The reflections of a newly ordained priest

Hello and welcome all to my blog!

As I mentioned in my last posting, I thought these first two weeks of July would be a wonderful opportunity for some of our newly ordained priests to share their reflections on the time since their ordinations in May. This week, I am pleased to bring you a guest posting by Father Daniel Kennedy who, along with six other fine men, I ordained to the priesthood on May 26. In June, he began his assignment as parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Winthrop.

I wish to express my thanks to Father Kennedy for his willingness to put this post together even in the midst of a very busy holiday week.

I hope you enjoy this guest post and may you all have a blessed and safe summer!

– Cardinal Seán

– – –


As I reflect upon my first six weeks as a priest, there are a full range of notions and emotions which come to mind. Each day seems to be a new adventure. Both the ordinary and the extraordinary have taken on a new meaning as I adjust to the new configuration of my identity.




The Ordination and Mass of thanksgiving over Memorial Day weekend were milestones in my life, unlike any other. The sight of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross teeming with people who truly love the priesthood should be in every vocations video.




The sheer joy on the faces of so many in attendance will be with me forever. What a great day for Christ’s Church. On a personal level, I was so moved by the opportunity to share such a special weekend with so many family and friends, who through prayers, encouragement and patience helped make the realization of my vocation a reality. My 13 year old niece told me that she never thought she would have to wait in line to talk with her uncle.





– – –

My first Mass at my home parish of St. Joseph in Needham was in many ways a dream come true. I had been to a few first Masses at St. Joseph’s years ago, but the fact that this one was in thanksgiving for the priesthood that the Lord has asked me to share, really blew me away.


My parents and I before my first Mass



I was surrounded by priests who had been instrumental in my formation and development over the years.


With me at the altar are Fathers Francis Reilly, Charles Higgins, Michael Lawlor and Brian Manning


Welcoming remarks by Father Lawlor

The bookends were Father Francis Kennedy who baptized me 33 years ago and Father Brian Manning, my deacon intern supervisor who taught me so much about priesthood. In between were many happy, holy and healthy priests who have provided an invaluable priestly witness along the way. My dear friend and ever so patient mentor, Father Charlie Higgins preached the homily. The altar servers were young men that I have known and watched grow since the day they were born.


Altar servers Andrew Freeze, Brian Freeze,
Graydon DeCamp, Peter Freeze and seminarian Mark Murphy

My sisters Katie and Anne Marie and my brother Jack proudly and eloquently proclaimed the word of God.


My sister Katie proclaims her reading…


and my brother Jack

My sister Patti, my niece Ashley and my aunt Judy presented the gifts and my dear parents presented me with a most beautiful chalice in memory of the Kennedy and Haggerty families.


My parents present me with my chalice


Sprinkling the assembly with holy water. Holding the vessel is St. John’s seminarian Tim Lewis who served as master of ceremonies



I knew when I entered formation that going it alone was not a possibility. The first Mass of thanksgiving was such a great way to celebrate with those who kept me focused, kept me sane and made me feel so loved along the way.


Bill and June St. Lawrence receive a blessing at the reception in the parish following the first Mass


Michael and Jennifer Finn and their children Charles and Peter receive a blessing.
Helping hold little Peter is Scott Masi (in the green shirt)


Quinn and Richard Butcher



Msgr. David Joyce , Father Anthony Creane (standing) and Betsy Crupi

– – –

I do not believe that there is any class or course of study which could fully prepare one for the enormity and awesome nature of Holy Orders. My first few days at St. John the Evangelist in Winthrop, simply put, have been in many ways like beginning a new job, that is, a new job which will last forever, a vocation I was born to fulfill. Everywhere I turn there has been a new face, a new experience, a new system with which one needs to become familiar.


