Daniel J. Kennedy Jr.
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This week The Pilot, in cooperation with the Office of Vocations, begins a series of brief profiles of the men preparing for the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Boston.
For other profiles or if you think God may be calling you to a vocation to the priesthood or religious life, visit the Vocations'' target='_blank'>www.VocationsBoston.org">Vocations' Office Web site.
Home Parish: St. Joseph Needham
Seminary: St. John’s Seminary
High-School: Catholic Memorial High School
College: Providence College
Hobbies: Running, Golf, Red Sox, NE Pats
When was the first time you thought of priesthood?
I thought of it as a child, thanks to the fine priests who came through St. Mary’s in Westfield, MA and St. Joseph’s in Needham. However it did not seriously enter into my head until after college. What were major Catholic activities you participated in prior to the Seminary? I attended the vocations retreat for the archdiocese in 1999. It was quite helpful to finally take a concrete step toward investigating God’s call in my life. The retreat helped me understand that I was a few years from being ready to make the jump into the seminary formation program.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Why?
Psalm 46 “Be still and know that I am God”. In today’s busy world, so many of us are constantly looking for the quick and clean answer to so many questions in life. Sometimes it is helpful to just stop and reflect upon the Creator, and then trust in His plan for each of us.
Who influenced/inspired you to priesthood? Please explain.
A handful of parish priests, the Irish Christian Brothers at Catholic Memorial and the Dominican Friars at Providence College. These men were among the happiest I have ever encountered.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I am training for my 9th marathon in the last 6 years.
Did anybody invite you to consider priesthood?
The nuns I had in elementary school asked me and my classmates regularly if we had ever considered priesthood. As well as, Bishop Joseph Maguire, Father Francis Reilly, Msgr. Jim Haddad, Father Joseph Barranger, Mrs. Mary MacGillicuddy.
How did you come to know Jesus Christ?
Through the example my parents provided for me as a child. Their word and action demonstrated a deep faith in Jesus Christ.
What were the spiritual events or activities that helped you develop and shape your personal relationship with Christ and His Church?
Attending Mass, going to confession and spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in Eucharistic Adoration.
What signs led you to believe that God was calling you to be a priest?
I had a great job, great pay, great travel opportunities, I had unbelievable place in the Charlestown Navy Yard and a terrific girlfriend. With all that the fact that the priesthood was rattling around in my head gave me pause. As I took steps to investigate this notion, God began to make it more and more clear to me.
Through the Cardinal, God is calling you personally to help rebuild his Church. How must the priest respond to this mandate today?
Our Church right now needs normal, everyday men to muster the courage to respond “Here I am Lord”. So many Catholics do not attend Mass for a number of reasons. We need to re-educate Catholics as to the relevance of a faith life and the practice of that faith on a regular basis. A priest needs to remain connected to mainstream everyday life, while at the same time he needs to be different. Much the same way as a parent needs to be in tune with all that their children say and do, while at the same time holding themselves apart, not necessarily above, but apart, if we hope to be the compass or the rudder for people as they navigate through the waters of life.