God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

On Growing Up

A Young Student at Quigley Seminary

A Young Student at Quigley Seminary

In 1930, at the age of 11, I was to live out my teenage years during the Great Depression.  In 1933, my schooling for high school began at Quigley Seminary located in the north side of Chicago.  The desire to be a Catholic Priest had taken over my heart.  The school, a day one, offered a 5 year course to prepare seminarians for the Major Seminary.  250 boys from all parts of Chicago showed for those 1st year classes in September 1933.  Twenty-five of them would reach the Priesthood in 1944.  In 1936, my father, at age of 54, suffered an accidental drowning.

In my five years as a Student at Quigley, I never heard an off-color story or vulgar word spoken.  This provided a perfect climate for a youngster to form his life time ideals.  I did my best to attend daily Mass and go to confession every week.

My summer months were spent caddying for golfers at Beverly Country Club.  I met Charlie Walgreen, the founder of the Walgreen Drug dynasty and other prominent men – a rich experience.  The money earned help to keep food on the table in those dark days of the depression.

In 3rd year at Quigley, our Rector, Msgr. Foley, came into class one day and offered us a challenge – to take a pledge to abstain from alcoholic drink forever.  I had seen the terrible effects of alcoholism in the lives of people.  So I eagerly took the pledge.  With God’s help I kept this solemn promise to the present day.  The pledge saved me from many disasters.

In later years, I was to come back to Quigley to teach.  For 19 years I was Spiritual Director for 1st Year boys.  Many of the boys, even if they did not become priests, went on to high positions of trust in society; people like Phil Rock, Ed Burke, Tom Hynes and Jim Houlihan, all prominent men in Chicago politics.  My efforts to form their spiritual lives centered on the words from the Psalm: “Create in me a clean heart and renew in me a spirit of goodness.”

All my teachers at Quigley were priests, many of them trained in Rome at the North American College.  As I look back over my life, I keep saying, “God Is Good”!

Parents, think of telling your Children about taking a pledge to abstain from alcoholic drink, at least until the age of 21!

Fr. George Mc Kenna

March 2, 2013 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , ,


  1. Father McKenna,
    While not a politician, I have also reached a position of trust in my career in business. Your spriritual direction 46 years ago at Quigley South set me along the right path. Your words through your bulletins and your website continue to inspire me today toward a spirit of goodness. God bless you.

    Comment by L Kean | March 3, 2013 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George! SO nice to see your youthful picture! Your blog makes me smile every time I read it. Always filled with good advice and thought-provoking words. I hope that you are doing well. I’m glad that you enjoyed my last letter! I will write again soon! With much love – and praying for you, my dear friend!! Love, Nancy

    Comment by nancy westvang | March 7, 2013 | Reply

  3. Rev. Mc Kenna:
    I cherish every word of your bulletins!
    They are always so uplifting and inspirational —- which helps me to try and stay in a prayerful reverential mood as I pick them up as I leave church in deference to the “…spirituality of Sundays…” so to speak.
    Additionally I often refer back to them for your advice and wisdom.
    Many times over I incorporate them into my journal keeping.
    Hope this finds you well!
    Jennifer Cacciatore

    Comment by Anonymous | March 10, 2013 | Reply

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