Tributes for Mike Kelly

We share below tributes for Mike Kelly.  A mighty tree has just fallen in our forest so as we grieve this loss, we pause to remember the great contribution Mike has made to our Dominican whanau. See below for three tributes.
Dominican Preaching Team – tribute from Joan Hardiman and Judith Crimmins

Mike Kelly was a man of Faith and Conviction supported by a good sense of humour;  a sound, enthusiastic member of the six-member Dominican Preaching Team which presented Mission weeks in many Parishes throughout New Zealand and Queensland for several years.

Mike’s faith was based soundly on Scripture and the reforms of Vatican Two, especially the role and involvement of lay people in all aspects of Catholicism.  His preaching was direct, to the point and relevant, with a strong challenge to political and economic justice.  He talked about the sacred role of the family, parenting and especially marriage.  He dreamed of having “mission sessions” around a barbeque with people sharing and supporting each other in the ups and downs of life and faith.  Thus passing on their own lived and practical faith to each other and to youth especially.

We of the Team offer our love and sympathy to Jenny and the family.

Jenny, you were a great support during the Preaching days;  taking the phone calls and negotiating the bookings.  We were always grateful for that.

Mike,  may you  be resting in  Eternal Peace.

Dominican Group – tribute from Jenny Collins 
Mike and Jenny were part of a group – largely from St Bens – who met on a Friday night – usually at our place or at Mike and Jenny’s -over a number of years in the 1990s and 2000s. Members included Ruth and Tony Spelman, Faith Mahoney, Peter Murnane, Mary Anna Baird, Catherine Casey, Joan Hardiman, Teresa McNamara, Robin Kearns & Pat Newault and others I probably have forgotten. We also had many visitors from the wider Dominican Community and friends when they were in town. The aim of the group was to support the lives and work of members particularly MaryAnna and Peter who were part of the Asia Pacific Dominican outreach at the time.
We gathered for a shared meal, prayer and a  reflection on scripture or other writings.
Preaching team:
Mike and Jenny were part of the Dominican preaching team as you know. Mike and Judith Crimmonds were the only 2 lay members of that group. Others included Peter Murnane and Sr Genevieve OP and they travelled from the far north to the far south and as far as Australia preaching in parishes. I understand from talking to Joan Hardiman that she is putting something together so I’ll leave that story to her.
St Bens Parish life:
Mike and Jenny were integral to the life of our parish at St Bens in those years. Jenny was an energetic and inspirational member of the pastoral team and Mike led the parish council for about 6 years and preached regularly in the Crypt for our 5pm Mass. We remember Mike as a wise person with a keen sense of humour – we well remember his infectious laugh. He came from that generation who were inspired by Vatican II always seeing the importance of the people of God in the Church and the World. We had many debates about who was Church and how we could all  be part of a wider vision of Church in the World. He recognised things in people and encouraged them to step forward in leadership. Mike brought a good dose of common sense and a keen sense of humour to any discussion.
Last time we saw Mike and Jenny:
We visited Mike and Jenny a couple of times once they moved to the Wairarapa. The last time was completely serendipitous and happened in January last year when we were visiting with John’s family. We stopped for lunch at Lake Ferry and there, to our amazement were Mike and Jenny who were with a group from their retirement home. We had a lovely catchup with them.
Such lovely memories of our good friends Mike and Jenny and sending our prayers and thoughts to Jenny at this sad time.
Best wishes
Jenny Collins

Laying the foundations for the renewed lay Dominican movement in Aotearoa – Tribute from Susan Healy

Mike Kelly had a great love for the Dominican Order, national and international. He believed that lay people could make an important contribution to the Order’s charism and mission.

In 2008, Mike and Jenny hosted at their home in Masterton a small but representative group of laity interested in fostering Dominican life in Aotearoa New Zealand. One outcome was the initial wording of a Vision Statement for lay Dominicans in this country. Another was the setting up of a data base and the start of a newsletter. It was a really fruitful meeting and just as we were leaving, we caught sight of a beautiful rainbow in the sky. It seemed like a sign of blessing on this humble beginning.

Mike put tremendous work into the lay Dominican newsletter over several years – sharing some of his own insights but mainly gathering in contributions from Dominicans across the country. It was inspiring to read how different ones were living out their commitment to prayer, study, community and mission – the four Dominican pillars. Mike also kept us in touch with some of the international news, and especially when this applied to the laity.

Mike and Jenny convened the first very successful, national Gathering of Dominican laity in 2010. It was held at the Sisters of Compassion centre in Wellington and was a truly happy occasion. Mike was always a man of vision and those of us who attended that Gathering remember his desire that we set up a formation programme for those interested in taking on a Dominican commitment. While some effort has been made in this direction, Mike’s dream on this count is yet to be realised.

Mike, along with Jenny, laid the foundations for the renewed lay Dominican movement in this country. We owe so much to him for his dogged determination, his generosity and hard work, and for the encouragement he gave to so many of us.

Moe mai ra, e Mike, e te toa kaha mo te whanau arahi rongo pai.

Susan Healy

Note: This photo of the Aotearoa Dominicans on and around our own Dominican Tree was taken at the first national gathering in Wellington in 2010