By Jacqueline L. Salmon
Some details about Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s personal faith life here in Washington D.C.
While in town, he was a regular at Blessed Sacrament Church in Chevy Chase, Md., according to Washington Archdiocese spokesperson Susan Gibbs. For a while, after the death of his mother Rose in 1995, he would sometimes also attend evening Mass at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill.
For five years, from 2003 to 2007, he hosted a fundraising dinner for the Washington D.C. inner-city Catholic schools with Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) that raised $5 million. “Most of what he did was at the national level,” said Gibbs. “But the bipartisan dinner was one thing that he did for the kids in D.C. It was a local ministry.”
Kennedy halted his participation when he became ill in 2008, but the dinner continues with Boehner and former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams.
UPDATE: From Post reporter Hamil Harris:
From Post reporter Hamil Harris: In April, Kennedy made one of his final speeches in the District at the SEED Public Charter School in Southeast, where President Obama and busloads of lawmakers from Capitol Hill held the signing ceremony for the Serve America Act. Kennedy, stood on a stool to the side of Obama. When the time came for Kennedy to speak, he addressed the crowd in a booming voice, saying, “This is a wonderful day!”
While Kennedy’s support for abortion rights put him at odds with the Catholic church, Msgr. W. Ronald Jameson, rector at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., said he still had a deep faith that was manifested through the social justice issues he championed.
“I think Senator Ted Kennedy, in a sense following in his brothers’ footsteps, did so much in terms of social justice on various issues,” Jameson said. “I can’t say that everyone agreed with everything he stood for, but he stood for a lot of things that were good. … I think he will always be remembered for health care. Senator Kennedy certainly had a heart for health care, and that will be one of his legacies.”