Father Peter Nijssen was called home to our Merciful Father on Sunday, June 7, 2020 at Trinity Manor. Fr. Peter was 96 years old. He was predeceased by his parents and is survived by a sister Stiena, a nephew and a niece as well as other relatives in Holland.
Father Peter was born in the Netherlands on January 10, 1924. He didn't begin his vocation to the priesthood until he was 25. He spent 6 years in the minor seminary in Holland before coming to Canada in 1955 where he entered a major seminary at St. Peter's in London, Ontario. He studied there for two years and then another four years at the Regina Cleri Seminary in Regina. He was ordained at Holy Rosary Cathedral on June 3, 1961.
He served at Holy Rosary Cathedral and Little Flower Parishes in Regina as well as numerous rural parishes - Rowatt, Pangman, Ceylon, Wolseley, Lanigan, Nokomis, Sinnett and Estevan, Midale and Macoun. Even at 74, rather than retiring, Fr. Peter continued to assist with ministry in Estevan until he retired to Martha House in the fall of 2014.
Fr. Peter served for five years on the Victims Committee and seven years as the Director of the Ministry to Priest Program. For 37 years he was a member of the Lion's club and in 2007 he received the Lions International Foundation Award for dedicated humanitarian services. Fr. Peter was awarded the Diocesan Award of Merit in 2010. He also taught a human behavioural course at St. Mary Elementary School in Estevan. It seems he was well known for his legendary green thumb and magnificent flower gardens that people would come from miles around to see.
When Fr. Peter came to Canada he was determined to learn and speak English well. His sermons were written. He was one of the first priests to have a computer. He lived a simple life with few needs - a car, a fishing rod and an occasional trip to see relatives in Holland. In his old age he did go to Alaska for a fishing experience. He rarely spoke about growing up as a teenager in occupied Holland during the Second World War. He told of a signal used to warn the population of danger, having the windmill stopped either horizontal or vertical or in between. Tulip bulbs were made into soup. A desperate woman traded her wedding ring for a loaf of bread. Occupying forces took a farm animal. Fr. Peter, with a laugh, quoted how they paid with money they printed at the kitchen table, "it was worthless." He always was prayerful, very generous, and gradually in his old age he accepted his limitations of mind and body.
In the words of Father Tonny Dizy who spoke at Fr. Peter's 50th Anniversary, "Through all these years you have been a faithful servant and shepherd in the various parishes to which you were appointed. Your devotion, your deep faith, your dedication, your care and compassion for people and your commitment has not gone without notice." Father Peter, you have served the Lord well.
We are grateful for the care Fr. Peter received from staff, nuns, and others while at Martha House, during a brief stay at Regina General Hospital, and in the end at Trinity Manor.
Prayers will be held on Friday, June 12, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, June 13, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. Both services will take place at Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2104 Garnet Street, Regina, SK.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, limited seating will be available at the Prayers and Funeral Mass. Click HERE to view the livestream of the Funeral Mass.
Graveside Service will be held at Riverside Memorial Park, 815 Assiniboine Avenue, Regina, SK, on Monday, June 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Please meet at the cemetery gates prior to 9:55 a.m. The graveside service will be broadcast, to vehicles in the cemetery, on radio at FM 106.9. Guests are asked to remain in their vehicles in order to comply with gathering size restrictions. These restrictions require that no one should leave their vehicle unless directed to do so by Speers personnel.
Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/calendar/our-archdiocese/2020-06-13/funeral-mass-fr-peter-nijssen