'Man of simple faith' leaves generous endowment for seminarian education
CHARLOTTE — Dick Kelly, a parishioner at St. Patrick Cathedral who passed away in 2011, did in death what he had done in life – gave back to the Church a gift from the heart. This gift, totaling more than $337,500, has been used to create the Dick Kelly Endowment Fund for the education of future priests of the Diocese of Charlotte.
Kelly had been a parishioner at St. Patrick for more than 16 years, befriending Father Frank O'Rourke, who was the pastor there in 1995 when Kelly joined the parish after his retirement.
"He was a very simple man, who in retirement dedicated himself to serving the Church," said Father O'Rourke. "Dick was a daily communicant who had a deep love and respect for the Eucharist. This devotion was deepened by bringing the Eucharist to Catholic patients at Carolinas Medical Center. He was a man of simple faith who was well versed in the Scriptures."
"Kelly also spearheaded the Christmas dinners at the cathedral, bringing together his compassion for the poor and his accounting skills ... He was proud to be a fourth-degree Knight of Columbus and was very active in their many efforts to be of service to the Church and the broader community."
Judy Smith, director of planned giving for the diocese, recalls that Kelly had been a member of the Catholic Heritage Society for many years, meaning that he had included the Church in his will and notified the diocese that he had done so.
"He attended the special Mass and dinner for Catholic Heritage Society members every year and enjoyed the special fellowship," Smith recalled. "His will included a bequest gift to establish the Dick Kelly Endowment Fund for the education of future priests."
Now that this fund has been established, anyone who wishes to can contribute to this fund with a gift of any size at any time.
"We are most grateful for Mr. Kelly's generosity and stewardship. His new endowment fund will provide income for the education of our seminarians for many, many generations," Smith said.
With his generous gift to the Church, Kelly leaves a legacy in perpetuity of what he valued in life – his Catholic faith.
"More and more people across the diocese are doing what Mr. Kelly did, taking another step in stewardship by leaving a gift to the Church in their estate plans," said Jim Kelley, diocesan director of development.
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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