Greeting parishioners following Mass at St. John’s

I began my first weekend by speaking after Communion at each Mass, as a way to introduce myself to the faithful of the parish. I explained that although we do not know each other well, from what I have already learned of this great community, I feel that right off the bat, there are some things we all share in common: a love for God, a love for family and a passion for all things that are the Boston Red Sox. I explained that I am a priest so anxious to serve this parish, as well as a left fielder looking for a softball team!

Celebrating Mass everyday is about as humbling an experience as I have had in my life. Truth be told, a great deal of energy is spent ensuring that I am celebrating the Mass properly. I have been told to loosen up a little bit. I think I know what that means, but it may take a while. I was reminded of a prayer to be said before Mass and I have found it particularly meaningful. “Lord may I celebrate this Eucharist in union with you, as though it were my first Eucharist, my only Eucharist, my last Eucharist.” It is my hope that I will never lose sight of the privilege it is to bring Christ, truly present in the Eucharist, to the good people of God.


In addition to saying Mass, I have had the opportunity to celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Penance and Anointing of the Sick. Each ministerial encounter has been unique. Comforting is the fact that the sacraments actually do something, they are true encounters with Christ. I call upon myself to decrease, while Christ increases.

Clear to me in such a short period of time as a priest has been the fact that Catholics truly crave Christ in the Eucharist. There is such a desire to come to know Christ more and more each day through His Word, and to be nourished by Him who is the Bread of Life.

I have also been touched by how welcoming, helpful, and forgiving of my rookie mistakes people have been. Such support fills me with a great deal of hope for the priesthood in which I share.

32 thoughts on “The reflections of a newly ordained priest”

  1. what a treat to meet cardinal sean this week at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish for an investiture (f you want to call it that )for Israel from Spain, taking the next step to the clerican rank of Deacon.
    “It was great to meet the gang from the neocatechumenWay, i.e. Greg and Donis Tracy, Gary and Denise from Wakefield, Karen from Stoughton, Fatima from Fall River.; also Enrique and his darling wife and some of his family; a new baby named elena only one week old. Mom looked great….11 kids.
    Mass just beautiful with other priest concelebrants. Collation was just super…. all that good food. I shall never be thin.
    Didnt have an easy time getting to from E boston. from Framingham.We come from down on the farm. Next timei we will do better. Thanks a bunch for inviting us. It was a great privilege. God Bless You all.

  2. Your Eminence:
    To implement the new “motu proprio” issued by
    our Holy Father, it would be generous and fitting
    to have at least one location north of Boston, one location south of Boston, and one in the city itself
    in addition to the present location in Newton where
    a traditional Latin Mass would be offered at a
    convenient time on Sunday. This would enable
    those individuals who must use the MBTA and those
    such as my wife and myself who cannot travel long distances by car to fulfill their Sunday obligation.
    George Ogar

  3. Father Dan, It seems like millions of years since a young talented Westfield youth infiltrated the Agawam Little League. I am so proud to have that small memory and to see the wonderful achievements you have made and the vocation you have chosen – to serve our Lord. May your life be filled with love, happiness in your ministry.

  4. Congratulations and well done. When i’m back in Boston, i’ll be sure to stop in.

  5. Congratuation to you Father Dan. I am sorry I missed your special day. Your dad has shared a lot of the joy that you and your mom experienced. I only have to look on their faces to see the pride and joy that you have brought to them. I am sure you will do a great job as a priest.Keep me and mine in your prayers. God bless!

  6. I loved reading your story and viewing the pictures… I’ve saved the photo of your parents presenting you with your chalice as one of my favorites. Many blessings.

  7. Fr. Dan,
    I am happy and proud that God has chosen you. The beautiful red vestment and presentation of the chalice were the highlights of the weekend for me.
    I enjoyed reading your sincere comments and looking at the wonderful pictures of the Ordination and First Mass. You always have had a gift to relate your adventures so that people can share your experiences. May this gift contine on the pulpit.
    You say that the joy on the faces of those in attendance and the smiles on your brother, sisters, and parents will remain with you forever. It was seeing the happiness radiating from your love of God that put the joy and smiles on our faces.
    May that love for God continue to shine through you to others forever.

