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.

Psalm 23 - Reupholstered PsalmsGreg Kennedy
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“Psalm 51”

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

mother's womb

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

softly

 

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

of gratitude.

A humble, cooperative heart,

a soul skilled in sharing,

these, O God, are a few of your favorite

things.

 

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.

Reupholstered Psalms.jfif

A reading by Greg

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