St. Mary’s Parish has new priest
Keenan was pastor at St. Pat's in Dixon, too
STERLING – St. Mary’s Parish has a new pastor, but he’s not new to the Sauk Valley.
The Rev. James Keenan, in his new post since June 29, was pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Dixon from 2007 to 2011.
He also served a brief stint in Elgin as pastor of St. Mary Parish there, starting in 2011, but he said he’s glad to be back in the Sauk Valley.
“I am overjoyed,” he said. “It’s a wonderful community and it’s a faith-filled community. The opportunity arose to help the people of the area that I so loved, so I was very happy to return to it.”
Keenan, 48, is from Brooklyn, N.Y. He studied for the priesthood at Christ the King in East Aurora, N.Y. and Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md.
He was ordained by Bishop Thomas G. Doran on May 15, 1999.
His first assignment was as a parochial vicar at St. Edward Parish in Rockford, also teaching part time at Boylan Central Catholic High School and then serving as spiritual director for the diocesan Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
In 2002 he became pastor at Immaculate Conception Parish in Fulton and at St. Patrick Parish in Albany.
He has served the Rockford diocese also as a three-time member of the Presbyteral Council and has served on the council of administration at Newman Central Catholic High School.
St. Mary Parish and its church at 600 Ave. B has 1,100 families, Keenan said.
Keenan replaces the Rev. Don Ahles, now pastor at St. Catherine of Genoa.