Father Donald Kenny, former pastor of St. Mary of Gostyn Catholic Parish in Downers Grove, is returning to St. Mary’s in July for a four-evening series on Jesus in the Gospels. The lifelong learner and enthusiastic octogenarian continues to serve in active ministry in spite of health challenges. Long-time parishioners recall his Bible studies presented with energy, humor, and pastoral insight.
A Southside Chicago native, Fr. Don first taught high school students as a Christian Brother. He has served in the Joliet Diocese since his ordination in 1966; in addition to St. Mary’s (from 1982-1994), he is former pastor of St. Andrew (Romeoville) and St. Thomas the Apostle parishes (Naperville). Nearing retirement, he felt a strong call to mission. He learned Spanish and relocated in 2002 to a neglected area of Quito, Ecuador. With the collaboration of local leaders and supporters in the Chicago area, he established the Quito Barrio Outreach which has developed several initiatives to bring services and dignity to those who live in his community: a soup kitchen, a day care center, a medical clinic, and adult education.
In a recent letter to supporters, Fr. Don says, “I will be sharing what I have learned in Quito about the faith from these simple, uneducated people. That is: how to subtract, how to push stuff --philosophy, psychology, theology--aside and just focus on Jesus. That's the faith for me now: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Each night the talks will focus on one of the Gospels: Monday on Mark; Tuesday on Matthew; Wednesday on Luke, and Thursday on John. I will be sharing where I am now, after 12 years here, and hoping you can come closer to Jesus.”
The program will take place on July 7-10, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Gathering Place (lower level of the church building), at the corner of Prairie Ave. and Douglas Rd., Downers Grove. Attendees are reminded to bring a Bible. A free-will offering will benefit Quito Barrio Outreach. Light refreshments will be served.