Father Peter James Kenney
Father Peter James Kenney
Josephite Father Peter James Kenney, a priest of the Society of St. Joseph for almost 57 years and the former pastor at two Washington parishes, died Easter Sunday, March 31, at St. Joseph Manor in Baltimore. He was 92.

Father Kenney, was born Aug. 4, 1920 in Cambridge, Mass. He was confirmed by the future Cardinal Francis Spellman, and on June 12, 1946, and was ordained a priest of the Society of St. Joseph by Amleto Cicognani, then-apostolic delegate to the United States and a future Cardinal.

Father Kenney was educated in the Cambridge Public School system and completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph Seminary in Washingto. He earned a master's degree in sociology by1949 at the Catholic University of America, and persued graduate studies at the University of North Carolina.

After briefly serving in New Orleans, Father Kenny decided to embark on a missionary career and never returned to graduate work.

From 1955 to 1966, he served as a sociology professor at St Joseph Seminary. While there, he opened a carpenter shop to teach carpentry to seminarians. He also organized civil rights seminars with noted national speakers.

In 1966, he served on the Archbishop's Pastoral Council, and the Archbishop's Pastoral Commission, and in1968 he was on the archdiocesan pastoral council and the archdiocesan school board. In 1970 he chaired the Committee on Urban Schools for the archdiocesan Board of Education.

In the 1970s, he served as pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Southeast Washington, and oversaw the construction of the parish's Panorama Room, a new church building and a school addition.

In 1978 he received a community service award from the Office of Black Catholics.

He had many interests, talents and skills. Early on, in New Orleans, with surplus WW2 material, he and his parishioners renovated and added to military barracks to build the entire parish plant of St. Philip Church there. He also taught sociology classes at Loyola University to earn funds for the parish.

Over the years he served in Louisiana, Mississippi and the Bahamas. He returned to Washington in 1989 to serve at St Vincent de Paul Parish in Southeast.

His interests included traveling, visiting Europe, South and Central America and the Holy Land.

In later years, Father Kenney served as historian for the Josephites and as an associate editor of the Josephite Harvest and editor of the Josephite News and Views, a society newsletter.

For the Josephites, he was an important part of several committees and society governance. He was on the Josephite Committee on Integration and the Advisory Board to the Josephite Pastoral Center.

Father Kenney is survived by many nieces and nephews and their children. A Mass of Christian Burial was offered April 8 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. Interment was in Mt Oliver Cemetery in Washington.