Ernest Francis Kelly, O.P.

Ernest Francis Kelly, O.P.


Born:  May 1, 1914

Professed:  August 16, 1937

Ordained:  June 10, 1943

Died:  October 14, 2002

Ernest Francis Kelly, the last of thirteen surviving children of his parents, Patrick A. Kelly and Catherine Moughan, was born in Lowell, MA, and attended St. Michael parochial school and Keith Academy in Lowell, MA.  Fr. Kelly later would speak of how many vocations to the priesthood and to religious life came from his home parish.

After high school, he attended Providence College in Providence, RI, and entered the Dominican Novitiate of St. Rose Priory, near Springfield, KY.  He pursued his studies for the priesthood both in River Forest, IL, and in Washington, DC, where he was ordained to the priesthood.

His first assignment was to parish ministry at Sacred Heart in Jersey City, NJ, before answering the call to serve in the China Missions.  Fr. Kelly served in Fukien Province in China for about 18 months in 1948-1949 before most foreigners had to flee the country because of the Communist takeover. Throughout his life, Fr. Kelly would throw into a conversation remembered Chinese phrases at appropriately humorous moments.

In the 1960s Fr. Kelly was assigned to Columbus and Youngstown, OH.  In the 1960s and 70s he served on various Retreat and Preaching Bands of the Dominican Fathers, traveling the Northeast and the upper Midwest giving parish missions.

In 1967 he was asked to become the chaplain at the VA hospital in West Haven, CT.  He served in that capacity until he was reassigned to St. Dominic’s in Youngstown in 1984. He served as chaplain at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown, and until several weeks before his death, served as chaplain at Southside Hospital and the Assumption Village Nursing Facility in North Lima.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in St. Dominic’s Church in Youngstown.  The Provincial, V. Rev. Dominic Izzo, O.P., was the celebrant. Burial followed at the Dominican Friars’ section in Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown, OH.

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