By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
Father Joseph J. Kennedy, 90, pastor emeritus of All Saints Parish, died Dec. 22, 2008, at St. Francis Country House, Darby.
Born in Philadelphia, the son of the late Henry F. and Anna (Quinn) Kennedy, he attended Assumption B.V.M. School and Roman Catholic High School before entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Ordained May 22, 1948 by Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia J. Carroll McCormick, his first assignment was as parochial vicar at Holy Rosary Parish, Reading.
He also served at St. Anastasia, Newtown Square; Our Lady of Grace, Penndel; St. Kevin, Springfield; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Morton; St. Ambrose, Philadelphia; and St. Charles Borromeo, Drexel Hill.
Father Kennedy was appointed pastor of All Saints in 1980 and was named pastor emeritus in 1993.
Father Kennedy was “kind, careful and compassionate,” recalls Dot Hahn, who served as his secretary at All Saints. “He was also frugal and conservative, and kept up the parish well.
“He was a good friend to me and my husband,” Hahn said. “I’m sure God will be good to him because he was a priestly man.”
All Saints parishioner Peg Harvey will also remember her former pastor as a kind but quiet man, yet with a spark in his eye and Irish wit.
“His homilies were outstanding. He always had the right words, whether at Sunday Mass or at a wedding or a funeral. He had a way of speaking to people from his heart,” she said.
Father Kennedy’s funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 27 by Cardinal Justin Rigali at Nativity B.V.M. Church, Media. Concelebrants included Msgrs. Henry B. Degnan and Timothy C. Senior; Fathers Edward H. Bell and Peter J. DiMaria; and Oratorian Father Georges Thiers, who was the homilist.
Father Thiers knew Father Kennedy for 38 years, going back to his St. Ambrose days. “He was a wonderful person and a very good priest from the beginning to the end,” Father Thiers said.
Father Kennedy is survived by his niece, Kathleen Cox, his nephew, Christopher Murray, and grandnieces and grandnephews. Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon.
Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.