Third Cousin Fr Adam Kearns

I learnt this week of the death before Christmas of the only other priest I know of presently in my very extended family. Fr Adam Kearns was a priest of Trenton diocese in New Jersey, to where one member of my mother’s Kearns family had emigrated at the time of the Famine in the middle of the nineteenth century. Fr Adam was born 17 September 1928 and so was 91 when he died. After school in his home parish he went on to gain a bachelor of science followed by philosophy and theology studies at the local seminary. He was ordained in 1954, was assistant priest in no fewer than eight parishes, and eventually became parish priest at Edison NJ until he retired in 1999. He died peacefully on Wednesday 13 November, and was buried with many of his forebears in St Joseph’s Cemetery, Keyport, NJ. His obituary says he was “beloved by the many people he served as both priest and friend and by his brother priests of the Diocese of Trenton. May this kind and loving priest rest in the peace of the Lord whom he served with joy and fidelity!”

Some years ago I spoke to Fr Adam on the phone at his retirement home, which led to him sending me details of his branch of the Kearns family, of which my mother was part. Another Kearns priest that some may have heard of was Fr Tom Kearns, my mother’s cousin, who was a Rosminian, and became Provincial at one time. Fr Adam was a little farther away on the family tree, being my mother’s third cousin…

If you are at all interested in your family tree, one of the first things to do is talk to people, especially the elderly, before they leave us, taking with them their knowledge, both of facts and of the often far more interesting gossip or family legends.

Oh, and by the way on my father’s side I have one Welsh Baptist minister, David Jones my great-grandfather, and a little further back, two Calvinist Methodist ministers, Rev John Jones Llanedi and Rev David Jones Pontyberem. I thought I had better mention them – as it is Unity Week, after all!

Fr Matthew