God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Teach Us To Pray


Uncle George wrote this about 32 years ago.  It’s a fitting entry for today – the 31st Anniversary of the establishment of the Chicago Midway Airport Chapel on July 24, 1988.  The unmentioned priest in this story is Monsignor John Hayes.  Uncle George picked good heroes to emulate.  As you read this story, those of us who loved Fr. McKenna, could argue that the sentiments he had for Monsignor Hayes are the same we still hold in our hearts for him: #1 hero, he possessed a spirit of peace and kindness, he is the inspiration of a lifetime, and I thank him every day for his influence on my life.
God’s Peace to all.  Joe.

A young Seminarian

One late afternoon, some 54 years ago, as a 1st year student, I went into the magnificent Gothic Style Chapel of Quigley Seminary on the North Side.  In the semi-darkness of twilight, a young priest, then a member of the Seminary Faculty, knelt in prayer, his head bent down.  Seeing him praying so quietly and peacefully, made me think . . . “This is a good idea, to talk with God and bring some of His Goodness into my life.  I want that young priest’s peace.”

The next year, In 2nd year, this same priest, whose name I withhold because he is still living and active in Chicago at 80 years of age, entered our classroom to teach us Latin.  This closeness to him on a daily basis increased my admiration for him and helped me to set him up as my #1 hero in my 5 years at Quigley.

Everything he did in the classroom possessed that spirit of peace and kindness, which undoubtedly, came from his practice of prayer and union with God.  Nothing ruffled his daily life with us, oftentimes rough and unthinking youngsters.  The passing years have not lessened my reverence for him.  He still remains my #1 hero, the inspiration of a lifetime.

The spirit of prayer which Jesus constantly practiced made Him an appealing person to His followers.  All the actions of Christ possessed those qualities of peace, fearlessness and gentleness.  Seeing his style of life, His friends begged Him to teach them how to pray.  Rightfully so, they concluded that prayer gave Him that special calmness and courage in the face of suffering.

Like the Apostles, beg the Lord for this spirit of prayer.  Above all the gifts of life, the possession of tranquility and inner harmony ranks first.  A faithful follower of Christ, in admiration of His life, can raise up one’s heart joyfully in short aspirations.  Nothing will bring a person peace more quickly than a willingness to share one’s fears, doubts, and happenings of the day with the Lord.

Prayer engenders a courageous spirit in the personality of the one who prays.  People will begin to ask, “How do you make it possible to act they way you do?”

When I meet my former Latin teacher of yesteryear, I tell him thanks for his influence on my life.  He quietly smiles.

Fr. George McKenna

July 24, 2019 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. So beautiful! I remember Fr. McKenna so long ago at St. Barnabas in the 70s. He was good to my mother, the first divorcee in the Parish. He treated her with dignity and compassion. We were the first broken family in that school. How times have changed! He made a way for her to continue sending us four kids to the school, as she couldn’t afford it any longer. I would read her his blog towards the end of her life, she passed away two years ago. I even called him at his retirement home and told him how much she appreciated all he had done for her! I was going to bring her there to visit him, she was excited, but her health continued to decline. Yes, I believe the secret to the Spirit filled life is communion with God in prayer. An honest look at ourselves as sinners with no way to pay for our redemption, a thankfulness for all His payment and redemption of our souls on that cross, and a life of gratitude for all He is and all He has done. Praise be to God!

    Blessings to you Joe, his nephew, God bless, Kathleen Martin

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Comment by Kathleen Martin | July 24, 2019 | Reply

  2. ❤️🙏 What a beautiful message, but I would expect no less. God bless you Joe, God bless Father

    Comment by Pattie Melton | July 24, 2019 | Reply

  3. I remember getting the call from excited Fr. McKenna saying he finally had permission to say Mass at Midway. I asked if he needed anything to get started. Like What? Bells? He laughed but said he needed something to say the Mass on, so I offered a card table. When I told hubby, he gave me “the look” and said he would build an altar. He measured the height of an altar, then the width of Fr’s car. The altar was collapsible. We had to carry everything except chairs to the airport on Saturday and return everything on Sunday. Hubby designed and built a cart that carried everything, even a sound system. It literally was a Mass on Wheels. At first we were in Midway Airline’s Executive Club. When they went out of business, we found ourselves going to whatever Gate was available that day. For a while we had the planes right outside the window (Gate B-14). Fr. McKenna was very instrumental in securing a permanent place of worship when the new airport was built. That new Chapel meant the collapsible altar and Mass on Wheels was no longer needed, but Marist High School, Chicago, asked if they could have it. It is still in use.

    Comment by Gerry Ryan | July 24, 2019 | Reply

    • Gerry, thanks for all that background. Fr. Mckenna’s chapel volunteers were the best. It’s good to know that altar is still in use, our family has strong ties to Marist!

      Comment by Fr. George McKenna | July 25, 2019 | Reply

  4. Such a beautiful holy priest. I always loved spending time with Fr. McKenna, especially listening to his stories. Thank you for continuing to share his messsges.

    Comment by Cindy | July 24, 2019 | Reply

  5. Such a beautiful holy priest. I always loved spending time with Fr. McKenna, especially listening to his stories. Thank you for continuing to share his messages. God Bless

    Comment by Cindy | July 24, 2019 | Reply

  6. I also like your comments, Joe.

    Comment by Kathryn Mikel | August 1, 2019 | Reply

  7. Thanks for keeping your Uncle ‘s writings where so many people can read and enjoy them. He was a FANTASTIC person. He was my Spiritual Director and Algebra
    Teacher when I was at Quigley many years ago. I think about him often. As you
    go thru life there are some people in your life that you never forget.
    Father George McKenna is one of those for me.
    Jack Farrell

    Comment by John Farrell | August 31, 2019 | Reply

    • Jack,
      Thank you. We love to hear from Uncle George’s students – always such great stories and memories. He was a wonderful person and I know he is still with us today! Joe.

      Comment by Fr. George McKenna | September 20, 2019 | Reply


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