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?
Letters from Ted

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Visitors since 12 April 2004
  Church Mouse

I first met Father Ted back in 1976 when I first came to Sydney, my brother introduced me to him. The next time was in 82 when I moved into the church as a homeless person. In them days there were a lot of homeless people roaming around Sydney, but to the Aboriginal homeless people of Sydney, the Redfern church was a safe refuge and a place to stay. The place became known as "The Church" and the people who lived there were known as the "Churchies".

The place was also a place where you could get a free feed in the early days but after a few murders a lot of the people had left. This was a place of hard dinking alcoholics who used to wander around Redfern, with nothing better to do. Father Ted Kennedy had given us a safe place to camp. I remember once, me and a mate called Ivan got drunk one night, and some how we woke up in the main church down behind the last pew. It was Sunday morning and I could hear little children yelling. "Hey Father Ted! there some men sleeping here". As I looked up all I could see were all these little faces looking at me, over the pew. Boy was I embarrassed, but! Father Ted said nothing, just continued on with the service.

I can remember my mates getting married there, Dougie and Barie, they didn't remember asking Father Ted to marry them, but bright and early a few days later, after he had sober up Father Ted married them in the church for nothing.

Ted Kennedy was the big push behind the Aboriginal people for self equity. He insisted the church be involved in Aboriginal issues plus issues involving the larger community of Redfern. Yes! Father Ted was very well known and respected person, especially in the Aboriginal community and in Aboriginal circle of NSW.

I can still remember the Christmas parties, every year they were held, rain, hail or shine, in some park around Sydney. Ted and the sisters (nuns) would put this lovely dinner on, for the homeless and anyone who wanted to come, with all the trimmings. Payed for out of his own pocket. This was a man who you could go and talk too, regardless of how you looked, how drunk you were or what ever the problem was. (The word was, go and see Father Ted, he will be able to do something) and sure as god made little green apples the problems would go away.

I remember after leaving the church and going back to TAFE to do a course, I run into Father Ted a few years later. "How’s TAFE going Dave" he said. "Having a lot of trouble with the English, Father Ted!" was my reply. Then Father Ted replied "Haven't you been having trouble with English for the last 200 years". At first I didn't realise what he meant, but I sure know what he means now! Ted Kennedy has said a lot of things to me over the years, but the thing I really remember most was “Hey David! that's another mate of yours we just buried, wasn’t it. And actually these words helped me achieve to what I am to-day a National Aboriginal Discovery Ranger, plus a teacher in TAFE for Aboriginal Culture.

by David Wright


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