    With love,
    Aunt Judy

  8. Fr. Dan,
    I was honored to be invited to your ordination. It was a moving experience to witness and hear the committment a priest makes before God and the public to bring Christ into the daily lives of the people. I pray for you and I know that you are praying for me and my children.
    I so enjoyed reliving the ordination electronically.
    To me it was so refreshing seeing the Catholic Faith being promoted in such a positive way. I’d like to see more marketing of our Catholic Faith.
    Lucille T. Kolish

  9. FR. Keddedy. Every blessing and good wish as you begin your Ministry. Be gentle with yourself and take time to be with the Lord in silence every day. Many happy years to you in Piresthood Fr Kennedy.
    Tony (Ireland)

  10. Father Kennedy,
    Thank you for the inspirational review of your ordination and First Mass. Your vestment was beautiful and your remarks were sincere. What is a ‘left-fielder’? I appreciative your courage in responding to the Lord’s call and that you have commenced serving His people at St. Johns. Enjoy the Anniversary year in your new assignment. Hopefully your willingness to enthusiastically follow the Lord will be an example for many others to ‘come and follow Christ’.

    Pat, (Ireland)

  11. Dear Fr. Dan,

    Please know of my prayers as you begin your ministry! As a brother priest, I know the challenges you face in this day and age as you strive to bring Christ to the people in Word and Sacrament. Be one with your people – they will be one of your best supports in your vocation! Give of yourself, be open to be ministered to and, above all, trust that it is the Lord who has called you to follow Him in this wonderful vocation. Ad Multos Annos!

    Fr. Paul Ring

  12. Cogratulations! My prayers are that God will richly reward you and help you confront your daily challenges in this – the harvest is great but the labourers are few – we pray for you! From the isles of Fiji!

  13. Danny your the best, I love you!
    your a great man and a amazing priest.

  14. Father Dan,

    Having you as a part of the Boston Archdiocese will definately have a positive impact on the Catholic Church. Your adventures in life (thus far) give you an advantage. I`ll leave that right there and let you inform people with your weekly sermon.

    We are extremely happy that you have become one with God and from where I live in Japan we would love to have you make a visit and pass on the word of the lord.

    Brian, Akimi, Rosemary, Allison and Owen Harlow

  15. We knew years ago this day would come! The Ordination and your First Mass (other than the birth of our 4 children) were the finest 2 days of our lives. Remembering that it all started when you were 4 or 5 blowing out the candles for Father Desmond’s Mass. What a proud day it was for us,as it was for your family! We wish you the very best if you land a part time job as a left-fielder, along with your full time JOB. May God Bless Us All! The butcher family.

  16. Father Kennedy,

    thank you for sharing your ordination experience and private thoughts with all of us! I pray God will bless you abundantly in your vocation, as you are a blessing God’s church. Even though I have never been to Massachusetts, I am encouraged in my faith by seeing your joyful witness.


  17. Dear Father Kennedy,

    I feel touched and lucky this Sunday morning to have read your reflections on your recent ordination to the priesthood.
    Through the website of Spirit Daily which is my homepage, I noticed, Cardinal Sean’s Blog, I decided to look and what a gift to me, to read your story. Congratulations, Father Kennedy, I am so happy for you even though I have never met you, may you be blessed abundantly as a new Disciple of Christ, may you also be filled with deep faith and burning love for Jesus and His church during the course of your priestly life.
    I will remember you in my every Sunday morning prayers, (rosary) which I dedicate for the Pope, priests, and the Church. God bless you Father Kennedy and your family

  18. Dear Fr. Kennedy,

    Peace & many Blessings to you on the occasion of your ordination. Today I went to the Cathedral in Fall River & witnessed the ordination of Fr. Jay Mello to the priesthood. It is always so edifying to see a young man respond “fiat” to God’s call. Please be assured of my daily prayers for you, and all priests. May God make of you a great Saint & use you to lead his people closer to His heart… and you are right. Each Mass IS your only Mass.

