God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Life In The Priesthood 1944 – 2013


OrdinationBlessingSt. RichardUnc GeorGeo and FrankOn May 6, 1944, Cardinal Samuel Stritch conferred the gift of Priesthood on our class of 25 young men. We took on the solemn vows of celibacy and obedience to our Bishop, along with the duty to say our Breviary daily (45 Minutes of prayers). Three Priests from our class are still alive as of this writing. All of our deceased classmates died faithful to their Priesthood to the end.

My first appointment sent me to Maryville Academy, operated by Catholic Charities – a home for 850 children. Conditions at home kept them at Maryville all year round. The staff consisted of 60 Montreal Nuns and five Priests. Schooling went from kindergarten to four years of high school. I spent five hectic years there. Work days were 15 hours long and my salary was $50.00 a month, with one day off a week. On the front lawn our supervisor, Monsignor Mulcahey, had built a life size replica of the Grotto of Lourdes, with little Bernadette always kneeling there in silent prayer. In later years, this became my favorite Marian Shrine, inspiring me to visit Lourdes, France 15 times.

In 1949, my journey took me to Quigley Prep Seminary in Chicago, a day school, to teach 1st year youngers aspiring for the Priesthood. For 19 years, while living in 4 different parishes, I was the Spiritual Director for freshman boys. Sixty priests took care of the 1,000 enrollment of students in the 5 year course. The goodness of these youngsters inspired me to reach for the highest ideals in my priesthood.

In 1959, four of us priests took an 8-week journey to visit fifteen countries in Europe – my first ever visit abroad. Jerusalem captured my heart and I went there 27 times over the years. After 19 years, I left Quigley with mixed emotions and served as a Parish Priest, several times as a Pastor, until 1988.

When I reached the retirement age of 70, my experience with prayer in Major Seminary had convinced me of the necessity of being a man of prayer. After the Sacrifice of the Mass and saying my Breviary, I try to spend as much time as I can praying before the Blessed Sacrament on a daily basis. After retiring, to keep busy, I founded a Chapel – the first of its kind – in Chicago’s Midway Airport. For the next 23 years (1988 – 2011) I offered Mass and Confession to Midway’s thousands of travelers. These were the best and happiest years of my Priesthood. Poor vision made me conclude this work at age 91.

My Blog, God Is Good, now occupies my time. Each Saturday we put a new spiritual message on the Blog. In less than 2 years, people in 97 countries have viewed my Blog – we have surpassed 10,100 views and we now have over 150 followers via WordPress and Facebook through their emails! God Is Good! I have no fear of death. While you are visiting the Blog, please take time to look at all my Archived messages. They are there for your reading pleasure!
Fr. George Mc Kenna

May 4, 2013 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , ,

14 Comments »

  1. Congratulation!!  Our prayers are with you. Love your writing. God bless you !  

    Comment by Kathleen Fitzgerald | May 4, 2013 | Reply

  2. Father McKenna, thank you for your great years at Quigley. I was there 1955 to 1958 – best time of my life – GREAT school. You have such a full life, I am happy for you. I enjoy reading your blog every week and rereading your book. God Bless You!
    Dave

    Comment by Dave Grayson | May 4, 2013 | Reply

    • We are always amazed at the stories of Fr. McKenna’s former students. Thank you for sharing. It is a testament to his dedication to Christ and his life as a priest. So many come foreward to share how he has touched their lives in a positive way. – Father McKenna’s family,.

      Comment by Anonymous | May 4, 2013 | Reply

  3. Truly a saint walks the earth filled in your shoes dear Father! Thank you for your years of love and service to God. We have all been blessed by knowing you! Congratulations and God’s continued blessings!

    Comment by Francine Anderson | May 5, 2013 | Reply

  4. Best Wishes Father McKenna. Of all the priests I have known in my life, you stand out as one of the greatest.

    Comment by Jim Brooks | May 5, 2013 | Reply

  5. Father You are a blessing to all of us! I really enjoy reading your post every week ~ Thank You for your life of service!!! God bless you, Beth Doyle

    Comment by Beth Doyle | May 5, 2013 | Reply

  6. Thank you for your many years of faithful ministry. Graduated from South in ’71. Great years, great memories. Thank you for being an important part of an excellent faculty.

