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Fr. Anselm Kennedy, OFM


Fr. Anselm Kennedy, OFM, was born in Maple Ridge, N.Y., a few miles from St. Stephen’s Friary in Croghan, on Oct. 22, 1863.

From the friars’ small Latin school in Croghan, he entered the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, NJ, in 1881 and professed temporary vows the following year. In 1886, Fr. Anselm made solemn vows and was ordained a priest in 1888 in Newark, N.J. The zealous young priest plunged into the pastoral ministry, first at Paterson, and then in Croghan, Denver, and Butler, NJ.

In 1902, Fr. Anselm was named pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Buffalo, N.Y., where his energetic leadership revitalized the parish. The Provincial Chapter of 1910 elected Anselm to be the second Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province, and he served until 1916.

Fr. Anselm oversaw the move of the Provincialate in 1910 from Paterson, N.J., to St. Francis Friary on West 31st Street in New York City. During his first term, he accepted the care of two new parishes, in Garfield and East Rutherford, NJ. During his second term, he initiated the building of St. Anthony’s Friary in Butler, N.J.

After three more years in Buffalo (1916-1919), the last decade of Fr. Anselm’s life was dedicated to the spiritual and material growth of St. Francis Church in New York City, where he was the pastor. He instituted a large number of daily Masses and initiated the practice of the friars’ hearing confessions every day, throughout the day. These attempts to provide services at convenient hours made the “little church among the skyscrapers” known and loved by many New Yorkers. He was highly praised for the “Great Mosaic” which he had designed and executed in the upper church of St. Francis.

Worn out by his labors, Fr. Anselm died in St. Francis Hospital in the Bronx on June 12, 1929. He was 65 years old, a professed friar for 46 years and a priest for 41 years.