St Vincent’s Redfern

But alas for you Pharisees! You pay your tithes of mint and rue and all sorts

of garden herbs and overlook justice and the love of God. (Luke 41/42)

Many years ago, my husband, Ted Burke, and I became very tired of listening to sermons about Money – Children Crying – causing us to leave Mass on Sunday in a very angry frame of mind. We needed a depth to our Faith. Two of our daughters had made Redfern THEIR Church. Just a case of parents following their daughters.

When one enters the Church of St Vincent’s – by no means a glamorous building – one finds a friendly group of people. One is conscious of God’s love. Love and joy in their Aboriginal friends; love, joy and concern for all the Congregation.

Why this atmosphere of love?

For years, Father Ted Kennedy has shared with all, his deep concerns about injustice. History and the tragedy of lies told instead of truth – but still passed off as History; Land Rights and the court-cases which go on and on; Poetry I adding to the depth of his sermons on the Gospels of the day, – each of his sermons relating to the trials of to-day.

Christ’s teachings for us – to-day. It is Ted Kennedy’s deep culture which he shares with all.

Luke’s reference to the Pharisees is very important. Over the years, the Hierarchy has complained of “petty things” like painted walls in the Church, while ignoring their own injustices and lack of compassion.

An article in Eureka Street, June 2002, by Fr Edmund Campion, was called “Open Door: Father Ted Kennedy’s Legacy”. Campion speaks of Mum Shirley Smith who taught him (Father Ted) to be a fellow-sufferer, to find Christ in the rejected, (I don’t think Mum Shirl had to do much teaching) but Father Ted did say at her funeral, she was “the greatest theologian he had ever known’.

Campion also says:

Just by his being in Redfern, Ted was saying that Christ hadn’t turned his

back on them. That gives Father Ted Kennedy his place in our history.

 

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