Ted & the spirit of Redfern Catholic Church

I knew of Fr Ted Kennedy from the early 1970’s, but did not become a participant at Redfern until the early 1980’s.

Lindsay and I were part of the loose Christian Community living in shared houses around the Uni of NSW. We were also early members of the St Vincent de Paul Night Patrol and often ventured into Redfern on our fortnightly rounds to talk to those sleeping out, to offer a cuppa and sandwich and conversation, and a bed if desired, and we’d called into de Porres house … Continue reading

What does Redfern mean to me?

I have an image of an arc floating on a vast sea with sails set to the horizon. There are people on board from diverse cultures and backgrounds, rescued from a sunken vessel. This image slowly emerged during my 10 years as a parishioner of St Vincent’s Catholic Church in Redfern, Sydney.

Today, from my home in New Zealand that image remains a powerful symbol of hope as I live and work among mostly young people who are starving for the real bread – a church that can taste the … Continue reading

Father Ted Kennedy

When I was at school, the Mercy nuns and the Christian Brothers used to make much of how Jesus came to save us by suffering and dying on the Cross and, in this way, repaying to a seemingly insatiable God the Father, the debt of Original sin. I wondered even then about this, after all I had nothing to do with Adam and Eve disobeying God in the Garden of Eden and I certainly didn’t ask Jesus to die a horrible death for me to somehow make it all okay.

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Sacred site

In the middle of the 1970’s Mark Raper S.J., then Director of the Jesuit “Asian Bureau”, asked me to write an article on the links between contemplation and social awareness/action. Mark could have supposed that I might know something about contemplation, though that would have been a somewhat doubtful assumption. It is true that I had, been living a completely enclosed `contemplative” life for twelve years, before the changes f Vatican II brought our contemplative, Eucharistic life back to earth and back to an earthed theology of Eucharist. I wanted to write the article. I … Continue reading

What St Vincent’s Redfern has meant to me

For the first few years of my coming to Redfern to Mass, St Vincent‘s meant chiefly the value I placed on the friendship and support of Ted Kennedy.

I had been closely associated with Ted during his time as Chaplain at Sydney University and had come to appreciate the genuineness, the generosity, the breadth of mind, the commitment to freedom and justice that marked his Catholicism.

Fr Ted Kennedy & the Redfern community

As I was gathering my thoughts to compose an introduction to my reflection on Fr Ted and St Vincent‘s Redfern, two things struck me in regard to the simple title of this piece that I had just written.

1. "Fr Ted Kennedy" – How often do we mention Ted’s surname, or even his title "Father"? Our traditional way of addressing him is "Ted" or "Fr Ted". I would think that this is a very natural instinct and indication of the intimacy of our relationship with him, of his attitude for a “fair go” for … Continue reading

Snapshots of Ted

My dad may have been a truck driver and a laundryman but he ran his service as a business and he kept his Bondi family in creature comforts. Good sheets and pyjamas were de rigueur. When I got to university, Ted as chaplain was a shock not just intellectually, but physically. As we became close friends we slept in the same room several times – in huts, at Newman Society camps, at Araluen, and so on. Ted seemed to have no concern for pyjamas. He dossed down in shorts, shirts, old coats, pants (still with … Continue reading