A resident of inner-city Sydney for all his life, Fr Kennedy made his mark as Catholic parish priest to the Aboriginal community in Redfern. He died at Concord Hospital yesterday, former Catholic priest and longtime friend Patrick Dodson said.
“It’s a sad, sad, sad loss,” Mr Dodson told the website Online Catholics. “He managed to incorporate the best of Catholicism into his personal life, which was evident in the way he related to the poor, the outcast and the downtrodden. “He was always prepared to share his own belongings with anyone in need.”
Born in 1931, Fr Kennedy entered the seminary aged 18 and was ordained in 1953. He moved to Redfern’s St Vincent’s Church in 1971 and established a network of priests to support the local Aboriginal community for more than two decades.
Fr Kennedy’s health deteriorated after a stroke in the late 1990s which led to his eventual retirement from active ministry in 2002. But he still maintained a close link with the community and was sensitive to their suffering, his sister, Sister Marnie Kennedy said. “I was reading to him in hospital last year … when he suddenly had a seizure,” Sr Kennedy told the website. “It was the major health crisis and the beginning of the end. ”
Later I learned that the Redfern riots had just begun.”
His funeral is expected to be held on Tuesday.