William John Kenny
|William John Kenny|
|Born||January 12, 1853|
|Died||October 24, 1913(aged 60)|
William Kenny was born in Delhi, New York, to John and Ann (née McDonough) Kenny. His youth was spent in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in newspaper work, and, when he had saved sufficient money to defray the expenses of his seminary education, he returned to New York and entered St. Bonaventure University near Olean. On January 15, 1879, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John Moore for the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. After a short residence in Jacksonville, he was given charge of the mission in Palatka, where he remained for three years. In June 1884, Kenny was named pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville. During his tenure as pastor, he became active in civic organizations and community service associations, and led relief efforts during the yellow fever outbreaks and Great Fire of 1901. He also became vicar general of the diocese in 1889.
On March 25, 1902, Kenny was appointed the third Bishop of St. Augustine by Pope Leo XIII. He was the diocese's first bishop born in the United States. He received his episcopal consecration on May 18, 1902 from Cardinal James Gibbons, with Bishops Benjamin Joseph Keiley and Leo Michael Haid, O.S.B., serving as co-consecrators, in the Cathedral of St. Augustine. During his tenure as bishop, Kenny increased the recruitment of Irish priests and nuns, reorganized diocesan offices, expanded missionary efforts to Florida's interior and smaller towns, and more than doubled diocesan fundraising. He also established the first Catholic parish for African Americans in the state.
On his way to attend the American Missionary Congress at Boston, Massachusetts, in October 1913, Kenny fell ill at Baltimore, Maryland, while visiting St. Mary's Seminary. He was removed to a hospital and there died at age 60.
|Bishop of St. Augustine
Michael Joseph Curley