev. Fr. Peter Jones, SJ, BEE(Melb), BA(Melb), H.Dip Ed.(Cantab) died in India on Anzac Day, April 25, 2021. Peter was a truly great, inspiring and humble son of Parade. He was 90 years old and had been a member of the Society of Jesus for 66 years. He had laboured magnificently for the vulnerable people in the Lord’s vineyard in India for 60 years. During some of this time in India he had collaborated with another Old Paradian , Fr. Lou Lachal, SJ.

Fr. Jones grew up in the Port Melbourne Carmelite parishfrom where he travelled to St. Colman’s under the legendary Bro. Bowler and subsequently on to Parade. His later years at Parade were with Bro. Charles Marlow. He matriculated first in 1947 but was too young for university. Accordingly in 1948 he repeated Matriculation but widened his subject choices. In 1948 he was school Captain, Dux of the school and Prefect of the Sodality. The Matriculation class notes of that year in the Paradian mention “Peter with his quiet friendly manner and his fund of knowledge on Maths and Science was ever a popular figure. Peter had the honour of being the first Paradian under the new system of matriculation to gain a Newman scholarship”. He proceeded to the University of Melbourne where he completed his degree in Electrical Engineering. Soon after, he completed the degree of Bachelor of Arts majoring in Mathematics.

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1955 and completed his novitiate and studies of Philosophy at Loyola College in Watsonia. In 1960 he volunteered for the Jesuit Mission in India.He completed his Jesuit period of Regency at St. Xavier’s school in Hazaribag. His studies in theology were in Darjeeling in the foothills of the Himalayas. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1967 in Darjeeling.

His beloved widowed Irish mother, Mary Ellen Jones (nee Flannery), together with his godmother, Mrs. Camilla White travelled to India for the ordination. Mrs. Jones often spoke of the mystical experience of flying over the Himalayas after Peter’s ordination as she returned to Australia. Peter’s English father, Sydney, was a staunch convert to Catholicism. There was a magnificent family of two boys, both priests and four daughters two of whom were nuns.

Peter’s ministry in India involved high school teaching, head mastership, pioneer teaching of mathematics in schools , author and printer of his own text books for mathematics, community bank supporter, Parish priest and spiritual guide to the people of his beloved Mahuadanr.

At St. Xavier’s school in Hazaribag and fresh from Australia he taught at the school for four years in 1961-1964. Again, four years later and now a priest, he re-joined the school and taught for a further five years. His background in mathematics for electrical engineering and his Melbourne Arts major in mathematics had prepared him well for teaching the subject. At this stage he took a break from the school classroom and studied for a year at the university of Cambridge, completing the Higher Diploma in Education.On returning to St. Xavier’s in 1975 he taught for several more years during part of which time he was Principal for 18 months.

Whilst at St. Xavier’s he composed and printed his own textbooks for mathematics which were used extensively in India.Sometime later Indian publishers began to print school textbooks following new methods of teaching which Fr. Jones had pioneered 10 years before. While he was Principal and following trends in other parts of India St. Xavier’s phased out the boarding facility. Fr. Jones set about restructuring the school to become a day school with increased enrolment. Accordingly, the main classroom block underwent a facelift with the addition of a third story to the building. With all his work at St. Xavier’s, Fr. Jones influenced more than two generations of boys in the latter part of the last century.

After his St. Xavier’s school days, he was the beloved Parish Priest in Mahuadanr for a number of years. He loved being among the Tamil Nadu people. He died peacefully in his sleep at St Stanislaus College Sitagarha, India in April this year. The Old Paradians’ Association extends its deepest sympathy to Peter’s family.

Peter was a loyal devout follower of St. Ignatius of Loyola as a holy blessed devoted Jesuit missionary in foreign lands much like the great missionary St. Francis Xavier.

May he rest in peace.

Kevin Rickard (1953)

May 2021

Thanks to Fr. Peter’s brother, Adrian and Tony De Bolfo for their contributions to this memoir.