Kenny, Rev Eugene ‘Owen’
REV. EUGENE “OWEN” KENNY
October 12, 2013
- Personal Info
- Date of Birth: 17 March 1929
- Place of Birth in Ireland: Ferbane
- County: Offaly
- Education: St Peter’s College, Wexford
- Date of Ordination: 7 June 1953
- Place of Ordination: St Peter’s College, Wexford
- Ordained by: Most Rev. James Staunton, Bishop of Ferns
- Assistant Pastor – St Rose of Lima, Great Bend – 1953 to 1958
- Pastor – St John the Apostle, St John – 1958 to 1964
- Pastor – St Joan of Arc, Elkhart – 1964 to 1969
- Pastor – St Rose, Great Bend – 1969 to 1972
- Pastor – St Mary’s, McCracken – 1972 to 1975
- Pastor – St Bernard’s, Belpre – 1976 to 1989
- Chaplain – Larned State Hospital – 1976 to 1989
- Pastor – St Michael, LaCrosse and St Joseph, Liebenthal – 1989 to 1998
In June 1956, Father Kenny rode in the ambulance carrying Monsignor John Cody to the hospital. The monsignor had just finished an interview on KCKT-TV an hour earlier. When he returned to the rectory, he laid down in his room, called his housekeeper for an aspirin who in turned called for the doctor who immediately called for the transport to the hospital. Upon arrival at the hospital, Msgr Cody, again in great pain, asked for the sacrament of Extreme Unction, Father Kenny returned to the Monsignor with the Blessed Sacrament and the holy oils and in just a few minutes, Msgr Cody was pronounced dead following his anointment.
In 1993, Father Kenny was interviewed by Tim Wenzl, Diocesan Archivist for the Diocese of Dodge City, about Msgr. John Cody’s recruitment visit to St Peter’s College in Wexford and why he decided to emigrate from Ireland to Kansas. Father Kenny shared that “The war wasn’t too long over and we needed a place to go, and Msgr. Cody was the first one who came offering something.” He explained that the seminarians needed to be sponsored by a diocese and if that did not occur, the seminarians might be assigned to “God knows where in the English-speaking world. Msgr. Cody said nothing terribly impressive about the Diocese of Wichita, but he offered us a place to go. After he left, we seminarians had to look up Wichita on a map.”
In talking about the hardships put on the young priests as they immigrated to the United States, Father Kenny said, “The heavy lifting was our personal situation, just being away from home, and family and friends. That was the big challenge to survive and see purpose in coming such a long way. Father Kenny recalled his priesthood as “nothing very spectacular, nothing terribly exciting,” yet he truly enjoyed it. “The essence of the thing is the Mass and the spiritual life and the people and being involved in the happenings of life: the weddings, the baptisms and the funerals. It’s been a happy life, thank God, yes, thank God. I can’t say otherwise. It’s been a struggle along the way, but every life is a struggle.”
After serving the Diocese of Dodge City for 45 years, Father Kenny retired to the Priests’ Retirement Center in Wichita in 1998.
Father Kenny came from a family of four children. The two boys became priests and the two girls became nuns.
- Date of Death: 12 October 2013
- Place of Death: Wichita, Kansas
- Age of Death: 84
- Funeral Celebrant: Most Rev. John B. Brungardt, Bishop of Dodge City
- Burial: Ascension Cemetery, Wichita, Kansas
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