Entered the wider life
April 2, 2010
Eulogy by +Carl G. Purvenas-Smith, OSB
I first met Fr. Ray Kelly the summer I was ordained into the priesthood. We hit it off immediately, since we both were ordained to the priesthood on Trinity Sunday, but ten years apart. We shared much in common. I was impressed by Ray’s determination and his personal dedication to the same ideals that moves most of us who want to serve all of God’s People. He continued to say Mass even when it was just for his family or a small group. He challenged God to find a space for the new parish and to bring people, if God really wanted him to serve His People. That year was the last Christmas Eve Mass that Fr. Ray celebrated with just his family in attendance. God does answer prayers and Ray proved it to me. “You just have to be consistent!” he would say.
Fr. Ray found ways to "get the word out" about an alternative to the bigger, sister church from which we sprang. He also spent weekends celebrating countless weddings that helped fund a small, growing community church and showed couples that there was a Church that welcomed them. I dare say that many of us would never have found CACINA were it not for Fr. Ray Kelly. He gave generously of his time and talents, never looking for personal reward. One could not have a truer friend than Fr. Ray.
Fr. Ray served CACINA in many capacities: founder of Holy Trinity Parish, Chair of the Canon Revision Committee, Minister General of the CACINA Franciscans (SSF - Society of St. Francis), first bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Trinity, Chancellor of CACINA, and finally Presiding Bishop of CACINA. After the passing of Fr. Jim Ornbaum, Fr. Ray decided to join the CACINA Benedictines and was admitted to St. Ansgar’s Monastery. As prior, Ray urged the adoption of the “summer” habit and petitioning for its recognition as an Abbey and for a new name. Fr. Ray eventually got his heart’s desire, the establishment of the Abbey of New Clairvaux, and he adopted the Cistercian way of life and prayer after his personal hero, St. Bernard.
Come to his assistance all you Saints of God,
Hasten to meet him all you Angels of the Lord!
May Christ who has called you, receive you,
And bring you into the bosom of Abraham!
Rest in Peace Good Friend!