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Give Me Five: Five Questions for a Vincentian – July 2020

A monthly series in Vincentian Voices where we ask five random questions to an Eastern Province Priest or Brother. This month, we talk with Fr. Tom McKenna, CM, who in May celebrated 50 years as a priest. Now serving as Assistant Provincial of the Eastern Province, the occasion of his five-decades of priestly ministry seemed like a good time to ask him a few questions.

What was your favorite course or subject in seminary and why?

Systematics, taught by Fr. Joe McClain. At first, it wasn’t easy to follow since Fr. McClain could seem to wander off in different directions. But once I began to do more background reading, notably of Karl Rahner in his Theological Investigations, the topics he was treating came into better focus and caught my imagination.

2.Besides connecting with family and friends, what do you like to do in your free time?

Topping the list is outdoor exercise, in all weathers. Reading, especially about historical figures and also themes in spirituality, comes next. A third is writing in preparation for preaching.

Living in today’s digital world of constant information and immediate connection, how can the Gospel message break through all of the noise?

The approach I think works best is imaginatively interweaving that message with a person’s life experience. Done well, each begins to interpret the other and the conversation opens onto a deeper mutual appreciation.

If you could ask Saint Vincent de Paul one question, what is the question and why?

When, where and how did you get “the fire in your belly” for doing so much for so long for God’s poor ones?

What movie have you seen the most times? Please explain.

The Wizard of Oz. I think it’s because of how both the plot and the staging take me from a drab and mostly joyless world into a wondrous one filled not only with sun and sparkling color, but with characters that fascinate and give off encouragement and hope. The movie keeps taking me through and over the rainbow!

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