1999-08-14 / Columnists

Chatting With Chappy

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

John F. Kennedy Memorial Mass to be held on August 18 at 6:30 p.m. St. Francis DeSales on Beach 129 street.

On Wednesday, August 18, 1999 a memorial Mass for John F. Kennedy jr., Caroline Kennedy and Lauren Bessette will be held at St. Francis de Sales Church on Beach 129th street and Rockaway Beach boulevard at 6:30 p.m.

The Memorial Mass is being sponsored by the Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee, Michael Benn chairperson, in conjunction with the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Brian Heffernan is the chair of the event. If you wish any information call Brian at West End Realty at
634-4600. Reverend Peter Gillen, the Pastor of St. Rose of Lima will officiate at the Mass. Priests from other parishes will concelebrate with Fr. Gillen. Fr. Colm Campbell has been invited. The bag-pipers will lead the procession into the church. The procession will include the clergy, the members of the Queens St. Patrick's Day Parade and Cultural Committee, members of Division 21 and Division 22 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, elected officials and other dignitaries.

The purpose of the Mass is to memorialize John F. Kennedy jr. Caroline Kennedy and Lauren Bessette. They embodied what many people consider to be the essence of youth and vitality in our society. John F. Kennedy jr. had personal charm, business acumen, a political side and a strong interest in helping his fellow man.

John F. Kennedy jr. was part of a dynasty started by Joseph Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald. The history of the Kennedy clan is typical of the history of many immigrant families. The great grandfather left Ireland -in this case County Wexford, (County Wexford is now known internationally for its Opera Festival which is held annually in October.) The Kennedy forefathers however, came to America to make a better life for their family. They worked hard and eventually were able to move out of the inner city tenements. This upward mobility gave their children the opportunity to move up in this country. Very frequently this first generation born in America will seek to accumulate wealth and power. Many of the Irish turned to politics to achieve the power and leverage that they sought. The Kennedy's followed this route and took it further. John F. Kennedy ran for and was elected as the first Catholic President. His assassination and that of his bother Robert Kennedy left an indelible mark on all Americans.

It was left to John F. Kennedy jr. to continue the best of the Kennedy tradition. John F. Kennedy jr. was a member of the New York Athletic Club where my husband is also a member. John enjoyed working out in the gymnasium and eating in the restaurant overlooking Central Park. During the last few weeks members of the club have been sharing their personal memories of John. Everyone describes him in similar terms. He was a quiet person who was always friendly and polite. He was happy to exchange a few comments with everyone that engaged him in conversation.

He will be missed by his extended family at the Athletic Club and by his American family who watched him grow up. Please join us at the Mass to celebrate the life of John F. Kennedy jr., Caroline Kennedy and Lauren Bessette and those aspects of life that are important to us.


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