Lecture in honour of Late Prof. Joseph Kenny, OP.

The Nigerian Field Society in collaboration with the Dominican Institute, Ibadan hosted a public lecture in memory of one of her own: Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Joseph Kenny, OP. Coming exactly four years after his burial, the memorial lecture which took place on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 was a gathering of academics and distinguished persons from different fields of life. Delivering the lecture for the day, Dr. Patricia Oyelola declared that the Nigerian Field Society decided to posthumously honour Prof. Joseph Kenny on the 85th Anniversary of the publication of the academic Society’s journal, The Nigerian Field, because of his outstanding contributions to the Society. Prof. Joseph Kenny was at one time national secretary of the Society and editor of The Nigerian Field.

Speaking on the theme, “BREAKING THE MOULD: Priests Unlike Others,” Dr Patricia eulogized Fr Kenny for his numerous achievements both in the Nigerian church and the society at large. Some of his achievements include collaborative effort with renowned Nigerian artist, architect and master-builder, Demas Nwoko, in the construction of the Dominican chapel in Ibadan, a monument with beautiful combination of Church artistry and African motifs; translation of the Psalter of the Liturgy of the Hours into Hausa language; and active participation in inter-religious dialogue both at the national and international levels. Fr. Kenny’s participation in these dialogues was made possible precisely because he was versed in languages, and thus able to read the Qur’an and interpret it effectively, Dr. Oyelola noted

Continuing, Dr Patricia described Fr Kenny as one who had a great love for nature. This led him to Bee Keeping which became a successful project that raised funds for the Dominican Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas, Ibadan where he lived most of his life. He was also an accomplished pianist and a renowned member of the Music Circle. He was quite abreast with the latest developments in computer technology at a time many of his contemporaries would hardly bother to keep pace with the new trend. His knowledge and skills is this area proved useful in his editorial contributions to the production of The Nigerian Field.

Dr. Patricia Oyelola’s lecture on the life and legacy of Fr Kenny received a standing ovation from the participants. Tributes on Fr Kenny poured in afterwards, especially from other members of the Nigerian Field Society,  and the Department of Religious Studies, University of Ibadan where Fr Kenny was served for many years as a Professor of Islamic and Arabic Studies. A Special tribute from Fr. Iheanyi Enweren, OP, the pioneer President of the Dominican Institute, Ibadan, was acknowledged and read to the audience by Dr. Patricia Oyelola.

To mark the end of the event, the Dominican Student Brothers gave a beautiful rendition of the Lord’s Prayer translated into Greek and with musical credits to Fr Kenny. Gerald Isiguzo, OP exhibited afterwards some art works inspired by the life and thoughts of Fr Kenny. Dr Patricia led the trail to adorn the grave of Fr. Kenny with beautiful wreaths as a mark of the beauty of his life and legacies.

Story credits to: Raphael Ameh, OP and  Felix Unuesiri, OP