McKenna Inset 219x300How I make Jesus known through my words and actions as a Vincentian Priest.

“First to do then to teach” a Vincentian vision to ministry.

If it were a choice between the words I have used to make Jesus Christ known and my actions to bring that about, I would give a slight edge to words. That is because I have devoted teaching and preaching as the bulk of my half-century of Vincentian ministry.

I began as a religion teacher in an inner-city Philadelphia high school and followed up with some years as an instructor in our theological seminary. After further studies, I returned to seminary education and then served as a theology professor for a decade at St. John’s University. All through those years and the ones after as an administrator, I preached regularly, gave retreats, and wrote articles and a book on Vincentian spirituality.

However, the lens through which I have tried to teach and preach has been an action-oriented one. Influencing my words has been St. Vincent de Paul’s very down-to-earth grasp of Jesus as the One sent into the everyday to bring The Good News to the poor. Leaning toward the practical, I sought to anchor my approach in Vincent’s preference “first to do and then to teach” (the opening sentence of the Common Rules for his priests and brothers), as well as in the lived example of so many in the worldwide Vincentian Family today, who live out his vision.

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