REFLECTIONS
Father Ted Kennedy
St Vincent's Redfern 1971 - 2002
 
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A compilation of reflections by Community members presented to Ted Kennedy on his retirement as parish priest of the St Vincent's Catholic Church in the inner Sydney suburb of Redfern.
 
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Visitors since 12 April 2004
 
 
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Dear Ted,

How to begin a letter to a person who has supported, cajoled, nurtured, questioned, taught, wined, dined and broadened our intellectual horizons and shown compassion for others as a cornerstone of your religious belief.

Ted has always lived his beliefs, often vocally, when injustice and apathy attempt to prevail and often by example quietly and powerfully. Ted, you accept people and I have learnt about the preciousness of every human being in the many faces and moods and thoughts that are seen in this life.

I first met Ted when I was an angry young man who knew that the Catholic Church of my Father's generation was not mine. I felt at home in the Redfern Community, a sense of deeper purpose, of a mystery and reverence for the human soul.

I invited my future wife to Mass and Kate felt a sense of belonging that continues to this day. We invited Ted home to a small flat in Concord and then were educated thoroughly in hospitality and abundance of life.

Kate and I knew Ted for five years before we proposed to each other at Croagh Patrick, Araluen. When we were married at Redfern, Ted recited a poem possibly by Yeats? and spoke of such conviction about our future together. Annika and Liam were baptized in Redfern and always remember Ted.

The O'Callaghan Family, Paul, Kate, Annika and Liam, don't see Ted as much as in the past. The brief trips to the hospital and Bowral allow some contact. However we miss the warmth, reverence and spirit of a great friend and mentor.

The Irish prayer of the traveller speaks of the sun on your back, warm winds and rain on your fields. Ted, you have sown a great crop and nurtured a generation of people who see imagination, poetry and compassion as essential to their way of life. We thank you for that.

Enjoy your retirement and we look forward to sharing the journey ahead.


by Paul O'Callaghan
 

 

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