Father Kennedy



                Who in Danbury had an independent military company named after him?

Who was the first pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Danbury?

Who were the celebrant and preacher at the opening mass of the 1894 State A.  O. H. Convention held in Danbury?

Who served as both State Chaplain and State President of the A. O. H. in Connecticut?

Who served on the Danbury Board of Education and was also a Director of the Board of Danbury Hospital?

Who ran for National President of the A. O. H. and lost by a narrow margin at the National Convention of 1904 that was held in St. Louis?

Who was selected as National Chaplain of A.  O. H. in 1906 and was elected a National Director of the A. O. H. in 1908?

Who was given a Doctorate Degree by Niagara University in 1909 for his successful efforts in mediating a labor dispute in the hatting industry?

Whose untimely death at age 46 in the year 1911 caused universal sorrow among the citizens of the Danbury area?

Whose funeral was described as the largest in living memory in the Danbury area and brought business and hat manufacturing to a halt in honor of his memory?

Whose name is still perpetuated by the Fourth Degree K. of C. Assembly in Danbury, which is named after him?

If you answered any of the previous questions with the name of Father John D. Kennedy you would be correct.  He was truly a “man for all seasons” and perhaps the greatest Irishman ever to have lived in Danbury. He was not a native of Danbury. Father Kennedy was born, of Irish parents in New Haven in the year 1864 and was ordained a priest in 1889 at Boston. Except for one year in Newtown and five years in New Haven, Father Kennedy spent most of his career at St. Peter and St. Joseph’s in Danbury.

In the obituary of Father Kennedy it was stated…”there has come to the people of this city, irrespective of creed or church affiliation, a common sorrow, for Father Kennedy was loved and honored in Danbury as few other men have been.” In 1908 Father Kennedy preached the sermon at the Mass, which began the National A. O. H. Convention, held in Indianapolis.  His closing words illustrate why he was a great Hibernian and a great American.

…”May the example of the noble and virtuous lives, and the memory of the heroic sacrifices always live, to encourage us to renewed efforts for the greater glory of God and the welfare of the dear little isle across the sea.  And while cherishing a fond affection for that dear little island, let no one say that we forget for a moment the proud allegiance we owe this Republic of ours; undivided allegiance to the one does not exclude love for the other—the King does not resent the tokens of affection given by a loyal subject to a fond mother, neither does this glorious Republic take exception to the affection living in the hearts of Irishmen for the land of their birth.  Our hearts are big enough and broad enough to love and cherish both and to offer up daily prayers to the Throne of Divine Grace our earnest prayers and supplications for the one and the other.  We yield to none in the intensity of our love and devotion to our country.  This has ever been the attitude and feeling of the Irishman in America, thus preserving the love all true men feel for the land of their birth or the home of their fathers, while proudly and loyally marching along the path of American citizenship, true sons of an honored mother—dear old Erin.  Devoted champions of the honor and glory of this Republic, patriotic American citizens.  Amen.”