In what appears to be a combination of an accident with both recent and chronic health challenges, Fr. Ken Keene died suddenly on January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Fr. Ken pastored Holy Trinity Parish for nine years and left only this past October as part of the transitions On Mission for The Church Alive! Fr. Ken also happened to be a native son of Holy Trinity Parish and a graduate of our elementary school. Just these past three months, I’ve already met Fr. Ken’s mother Alvera and his brother Dave, who are both very active at Holy Trinity. Fr. Ken has other family, as well. Please pray for those closest to him who are grieving his death, all too early at the age of 60.
Please remember Holy Trinity Parish in your prayers as well. The faithful there are also grieving and wrestling with the difficult mix of feelings that come with grief. Moreover, in my limited experience, a pastor’s death in office can make it hard in the following years for the parish to continue to adapt and grow. Though technically Fr. Ken had left Holy Trinity, his departure was very recent, and we at RocKenRo need to adapt and grow in the near future. God grant that his death not freeze us in grief, but become an occasion for us all the more to trust God’s Providence and the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Speaking of adaptation and the Spirit’s leadership: By the time you read this, I will have met with the pastoral and finance councils of each parish of RocKenRo. I thank you all for your patience as we’ve put these advisory bodies into place over the past three months. One early agendum is how each parish should respond to the request that we consider consolidating the parishes of RocKenRo. A consolidated parish would inherit everything from the predecessor parishes: Churches, schools, rectories, social halls, parking lots, bank accounts, debts, programming, furnishings, donations, bequests, etc.
There’ve been a few last-minute changes at St. John of God: Jennifer Meyers joins the pastoral council. Tee Amity withdraws from the finance council (for reasons unrelated to the parish). Doug Nolfi joins the finance council.
Next Sunday, January 20, we take up the annual second collection for the St. Anthony Program and the De Paul School. These institutions do extraordinary work on behalf of learning-disabled and hearing-impaired children, respectively. Moreover, contributions via the second collection count also towards our parish share, so they benefit the parish even more than gifts in the first collection.
My friend, David Mills, speaks at St. Malachy Church on Tuesday, January 15, at 7:00, as part of that parish’s speaker series. David writes regularly for the Pittsburgh Catholic. He understands the Church unusually well and will speak on distinctively Catholic practices such as holy cards, candles, and the like. Please come and listen.