Fr. Greg Kennedy, S.J.
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Greg Kennedy entered the Jesuits in 2006 and was ordained a Catholic priest in 2015. Before this religious turn, he com-pleted a PhD in philosophy, with an emphasis on ecology. He began writing poetry in high school and Reupholstered Psalms is his first published collection.
At several points in his Jesuit life, Greg has been able to engage in prison ministry. First outside of Kingston, Jamaica in 2007, where he accompanied volunteers weekly to visit inmates on a prison farm. Later, he joined the Quaker team for weekly visits to Toronto West Detention Centre. The team led brief Quaker-style meditations, followed by open conversations about topical issues. After returning from two years of study in Colombia, South America, Greg has served as a spiritual director and farm laborer at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. Due to the sizable distance between Guelph and the nearest prison, Greg has not been able to minister to incarcerated populations lately. However, due to Covid19, the retreat house where he works is about to become the residence for approximately 40 homeless people, some of whom are recovering from addiction & trauma. Greg looks forward to serving the residents in whatever ways he can.
Mercy, O God, bring it on!
Supersize your compassion
and spring me from this dead-end
job above the scalding fat
of my soul that fries greasy
everything that enters.
I'm wise to my lies.
My dirt is too much on my mind.
I've put the boots to you
in the groin, Lord, in the groin,
and when I thought I had you down
I kept on kicking
sick to death of my own brutality.
I've been running with the wrong crowd
since the night I was sparked in my
just me and my shadow
who tries to throw me
as much as I cast it.
Hose me off, and I'll take a shining
to your light
Weld up my busted bones
with blinding arcs of your cosmic torch.
Swab my deck
like a strong, happy sailor.
Create in me a clean heart, O Lord,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Don't show me the door
or lay off your spirit.
Get a good return on
your saving power and reinvest it in me.
Then I'll stick my neck out
amidst a crowd calcified
by years of slow-boil apathy.
Shrink my heavy hoof
and my foot will print the earth more
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth shall laugh like a child
with sound attachments to a secure love
that promotes healthy risks.
You prefer the peel of bells
to loud handwringing.
Guilt is a pretty lousy show
A humble, cooperative heart,
a soul skilled in sharing,
these, O God, are a few of your favorite
Scale back the extremities of weather.
Help us keep the carbon in the ground.
Then you will delight in our liturgies,
our Sunday best when the rest
of the week takes time
to dress a little finer.
A reading by Greg