Get to Know Father Kelly

A little history about our Pastor, Fr. William J. Kelly, V.F.

Greetings all!  I am Fr. Bill Kelly, the pastor here at St. Brendan the Navigator Parish.  A little about me: I am 66 years old and was born and raised in Conshohocken, Pa. I am the son of William John and Patricia Ann Kelly who are both enjoying eternity with God in heaven with one of my brothers, Joseph who was called home to the Lord in 2015 and one of my nephews Matthew (son of my sister Colleen) who was called home to the Lord in 2016.

I am the eldest of five siblings. I have three brothers, Joe (deceased), Shaun, and Christopher, and one sister, Colleen. They each have three children, so I am the blessed and proud uncle of 12 of which as I said, one is in heaven. These twelve consist of seven nephews and five nieces, who range in age from 40  to 18 years of age. The eighteen-year olds are my three triplet nieces. I also am the proud great-uncle of three great nephews and four great nieces, of which there is a set of twins. I am also the godfather to three of my nieces. ALL of my nieces and nephews are the pride and joy of my life.

I have been a priest for 16 plus will be 17 years on September 17, 2022. I am what is known as a delayed vocation. I was ordained at the age of 49. I was actually in a religious order, the Norbertines at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli for 10 years before being ordained a priest. For those 10 years before priesthood I was a religious brother in the order. The Norbertines for many years ministered and taught at Southeast Catholic/Bishop Neumann/St. John Neumann High School in South Philly. I was blessed to have taught there for three years, from 1997-2000.

Before entering religious life and then becoming a priest, I was a CYO coach, a park and recreation playground supervisor, a hospital orderly, a religious education teacher, a director of religious education, an elementary school teacher, a high school teacher, a disc jockey, and a registered nurse who worked primarily in Pediatrics. I still am a nurse, and still keep my licensure, but (obviously) am not employed as a nurse. However, I am called on occasion by my family and friends, especially when they need the advice of a health care professional. I usually just say...go to the doctor.

I am in good health, especially after having two open heart surgeries...quadruple bypass in 2005 at the University of Chicago and then aortic valve surgery in 2018 at the University of Pennsylvania. However, I must, according to my cardiologist, do my best to keep my stress level down, exercise, and eat healthy...all of which I am planning to work harder on here at St. Brendan the Navigator Parish. 

I like all types of music. I like photography (especially nature scenes) and am the family photographer. I love nature and especially bird watching. I like to travel and have done a great deal of that as a cruise-ship priest chaplain for the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States of America. I really enjoy being a priest on the cruise ships and not long ago fulfilled a bucket-list item of a Transatlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2. What a wonderful experience.  Another bucket-list item completed was chasing the Northern Lights.  I was not able to chase them in Iceland due to bad weather but did see them on several occasions in the month of November in Alaska.  My next bucket-list item is to do a hot-air balloon ride.  I will keep you posted.

Prior to the Bishop asking me to be the pastor here at St. Brendan the Navigator, I was pastor at Mary, Mother of Mercy, Glassboro/Pitman, NJ. Before that I was in Ocean City, NJ as the parochial vicar (associate pastor) for 2.5 years at St. Damien Parish, and before that was at the Parish of the Holy Cross in Bridgeton, NJ for 2.5 years. In addition to my ministry as pastor, I was also appointed Vicar Forane (Dean) of Cape May and Cumberland Counties (Deanery 5) by the Bishop in July 2021 for a three-year term.  Hence, the initials V.F. after my name.  I really enjoy ministering here at Seven Mile Beach and really look forward to meeting you and working with you to build up our community where we are all called to be one in the Spirit, one in the Lord. Peace and all good!