Father Andrew Kenny, C.P., St. Paul of the Cross Province (1858-1935)

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Born in Union City, New Jersey on April 4, 1858 he was the son of William Kenny and Winifred McGowan. Father Kenny was the first local vocation to the Passionists from St. Michael’s Monastery in, then West Hoboken. At 15 he left home and went to the Passionist novitiate at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He professed his vows in 1874 and retained his baptismal name- Andrew. First he was sent for theological studies at St. Mary’s Retreat in Dunkirk, New York. The following year, 1875 he was sent to Rome at Scala Sancta for more studies. He was ordained on June 11, 1881 in Rome and in 1891 returned to the United States.

Father Kenny served St. Paul of the Cross Province as a Vice-Master of Novices, Director of Students, a curate in several parishes, and a Vicar in several retreats. At times he was sent out to preach missions.

When there was an influx of Italian immigrants to Union City, New Jersey the province turned to Father Kenny to preach to them in Italian since he had studied in Rome. First Father Kenny approached people by going house to house. For fourteen years he preached to the small group of Italians, each Sunday, in the St. Michael’s Church basement. When a large enough congregation developed he helped raise the money necessary to begin St. Anthony parish and school in Union City.

As the years went on Father Kenny was a confessor at St. Michael’s monastery where he also served the many pilgrims who visited the church. Still he was most generous with his time and talents to the Italians at St. Anthony especially during the financial Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s.