    Comment by Anonymous | May 6, 2013 | Reply

  7. Congratulations and God bless you, Father McKenna. Coincidentally it’s my wedding anniversary today but I am only half way to your milestone. But I will always think of you as I celebrate on this day and remember the profound impact you have had on my life from my Quigley years continuing to this day. God IS good!

    Comment by Larry Kean, QPSS 70 | May 6, 2013 | Reply

  8. Our best wishes to you, Father McKenna, we remember you so well from your service to the people of the St. Barnabas community. We have enjoyed reading your books, and also re-reading them. You are a true inspiration to all who know you. God bless you, may you continue to enjoy all of God’s blessings.

    Bill and Julia Dargan
    Pompano Beach, FL

    Comment by Anonymous | May 6, 2013 | Reply

  9. he told the best vampier stories as a yellowjacket at st marys tr.school ed. mc eligott

    Comment by Anonymous | May 6, 2013 | Reply

  10. Congratulations– I graduated from QPS in 1967 and one of my most surprising moments was when I first walked thru the door in September 1963 you greeted me at the door knowing my name and which parish I was from. I learned later that as our freshman spiritual director you had memorized the entire freshman class from their application photos. You really made me feel at home– thanks I also remember that in the games where the faculty played the Chicago Bears, you had a great outside set-shot.

    Greg Strobel
    Orland Park, Illinois

    Comment by Greg Strobel | May 7, 2013 | Reply

  11. Hi Fr. George! What a great page – your entire history as a priest for 69 years, complete with pictures! This is priceless! As are you – what a great legacy – imagine ALL of those people that you have touched over your 69 years as a priest – I’m sure it is immeasurable! I know, from my own experience, seeing you offer mass twice at Midway Airport Chapel, hearing your wonderful homilies, and then reading your book, Wisdom and Humor from the Pulpit – has literally changed my life and returned me to my wonderful Catholic faith. You are responsible for my eternal salvation. You are truly a gift from God! Please know that I am praying for you every day. You are never far from me in thought, my friend. I love you, Happy 69th anniversary of being a priest! Love, Nancy

    Comment by nancywest22 | May 9, 2013 | Reply

  12. Hi Father George! It’s your friend Mary Johnson from the Midway Chapel Airport (living in KY). Congratulations on such a blessed life in the priesthood! I count you as an important part of my spiritual growth and will forever think of you at advent and remember your 3 min homily on putting a dumpster outside the door to your heart!
    I left the bank in June of 2010 and have returned to school to become a Registered Dietician. I leave for Seattle where I’ll attend grad school for the next couple of years…it is a scientifically based mind/body/spirit approach to nutrition. I couldn’t be more excited. This transition started with a Lenton season where I gave up fear (and instead focused on trusting God). It was the most powerful experience!
    I have your blog bookmarked and enjoy visiting it and have shared it with others! I am going to try to blog about my experience…I need to study lots so hopefully I’ll have time! My blog address is http://www.marymary4healingfood.blogspot.com/?view=timeslide

    God Bless You, Father!!! Hugs and Love, Mary

    Comment by Mary Johnson | May 15, 2013 | Reply

  13. Fr. Mc Kenna,
    Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary and thank you for the guidance you gave to us freshman. As I recall we had a huge class in 59 in our freshman year. Did you know what was coming that lead you to take that 8 week tour in 59? I thought that was one of the largest classes for a freshman year, and it might have lead me to vacation far away also. Thank you for coming back to help us adjust to our new school. Those were memorable times for me. Though I left after graduating and completing one year at Niles, Quigley had an affect on us who wandered those hallowed halls guided by very dedicated priests.

    May God bless you for the devotion and time you have given to so many of us as a priest of God, but particularly for the freshman of 59.

    Comment by Jim | January 28, 2015 | Reply


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