God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

He Could Only Speak One Word

Monsignor John Hayes 1906 – 2002

Monsignor John Hayes
1906 – 2002

A blessed happening took place in the month of September, 1934 – seventy nine years ago.  On the first day of school at Quigley Prep Seminary on the North Side, a young priest, Father John Hayes, came into our classroom to teach us fifteen year old boys Second Year Latin.

He not only taught us about Caesar’s Gallic War, but also how to live life in a Christ-like way.  Father John never raised his voice, berated anyone in a demeaning way and best of all, he treated everyone fairly.  In the year before I had noticed this young priest, ordained in 1930, often kneeling in our Seminary Chapel in prayer.

As time went on I found out that he operated a store on his days off to provide clothing for the poor.  In my boyish way of thinking, Father Hayes went into a special status in my heart.  For the last 79 years, he has never left that place in my life.  Boyish intuitions often are right on target.

Some years ago, I heard Father Hayes give a homily at the funeral of his classmate, Father Maurice Foley.  Then, at the age of 85, with still a youthful way about himself, he mentioned how he often visited Father Foley in the last months before his death.  No conversations took place because of the priest’s paralyzed condition.

On day the nurse spoke to Father Hayes.  “Father Foley can speak.  He says this one word over and over again, especially at night.  He cries out, ‘Amen, Amen, Amen’”.  Amen means, “Let it be, let it be.”  Father Foley’s prayer to God was an acceptance of his own suffering.

So once again my hero of 79 years had given me an inspiring thought for a Christ-like way of living.  If my end brings a long period of pain and suffering, I will surely remember this homily of Father Hayes.  It was the only homily I ever heard him give.  I will cry out, “Amen, Amen, Amen.”  “Let it be, let it be!”  All priests agree that Father Hayes was one of the greatest priests in the 20th Century in the Archdiocese of Chicago.


                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

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


  1. Hi Fr. George! Loved this bulletin post to your blog! It is so meaningful – sometimes people say way to much, but here, in one word, Fr. Maurice Foley said all that needed to be said. Truthfully, I was not aware that amen means ‘let it be.’ That is very profound! I will remember it always now. I was so delighted to get a note from you! I will write to you again soon – I enjoy writing to you so very much! You are in my daily prayers and I think of you often! Love you, Fr. George! Have a beautiful day!


    Comment by Nancy Westvang | November 3, 2013 | Reply

  2. There is alot of Father Hayes in your priesthood as well.

    Comment by Mike McKenna | November 3, 2013 | Reply

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