Father McKenna, founding Principal, died peacefully

Memorial Mass for Reverend Kevin McKenna, S.J

Father McKenna in 1962 was the founding principal of Gonzaga High School and continued for nine years. In 1974, he returned to St. John’s to work for the Catholic Education Committee of Newfoundland. From 1986 he did pastoral ministry at Memorial University, St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, various parishes and at St. Patrick’s Parish for 13 years. Father McKenna died March 22nd, 2014 at the Jesuit Infirmary in Pickering, Ontario.

A Memorial Mass will be held on Monday, March 31, 2014 at 7:30 pm at St. Pius X Church, Smithville Crescent.

May 4, 1921 – March 22, 2014
Father James Kevin McKenna died peacefully on March 22nd 2014 at René Goupil House, Pickering, Ontario.

He was in his 93rd year and in the Society of Jesus for 71 years. Kevin was born in Quebec City, in 1921 on May 4th, the son of Henry W. McKenna (Harry) and Mary Wickham (Polly). Kevin attended high school at St. Patrick’s in Quebec City, and then three years at Loyola College, Montreal. He entered the Jesuits at Guelph in 1942 for his novitiate, and followed the usual juniorate and philosophy programs. Regency took place at Saint Mary’s University High School in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he taught French, Latin and English and was the assistant prefect of discipline. He would serve in these ways in a number of schools in the years to come. He began the study of theology in Toronto in 1951 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1954.

Kevin did tertianship in 1955 at Paray-le-Monial in France and then began his long apostolate of high school education after a year of studies in education at the University of Toronto. Kevin went in 1962 to St. John’s, Newfoundland to become prefect of discipline and studies at the newly-established Gonzaga High School. After nine years he went west to Winnipeg to become principal of St. Paul’s High School, and two years later to teach a year at Brebeuf College School in Toronto. Kevin returned to St. John’s in 1974 to work in directorial posts of the Catholic Education Committee of Newfoundland.

Starting in 1986 he did pastoral ministry at Memorial University, St. Patrick’s Home and in various parishes on the Avalon Peninsula, Ferryland, Cape Broyle and Outer Cove. He served in St. Patrick’s Parish for 13 years. Increasing difficulty in walking brought about a move to St. Patrick’s Home and then a final moved in January, 2010 to the Jesuit Infirmary at Pickering, joining his two cousins, Emmett McKenna and John Wickham in the ministry of prayer. They are both deceased.

He was well appreciated in education and church circles particularly in Newfoundland. Among his Jesuit companions he was respected for his intelligence and pastoral care.

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