Father Ted Kennedy
St Vincent's Redfern 1971 - 2002
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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Fr Ted Kennedy

Reflections 1
Reflections 2
Reflections 3
Reflections 4
Reflections 5
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Visitors since 12 April 2004
  Church Mouse
Dear Ted,

You have been like a second father to me since the far off days of Sydney University 1966. I hitchhiked to Araluen after Tim Higgins told me a few students were gathering there with you. You had no idea I was coming and my first sight of you there (you thought I was Tim returning from Braidwood) was as a ghostly figure at the gate, draped in a sheet, ringing a bell. I was uninvited but truly welcomed and soon I was seated by the fire with a glass of red, plunging eagerly into deep conversation with Dick Synnott.

It was the start of a new stage in my life. You have been an opener of doors for so many including me. You helped me leave home. You heard a couple of songs I had written and encouraged me to have a go at writing some folk-hymns. Over the next six weeks, I wrote fourteen songs including “Fill My House”, which I always dedicate to you because your house (“The Lodge”) was always full... people eating your bread and drinking your wine (and whisky).

During my long sojourn in England, you visited us in Kettering in 1978 and adopted Madge and our children immediately. When we visited Australia in 1979 you shared your home with us for a year and many new doors were opened. I met Aboriginal people for the first time, experienced Redfern, heard the challenge of a new theology, met new friends - all of this becoming seeds for songs like “The Man God Chose”. At the end of that year you even raised our return fare to England through a bold campaign of calling in unpaid royalties for “Fill My House” etc from priests and parishes around Australia. Your boldness of thought and greatness of heart have always been inspiring.

Eventually we returned to Australia and found our feet here and your generous support has always been there. You have been a large and generous presence in our lives, a true god­father. Thank you Ted for all you have been for me and for us and for the many who are smaller and poorer than us.

by Peter Kearney


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