Leaders of religious communities saw Bishop Kinney as supportive, friendly and warm, ‘a true shepherd’

Categories: Around the Diocese

“Fatherly figure,” “a true shepherd” and “friendly and warm” are some of the phrases leaders of religious communitites used to describe Bishop John Kinney.

Religious communities across the diocese worked with Bishop Kinney in many ways. They found him to be supportive of their efforts.

“He lovingly and wisely served God’s people,” said Sister Michaela Hedican, prioress of St. Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph. “He is a true shepherd.”

She said that he has the ability to be present to people and has a wonderful sense of humor. She appreciated his support and said she will be forever grateful.

“He will continue to be in our prayers,” she said.

The one who smiled

Father Kermit Holl, prior of Holy Cross Priory in Onamia, remembers being a freshman in high school at Crosier seminary when Bishop Kinney, who was then auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, visited the school.

“I remember he was one who smiled, and that was very striking to me,” Father Holl said. “He showed up as a young bishop who was smiling and warm and I always remember that’s Bishop Kinney.”

He noticed Bishop Kinney continued that countenance while serving in the St. Cloud Diocese.

“His approach was always positive and worked towards the good,” Father Holl said.

Father Holl said Bishop Kinney was open to consultation. He found that the bishop had a broad vision of the church, encouraged unity rather than competitiveness and affirmed the gifts of the community.

A good listener

Mother Mary Matthew Tomsyck, abbess of St. Clare’s Monastery in Sauk Rapids, also sees Bishop Kinney as a warm, kind person. She also said the bishop is intelligent and has a great sense of humor.

“He is a fatherly figure for us,” she said. “He has always given us a good listening ear and shown interest in what goes on here when he comes.”

Mother Mary Matthew recalled that when Bishop Kinney visited the Poor Clares, he would bless the whole community and then talk to each sister before he left. The sisters appreciated his time and concern, she said.

Pastoral and personable

Sister Beatrice Eichten, community minister of the Franciscan Sisters in Little Falls, said that she found Bishop Kinney to be pastoral, personable and thoughtful. She said that he has a balance of transparency and confidentiality.

“He’s been a good leader of our diocese,” she said. “I’ve appreciated him.”

Advocate of Vatican II

Abbot John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville said Bishop Kinney has a strong desire to bring the message and energy of the Second Vatican Council to fruition. Diocesan Ministry Day and the Men’s Conference are examples of supporting the message of Vatican II, he said.

The abbot also saw Bishop Kinney as a leader in supporting the development of well-educated deacons and lay ecclesial ministers.

Abbot Klassen appreciated Bishop Kinney’s pastoral and thoughtful way of celebrating liturgy and preaching.

“He preached from the tradition, with a sense of humor, affective relevance and immersion in the biblical text,” Abbot Klassen said.

Abbot Klassen also found Bishop Kinney to be supportive of religious life.

“I am grateful for his rich sense of the place of religious life in the life of the church,” he said. “He was good at thinking about it in theological, historical and practical terms.”

— Sue Schulzetenberg-Gully