  19. Congratulations from the Choir Member of The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and God Bless you and your family.

  20. Father Dan,
    We are delighted to take this electronic journey to witness the joy and gratitude that you personify. God blessed you when He selected you and we pray that He continues to shed His blessings on you as you pursue your ministry.
    Mary and Tom O’Neil

  21. Contratulations Father Dan!

    Thank you for giving us some insite into your first few weeks. I hope that the Cardinal lets you post again.

    Thank you for saying yes to God.

  22. A Athair Dhónail, Father Dan,

    Beannacht Dé ar do shagartóireacht. God’s blessing on your priesthood. It’s good to see that the Irish well of faith in Boston hasn’t dried up. I’ll be 40 years ordained, God willing, in December. May you too have many fruitful and happy years as a priest.

  23. Father Dan,
    Congratulations!!!! This is a brilliant career path. The pictures and comments made me feel like I was a part of your ordination. I can`t wait to drop in to St. John the Evangelist in Winthrop someday and witness your mass.

  24. Father Kennedy:

    Congratulations on your ordination! The pictures you provided bring a smile to my face as you humbly answered God’s call. My advice to my brother when he was ordained was to loosen up, and he did as he grew comfortable with the weight of his pastoral responsibilities; I suspect the same will happen for you. I would say you’re going to be a great priest, but judging from your account of the past six weeks, you already are. Even though I’m not part of the Boston Archdiocese, thank you for serving us, Father.

  25. Tosnú maith leath na hobre. (A good start halves the work.)
    Is maith an obair a thug Dia duith agus bhain taineamh as. Déin ghuí ar mo shon agus ar son na gaolta go léir. (God gave you great work, enjoy it. Pray for me and pray for all the family,) particularly the old folks!!

  26. Father Dan, we were so pleased to have been able to electronically witness your ordination. The parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Parish are truely blessed to have you with them. How proud your whole family is to know that you have realized your dream and that their “Dan” will now help us all to know our God in a more personal manner.

  27. Dear Fr. Dan:

    With all of the people of the Archdiocese of Boston and the Church at large, I give thanks to our Lord for your vocation to the priesthood and offer you and those ordained with you my assurances of prayers for many years of fruitful service. Though you are a priest now, I encourage you and pray for you with words similar to what you received every Sunday before proclaiming the Gospel as a transitional deacon; namely that the Lord conitnue to be in your heart and on your lips so that you may worthily teach, lead and minister in conformity to His Gospel.

  28. Fr. Dan,
    Your most eloquent expression of humility and thankfullness as you enter your priesthood speaks volumes to all of the power of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    May your future be as blessed as those who have you as a priest and a friend will always be. Blessings to you and your fellow priests.

  29. Dear Fr. Kennedy, Thank You for saying, “yes” to Jesus. The pictures of your ordination brought tears to my eyes and I was filled with emotion, as usual,
    at the ordination of a new priest. You are now God’s gift to us. Each day of my life you will be include in my daily prayers. Tomorrow, Rev. Mr. Deacon Jay Mello will be ordained a Priest at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral in the Fall River Diocese. Will You join us in prayer for him? May you be filled with the love of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, forever growing in holiness through the ministry of the priestly life in which God has led you.
    God Bless You,
    Rose Marie Benoit

  30. congratulations Father Dan !!!! you have done a wonderful job of showing the beauty of your ordination. Nothing will compare to the excitement of being there but the pictures and the accounting are truly a wonderful reminder of a wonderful day filled with such high expectations of a beautiful future. God is good to have chosen you!!

  31. Congratulations, Father Daniel! It does my heart good to see vocations to the Priesthood and religious life realized. I pray for you and all vocations every day!

    God Bless you in your ministry!


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July 2007