We sat down to chat with the new Catholic Charities chaplain, Fr. Bob Kelly. Read the interview below.
Q: Where are you from?
Fr. Bob: I was born and raised in Ft. Collins, Colorado with 8 brothers and sisters. I graduated from Colorado State University and worked for 8 years before entering the seminary. I worked in the technical world—first for a wholesale optical laboratory designing glasses for low vision patients and for air force pilots and for navy divers. Then I worked in research and development at Johnson and Johnson in the diagnostic ultrasound field for 3 years before entering the seminary. After ordination, I served as a diocesan priest for 3 years at the Shrine of St. Anne’s in Arvada and at Holy Name in Steamboat Springs.
Q: How long have you been a part of the Dominican order?
Fr. Bob: 25 years.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the Dominican spirituality.
Fr. Bob: Dominican Spirituality is based on four pillars: Community, prayer, ministry and study. These support all that we do as preachers and teachers. The Dominican motto: “Veritas”, which is translated as Truth. We are always searching for the truth which is the Trinitarian God, so we are always trying to see how God is present in who we are and what we do. St. Thomas Aquinas explores this in his Summa Theologica as well as St. Catherine of Siena in her Dialogues.
Q: What hobbies do you enjoy?
Fr. Bob: I enjoy traditional musical instruments, such as musical instruments found in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. These include the fiddle, the hammered and mountain dulcimer, banjo, and mandolin. I mainly play the mandolin now because it’s short and squatty and packs easily into my car trunk. In my trunk you’ll also find a folding bicycle that I look forward to taking out on bike trails here in Colorado.
Q: Do you have a favorite bible verse?
Fr. Bob: “I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” – John 10:10
I like this verse because it promises a life of abundance. This is why we’re here – an abundant life of joys, challenges along with the struggles that come with life. I’ve had several different parish assignments—from those parishes located in the midst of wealthy suburbs, and those parishes in the heart of the inner city. I found that the people I encountered in the inner city especially radiated abundant joy in life through the simple things, like coffee and donuts after a Sunday Mass. They were not burdened by the “worries” that often come with wealth.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in your service here at Catholic Charities?
Fr. Bob: It’s nice to be able to take years of pastoral experience and apply it in such a diverse setting as here at Catholic Charities. With all the different ministries, it’s remarkable all that you do.
Q: Is there anything you hope for in your time of service here at Catholic Charities?
Fr. Bob: I hope that I can share life in abundance with you here at Catholic Charities. Dominicans believe that nature and grace work together – so many times it’s when something happens to you where grace is present and you see it as a “blessed moment.” I’m hoping to find those moments here.
Q: Anything else?
Fr. Bob: My door is always open and people are always welcome. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be stocking chocolate or hard candy…but stay tuned!
Fr. Bob will be celebrating Mass at the Smith Road chapel Monday-Thursday at noon, and Fridays at 9:15 a.m. His office is located on the 2nd floor of Smith Road right across from the St. Francis of Assisi conference room. His email is RKelly@ccdenver.org.