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

Mum Shirl

Her story

Recent Parish Priests

Pell's appointments
The Neocats
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Points of view

Visitors since 12 April 2004
  Church Mouse

St Vincent's Redfern came into my life every Sunday from the age of 7. Upon reflection, my earliest experiences of St Vincent's can best be described as “The Redfern Show”. When questions of spirituality had not yet presented themselves I can brightly recall the Sunday ritual at Redfern.

“Mass” began on the street with requests to my parents for spare change. Inside the church I ducked between black and white legs until my family had found a pew. Once seated, I would read the many engravings etched into my seat or shuffle about hoping for interruptions which were not infrequent, but were always ignored by Ted, as he held his gaze toward the back comer of the church. Soon communion would come and I was presented with real bread, sometimes Saos, and always wine. Following this, the closing prayer, the dreaded community speeches - which as a child seemed to last forever - and the hope of climbing into the car before 11:30.

Though my recollections from this time are childish and certainly not inspired by Ted's words, I fondly recall regular occasions of friendship, loyalty, passion and compassion. Mum Shirl's power and charisma, along with Harold's unsure aloofness, are two of the most striking images for me during these years.

Looking back through the last decade I can more coherently express what Redfern has meant to me. It has blessed me with the opportunity to develop life-long relationships with Aboriginal people, the Aboriginal culture and their continual struggle for equality. It has shown me the beauty of the human spirit that brims with dedication and compassion for the poor. It has shown me the beauty of the poor.

Throughout the years, St Vincent's has heaped upon me scenes of anger, loyalty, power, frustration, confusion, abandonment, desperation, inspiration and love and has demonstrated above all the importance of justice, humility and generosity. St Vincent's as a public community could surely not have represented Christ more successfully. It was led by a man who will always be an inspiration to me and an example of the glorious power and generosity of unselfish love and the human spirit.

by James Gilbert


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