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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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MCKENNA, ROE JOSEPH, Catholic priest, lawyer, and college teacher; b. Bathurst, 20 Aug 1899, s/o Owen Jerome McKenna and Mary Ellen Devereaux; ordained 1928; d. Chatham, 21 May 1981.

The son of a merchant tailor who was born in Prince Edward Island, Roe J. McKenna was educated at St Thomas College, St Francis Xavier University (BA 1921), and Dalhousie University (LLB 1924). Trained for the priesthood at St Augustine's Seminary in Toronto, he was ordained in 1928. He later studied at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D. C., where he earned licentiates in Roman and canon law.

McKenna taught moral philosophy and canon law at St Joseph's Seminary in Edmonton, Alta, in the early 1930s, and he was on the staff of St Thomas College for a time, beginning in 1934. Later he was a chaplain at CFB Chatham. Around 1954 he became chaplain of Mount St Joseph, and for many years prior to his death he was chaplain of both this nursing home and the Hotel Dieu Hospital.

McKenna was a talented college athlete, performing in track and field, basketball, football, and hockey, and winning some of the most coveted athletic awards. After graduation he continued to play and coach hockey for many years and was also a tennis player of note.


[b] RC clergy files [d] church records / Leader 30 Aug 1994; News 27 May 1981; official records (parents' marriage, 1898); Whitty files