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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Years ago, I thought if I went to a poor church I might find more truth based on the Gospels. Being the procrastinator that I am, it wasn't until I actually went to live in Redfern and went along to the Catholic Church that I found in many ways more than I'd ever dreamed. The lies I was used to hearing in my society and religion, I heard untwisted back into the truth again by Fr Ted Kennedy, and I found a whole group of people who appreciated this. (I wasn't the only one after all!!!) What a discovery, an oasis in the desert.

Sometimes I would find myself hearing answers to questions I had and there was relief in this. So at the same time however these understandings would open the doorway to yet more questions bringing new frustrations!!! This feeling though was more real and bearable than the one from the quick fix ready solutions I was used to hearing in the past, devoid of any mystery.

St Vincent's is a place where I find warmth and a renewed feeling of being grounded every time I attended, whether it had been a week or more since I'd been. These experiences are based on a message of truth and compassion, and also bring challenge as I am reminded of my own weakness and neediness. It also assured me of the strength, wonder and beauty of life itself and profound possibilities, small and not so small and that could emerge from the most unexpected situations.

Not backward in coming forward, making his disapproval known when defending truth and compassion, Ted also carried and expressed a great sensitivity that I personally experienced and witnessed many others experience too. It is often just in a word and the lightness of tone that gave such a strong message of acknowledgment and recognition.

This sensitivity was so subtle and yet so deep it therefore was effective and a beautiful mystery. This sensitivity was based on a truth that saw a whole situation through its complexities to its simple humanity and the value of each human, understanding the rightful respect and dignity each one deserves.

These messages of truth and compassion rang true to me instantly, quenching a thirst I hope they will help me keep growing and be something I can draw from when I feel like the only one.


by Helen Regan
 

 

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