Most Reverend Bishop William J. Kenny, D.D.
Third Bishop of St. Augustine
Rt. Rev. William J. Kenny, a native of New York State was born in Delhi, remaining there until his fourteenth year, when he with his parents move to Scranton, Pa., where as a young boy he entered the employ of a newspaper office. He remained in newspaper work until he was 19 years old, then having saved sufficient money, he entered St. Bonaventure's College at Alleghany, N.Y. During his college course he gave promise of a brilliant future and in his third year received the Degree of B.A., and at graduation, the Honorary Degree of M.A. was conferred on him.
He was ordained a priest by Bishop Moore in the old Cathedral on Jauary 15, 1879. He was stationed in Jacksonville for a short time and then appointed Pastor of the Church In Palatka for three years. In 1884, he was transferred to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville and was made Vicar General of the Diocese under Bishop Moore.
During his Pastorate in Jacksonville, Father Kenny passed through a yellow fever epidemic, where he labored not only for his own flock, but was found by the bedside of all who needed him regardless of creed or race. During the terrible fire of 1901, we again find him zealously working for the good of his fellow citizens and eagerly sought for his clear judgment, charity and courage which endeared him to all. Among the Catholic institutions in the State to which Bishop Kenny was specially devoted was St. Mary's Home. He lavished care and kindness on the little inmates since his first association with the Church in Jacksonville, and gave valuable assistance to the Sisters in charge in the rebuilding of the institution after the big fire in that city that destroyed the block in which the Church, Orphanage and Convent were located.
Bishop Kenny was appointed to be Bishop of Florida after the death of Bishop Moore in 1901, and was consecrated in the Cathedral of St. Augustine where twenty-three years before hew ordained by Bishop Moore to the Holy Priesthood, and while the third Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop Kenny was the first to be consecrated here, and Sunday, May 18, 1902, has been written in imperishable letters in the annals of St. Augustine.
His life of usefulness ended suddenly when death stilled his heart during his visit to Baltimore on October 23, 1913. Burial took place in San Lorenzo Cemetery where he rests beside his predecessor, the late Bishop Moore.
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