|Posted by Jeanine Jelinek on December 27, 2016 at 12:55 PM|
Presentation of the Kucera Catholic Leadership Award to Fr. James Lennon by Abbot Austin Murphy on December 14, 2016. The Kucera Catholic Leadership Award is for a Catholic in our region who has demonstrated leadership in the Church by extraordinarily serving others as people in whom Christ is received.
From Abbot Austin's introduction remarks in the presentation of the award:
This year's award goes to Fr. James Lennon. Fr. Lennon has served as a priest of the Diocese of Joliet for over 58 years, and has been extraordinary in his generosity, joy, and approachability as a priest.
A native of Joliet, he is an alumnus of the Cathedral of St. Raymond Grade School, of our own St. Procopius College, and of Saint Mary Seminary in Maryland. He was ordained on June 7, 1958.
Since 1958, he has served in the following places: Holy Trinity Parish (Westmont), Assumption Parish (Coal City), St. Charles Borromeo Seminary while also in residence at St. Ann Parish (Crest Hill), St. James the Apostle Parish (Glen Ellyn), Sts. Peter and Paul Parish (Naperville), St. Mary Parish (Mokena), St. Scholastica Parish (Woodridge), St. Patrick Parish (Joliet), and St. Patrick Church (Wilton Center).
In the midst of these assignments, Fr. Lennon also served as vocation director at one point and he temporarily filled in as Vicar for Priests.
Fr. Lennon is now retired, but you wouldn't know it judging from the schedule he keeps. Among other things, he regularly visits the elderly. In one article I found, Fr. Lennon explained his devotion to the elderly, saying "They've given so much to the church. They've nurtured us for all these years."
Also, Fr. Lennon has been dedicated to his fellow priests, offering fellowship, support, and spiritual direction. For almost 20 years, he has done parish missions. And for almost 40 years, he has offered retreats and spiritual direction to women religious. Perhaps Fr. Lennon's devotion to the sisters began with the education he received from the Joliet Franciscans at St. Raymond's grade school. He has spoken gratefully of their service as well as of the service of other women religious.
Fr. Jim, thank you for your generous and joyful service to the Church as a priest for the past almost 60 years. And on behalf of the monks of St. Procopius Abbey, I am happy to give you this year's Archbishop Daniel Kucera Catholic Leadership award.