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Obituary | Msgr. John J. Kennedy

A funeral Mass for Msgr. John J. Kennedy was celebrated Jan. 23 at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Richmond Heights. He was an educator and longtime pastor of St. Luke before his retirement.

Msgr. Kennedy, 93, died Jan. 18. Born in St. Louis, he attended St. Louis Preparatory Seminary and Kenrick Seminary and was ordained in 1949 at Kenrick by then-Archbishop Joseph E. Ritter.

After ordination, he was named assistant pastor at St. Ann Parish in St. Louis. A year later, he was named assistant pastor at St. Mary Magdalen Parish in St. Louis and, in 1954, he became assistant pastor at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in St. Louis. In those years he also taught, first at St. Joseph's High School, then at Webster College. In 1965, he was named administrator and then pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Pagedale. In 1974, Msgr. Kennedy became pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Richmond Heights, the parish where he had been baptized, and remained as pastor for nearly two decades. He became senior priest in service at St. Luke in 1993, staying until his retirement in 1999. He later moved to St. Agnes Home in Kirkwood.

Msgr. Kennedy served in a number of archdiocesan positions. In 1954, he was put in charge of the Archdiocesan Insurance Commission and became assistant archdiocesan master of ceremonies. In 1956, he became associate treasurer for the archdiocese and in 1957 was put in charge of archdiocesan high school properties.

One of his favorite hobbies was ice skating. Reflecting on his priesthood, he said: "A Chinese priest, Rev. John Wang, reminded me of the proverb that a prophet in his own country may be without honor. However, that has not been my experience at St. Luke's. Throughout my life, I have felt honored to be a priest in service and ministry at St. Luke's."

Survivors include a sister, Audrey Johnston. Burial was in Calvary Cemetery. 

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