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Fr. Richard Kehoe – I Have a Cousin…

His confreres would often kid about how Dick turned every conversation to recollections about some family member. He taught more than half the province in his 29 years on the faculty of our major seminary. (He is the last of my professors.) At his wake, we finally got to meet a great many of them. The words “We feel like we knew you” was on the lips or in the heart of more than one confrere.

He delivered one of his vintage homilies in our Miraculous Medal Shrine eight years ago. His topic was Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It provided another occasion for Dick to introduce his family, this time to large congregations. He mentioned he has 19 nieces and nephews, one brother Kevin and three married sisters and a very devoted sister-in-law Mary Ellen. (Mary Ellen regrettably was not able to be here today. We know Dick cherished his visits at her home.). Dick always looked forward to spending time with family members.

During his homily Fr. Sacks highlighted some key facts of his life.

He taught church history, petrology and liturgy at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton PA. Late in his academic career he prepared himself to teach homiletics to us seminarians by pursuing additional degrees at Temple University in rhetoric and communications. He helped to introduce the vision of Vatican Council II into our theological formation.

The Diocese of Allentown owes him a great deal. Dick was instrumental in leading their clergy and people to implement Vatican II especially with its emphasis on liturgical renewal and the important place of the homily. He always valued his Vincentian call to preach the Gospel.

His commitment to sharing God’s word led Fr. Dick to volunteer for our Vincentian world mission in Tanzania. When sickness forced him to return home, he continued preaching effectively as a retreat master at St. Lazare in Spring Lake, MI and later in many parish missions in rural areas. In Fr. Dick we experienced a confrere very committed to all his Vincentian assignments. God blessed us as a Community by providing such an example of Vincentian zeal.

For the past ten months, Fr. Dick has witnessed to this call from the Lord. God asked him to carry a heavy cross every day; he was no longer in charge of his own life. It was a heavy burden. On a daily basis he was required to suffer with Christ.

Our merciful God has reunited Fr. Dick with his loved ones in heaven: his father Richard and mother Florence, his beloved sisters Ann, Florence and Sheila, his brother Kevin, his entire extended family. Their next family Christmas celebration will take place in heaven, and it will be the best one ever.

We ask God to help us imitate our brother. Lord, help us to love one another. Bless our family members and confreres living and deceased. Give us the strength to serve others with zeal and fidelity. Empower us to endure suffering with you Son for the salvation of the world!

Let the Church say AMEN!

However, we will also let him have the last word via his autobiography written when he was 72 – vincentiansusa.org/reflections/richard-kehoe-cm-in-his-own-words/.

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