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Bishop Kennedy celebrates 50 years of priestly service


Bishop Arthur Kennedy delivers his homily at the Mass to celebrate the anniversary of his priestly ordination Dec. 19 at the Pastoral Center. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

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At St. Peter's Basilica on Dec. 17, 1966 Arthur Leo Kennedy was ordained a priest for service in the Archdiocese of Boston by the rector of the Pontifical North American College, Bishop Francis A. Reh. Bishop Kennedy celebrated the 50th anniversary of that happy day with the staff of the Pastoral Center in Bethany Chapel on Dec. 19; Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley was the principal celebrant of the Mass and a light reception followed in the center's dining room.

The Boston native and son of Holy Name Parish in West Roxbury and alumnus of Boston Latin School and St. John's Seminary returned, following ordination, to the archdiocese as an assistant at St. Monica Parish in Methuen. In 1974 he was named an assistant at St. Joseph Parish in East Boston. During his time in parish life, he also studied theology at Boston University from which he received a doctorate in 1978.

During the next 33 years he was "on the road"; principally teaching at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.; but also at the Angelicum University in Rome; and served for five years at the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.

On July 1, 2007 he was named rector of St. John's Seminary, Brighton. Pope Benedict XVI named him an auxiliary of the archdiocese on June 30, 2010 and Cardinal O'Malley ordained him a bishop on Sept. 14, 2010 at Holy Cross Cathedral. He remained rector at St. John's until he was named to his present post as episcopal vicar for Evangelization of the archdiocese.

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