Rev. James E. Kelly, C.S.C.

Rev. James E. Kelly, C.S.C.

Apr. 30, 1931-Feb. 16, 2017

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. James E. Kelly, C.S.C., 85, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Portland, and former Rector and Superior of Moreau Seminary, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.

Watch Fr. Kelly’s Funeral Mass here.

He was born on April 30, 1931 in Akron, Ohio to Charles M. and Leonia H. (Hopfinger) Kelly. He attended St. Martha Parochial School, and Akron North High School.He graduated from High School in 1949.

Fr. Kelly was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross on Aug. 15, 1950 and made his First Profession of Vows on Aug. 16, 1951. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame in 1954 and professed Final Vows on Aug. 16, 1956. After studying theology at Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C., Fr. Kelly was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1958. He received a master’s in sociology from Notre Dame in 1961 and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Carolina in 1967.

Fr. Kelly taught social studies and religion at Notre Dame High School, Niles, Ill., from 1958 to 1960. He taught in the sociology department at the University of Portland from 1965 to 1970 and from 1971 to 1972. Fr. Kelly also served as chairman of the Social Sciences Division at UP. He was a visiting professor in the sociology department at Sacramento State College in California during the 1970-1971 school year. Fr. Kelly then became the rector and religious superior at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind. He also served as an adjunct assistant professor of sociology at Notre Dame from 1972 to 1978. From 1979 to 1980, Fr. Kelly served as director of field education for the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. He returned to Notre Dame High School to serve as superior and academic counselor from 1980 to 1982, when he also served as field education supervisor at the Chicago Theological Union. Fr. Kelly became associate professor of theology at King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in 1984. In 1989, Fr. Kelly opened a bachelor’s consortium program for candidates from four religious communities in Uganda for King’s. He then moved to Nairobi, Kenya, to establish a pastoral theology program. After five years in Africa, Fr. Kelly returned to King’s to teach sociology and African culture in 1994. In 1999, Fr. Kelly returned to Africa to Queen of Apostles College, Jinja, Uganda, where he organized a major in social sciences and assisted in the accreditation of the College. He also served as chair of the social sciences department. He retired in 2005, entering a renewal program at Menlo Park, Calif. In 2006, Fr. Kelly returned to live in the Holy Cross Community at the University of Portland, where he assisted at Assumption Village and the former Downtown Chapel (now Saint André Bessette Catholic Church). He moved to Holy Cross House in 2009.

Preceding him in death are his parents, Charles and Leonia Kelly; brothers, John Michael Kelly, Charles Matthias Kelly, and Joseph Adolph Kelly; and sisters, Mary Agnes Kelly McLaughlin, Adelaide Leanore Kelly Michel, Sr. Cecilia Ann Kelly, C.S.C., and Patricia Rose Kelly. He is survived by a brother, William Robert Kelly, as well as several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, February 26, 2017, at Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, IN, where there will be a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the Notre Dame campus on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online

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