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A grieving family turns to one of its own for solace

By Tom Farragher, Globe Staff, 07/23/99

As they waited, prayed, and bade goodbye to John F. Kennedy Jr., his extended family has received spiritual consolation from one of their own - the Rev. Michael Kennedy, a distant cousin from Ireland.

Father Kennedy, who celebrated the funeral Mass for his namesake last winter after the 39-year-old son of Robert F. Kennedy was killed in a Colorado skiing accident, was in Hyannis Port for last weekend's scheduled marriage of Rory Kennedy.

''He's got a great sense of humor and has this great stentorian preaching voice,'' said a Kennedy family friend. ''He's very much a country priest, and that's part of his charm. He's been a very comforting presence during this time of mourning.''

The parish priest in Dungarvan, a town of 5,700 in Ireland's Waterford County, led the final prayers at Rose Kennedy's bedside before her death in 1995. He has also officiated at at least two Kennedy weddings.

When JFK Jr.'s plane disappeared into the Atlantic Ocean, Father Kennedy celebrated several Masses at the family compound in Hyannis Port.

The priest created a furor in 1995 when he said from his church pulpit that a revenge-seeking woman spread the virus that carries AIDS to as many as 80 men in his rural parish. Irish health officials could find no proof of Kennedy's assertion.


This story ran on page A14 of the Boston Globe on 07/23/99.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.


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