Dan Kennedy, SJ
Province: USA Midwest
Hometown: Toledo, Ohio
Highlights of Jesuit Formation:
- Worked at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska, as a theology faculty member and the director of student activities, overseeing student clubs.
- Volunteered as a telephone crisis worker for Lifeline, the national suicide and crisis hotline.
- Served at Eastern Point Retreat House in Gloucester, Massachusetts, as a spiritual director, accompanying individuals on eight-day Ignatian retreats.
Will serve as special assistant to the president of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy while also working toward a master’s degree in mental health counseling at John Carroll University.
Bachelor’s degree, philosophy and theology, Boston College; Master’s degree, philosophy, Saint Louis University; Master of Divinity, Regis College, University of Toronto; Diploma in Spiritual Direction, Regis College, University of Toronto
Daniel J. Kennedy, SJ, was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, with his two wonderful parents and two brothers. He first met the Society of Jesus through the Jesuits at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo. After high school, he attended Boston College and majored in philosophy and theology. Dan explored his budding Jesuit vocation through involvement in the service-learning program, campus ministry and the international immersion program. After graduation, he moved to the novitiate in St. Paul, Minnesota, to begin his Jesuit formation. As a novice, Dan worked at the Jesuit retirement home in Milwaukee, a day shelter in the Twin Cities, and Jesuit Academy, a nativity model school in Omaha, Nebraska. He next completed a master’s degree in philosophy at Saint Louis University.
While Dan was in first studies, he worked at Life Crisis Services as a telephone crisis worker for Lifeline, the national suicide and crisis hotline. He spent regency as the director of student activities and as a theology faculty member at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska. Dan oversaw school-wide entertainment events and student clubs. He completed a Master of Divinity and a Diploma in Spiritual Direction at Regis College at the University of Toronto. As a deacon, Dan served at St. Peter’s Parish in downtown Toronto. His first Mass will be at the Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee. After ordination, Dan will serve as special assistant to the president of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, while also working toward a master’s degree in mental health counseling at John Carroll University.
What are three words a family member or fellow Jesuit would use to describe you? (Ask someone.) Do you agree with his or her selections?
Compassionate, receptive, lighthearted.
Who’s your favorite saint, and why?
St. Peter Faber was one of the early companions of Ignatius and was instrumental in establishing the fledgling Society. During a divisive time in the church’s history, he was known for his gentleness, discernment and friendly disposition with all he encountered.
What do you love about the Society of Jesus?
The people and the mission. Being a Jesuit has allowed me to accompany, collaborate and pray with many individuals I would never have met unless I was in this form of life. When I reflect on my vocation, I find gratitude is never in short supply for these relationships. The Society’s mission to seek God’s greater glory has evolved since its foundation, and I feel humbled to be able to add my small contribution to our shared task to meet the needs of the church and world in our time.
Tell your vocation story. One catch: You must use only six words.
Joy attracts. Call deepens. Following love.
Where has your Jesuit vocation taken you that you never thought you would go?
I would never have thought I would be “Mr. Fun” at a high school, planning school-wide engagement events like pep rallies and dances and running a student cheer section. When I heard these were part of my responsibilities, I felt unequal to the task. Even then, God guided me in how students and colleagues showed me what would work and how to serve them. I had to learn to enjoy the experimentation, not dwell too much on the failures and have a good laugh at the end of a day.
Who is one important mentor who has accompanied you on your journey? What made them a good mentor?
While there are too many Jesuits to count, I want to highlight two laypeople outside my family who had a lasting impact on my Jesuit vocation: Brad Boyle, a former theology teacher at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, and Ellen Modica, a campus minister at Boston College. They encouraged me during my years of discernment, asked me good questions and inspired me to find my path to holiness as they did. My vocation is the result of laypeople being great vocation promoters for the Society.