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
Who is Worthy?
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Visitors since 12 April 2004
  Church Mouse

I was just a mere lad when I came across an article in a Melbourne Newspaper. You know the one where Ted is holding the small child in front of the Church door. That door is miraculously still standing. I was transformed by the words of the journalist. There was a catholic Priest out there somewhere in a place called Redfern who appeared fearless and was challenging the Church to its core. I immediately knew that something very special was lurking. Life went on.

Many years later I literally walked past that unstable door, unknowingly and unwittingly into the space where I first felt a tremendous freedom of faith through the staining print of that article. The problem was that this bloke Ted had triggered something in me that I could no longer avoid, the need and the courage to be true to who I am in relationship with my God and others. This meant tearing away those many masks that life had managed to insist that I carry in order to get by in the madness of much illusion.

I got to meet the man. He appeared nothing like the countless stories of legendary stature that I had heard and wanted so to believe. He stumbled, could hardly walk, seemed very shy and fragile, and I was struggling to get a word out of him. As for his glorious, riveting, intellectual words of wisdom, I would be lucky to hear a bloody thing with the stamping of little feet (some had four of em) over a well worn uncarpeted floor space, aided by a sound system that I am sure fell off the back of a truck several times, and was put together by electronic nutters of the third kind. With all the failing trappings and chaos that was suddenly surrounding me I knew I was home.

“Ted is dead”, I thought I heard them proclaim, but there he sat armed with a tattered stole having just shared bread. Huh??? The community meeting, that day, exercised the thought of Ted’s non-existence amid his very existence. Here was a place where philosophy, theology and principle were challenged freely without the nonsensical fear of corrupted powers out to hose down the demons of non-conforming catholicism. Here was a place that took itself seriously amongst much laughter, tears, and love. Here was a place that embraced the necessity of faith through doubt and questioned ideologies of self-righteousness and absolute truth.

I discovered Ted, not through the person Ted but through others who have been touched by him. Ted has already risen amongst the lives of so many people. He touched me through a newspaper article, he espoused what I thought was the Christian message. He has touched a severely disenfranchised people, the people of this Land, the Aboriginal people. His message is tough but it is a message that gives us life. It is a message of love and it is a message of commitment and just action. It demands sacrifice. Ted is a man of principle, a principle that needs to be acted upon and not just discarded as the crazy whims of a determined and focused man. It is the message of Christ to love and Ted is a great lover. Thank you Ted.

by Michael Gravener


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