Here is a dialog about what we were doing on the day JFK was
assasinated. The following people took part:
Larry Obrist Tom McGuire David Stang Mike Chudalski
Richard Kiniry Bill Murphy Ed Flanigan Chris Bradley
Vince Dowling Michael McKenna Frank Breen Tom Thompson
Ray Voith Joe Fahey Scott Clark Jim Huvane
I would be interested in a few memories of the Assassination Day of
Nov.22 for those at Glen Ellyn then. My Class of 1969 were in our
Senior year, so what are the memories of those in Freshman, Soph, and
I just remember hearing of his being shot as noon meal ended. Guess
heard via the priests refectory. I know mid afternoon we went to
Chapel to pray and I marked an "X" in my Liber Usualis for the Feast
of St. Cecilia. Were classes canceled on that Friday afternoon? and
on the day of the Monday funeral??? How much TV were we allowed that
week end??? Then in Spring of 1964 we dedicated a Flag Pole in JFK's
honor....this is all that now still remains on what was the GE
Just want some help to fill in some blanks in my memory of the GE
experience....but I am sure others might care to share "where you were
when" the tragedy struck.
Larry O. Lrn-Lsw.Obrist@windstream.net
Larry, you are right. I'm sitting here looking at a "holy card"
marking the investiture of the class that entered Glen Ellyn in
September of 1961, graduated in 1965, and the remnant of which was
ordained in 1970. The card lists the date of the investiture as
November 21, 1963, the day before Kennedy's death.
Best, Richard Kiniry ;
Richard et al:
Your GE Class of 1965 investiture maybe happened on 11/21/1963....but
my GE Class of 1964 were invested the year before on 11/21/1962...per
my investiture card with John XXIII on the front.
So many of you post date me. My memory was that on that historical
day I was at our Center House and Language School in Davao City in the
Philippines. I had just finished offering mass when someone gave me
the horrible news. Can not remember what happened after that. With
age one's memory becomes cloudy. Are there any former P.I. People
out there who can fill in what happened at SaSa?
Vin Dowling . 1959 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ray Voith (Junior at GE in Nov 1963)
We were in the refectory having lunch. I was at a table on the right
side as you walk in, about half way down. David Thom was doing waiter
service for our table. He came to the table and told us that Kennedy
was shot. At first I thought he was just kidding around, since I
remember him as a jokester (sorry Dave if I mis-characterize you). Of
course, he wasn't joking. I believe that Fr Buckley, the rector, soon
made an announcement confirming what Dave had said.
I remember being in the chapel later reflecting on what happened, but
not much else about that day or subsequent days.
At that time I was in the middle of the most difficult decision of my
life - to leave the seminary after 4 1/2 years. I decided to leave
Maryknoll on Dec 10 of that year. My decision was in the making and
not affected by the assasination. After deciding to leave, I finished
the semester and actually left in January, 1964.
I was at the Bedford Novitiate standing in front of the building when
someone came out the front door and said the President was shot. That
moment,frozen in my memory, came back vividly when I had to tell my
Junior High students about the attack on the NY Towers. These kids,
many who had seen people shot and killed responded with instant tears
of fear. Those tears brought back my deep feelings of fear on that
fateful November day in 1963 .
Tom McGuire Tom McGuire ;
My strongest memory was after the assassination there was a community
gathering of everyone in the auditorium led by Gene Kennedy. I
don’t remember what he said, but somehow that memory sticks…Bill
Murphy, Class ’66 GE
RICHARD KINIRY ;
Chris, Scott. and all, On the question of investiture date and JFK, my
memory - Kennedy's death was after our investiture, actually I think
it was the day after, because I was in the cassock and was a waiter
that day and my job was to take lunch into the priest who were not
eating with the seminarians but were eating in their rec-room space
down the hall. And I stood in front of their television watching the
news from Dallas and after hearing the news I had the job of going
into the big dinning room and telling the big man (the Rector?),
Father Buckley, about the shooting. I don't think JFK had been
declared dead at that point. I went back into the priest room doing
my waiter job but was actually watching the TV until one of the priest
noticed me and ask, "What are you doing here?" and I shuffled off
returning to my duties.
Michael McKenna - Freshman in '63.
Michaelwmckenna@aol.com ; ************
A little hazy after 50 years, but I recall being on the grounds crew
working outside on a rainy, cold day. The weather perfectly matched
the mood of the day. Someone, I believe it was Dave Austin, a
sophomore, suggested that we say the Rosary, and we stood (knelt?)
outside in a circle and prayed. We had been working near the club
house where there was a boxing ring.
Anybody else remember that?
Joseph J. Fahey
Larry, I'm sure those who were at GE will respond to your letter but
I'd like to tell what I remember from the Knoll. I was in First
Theology in 1963 and was one of the very first to hear that the
President had been shot. We were on manual labor at that time in the
afternoon and I was passing the "radio room" at the Knoll and someone
shouted out that the President had been shot. I immediately remember
thinking "if he was dead they would have said so; he must be wounded."
Within a short time we heard he was dead and guys began to go to the
chapel in silent prayer. I remember being struck at seeing guys in
sweatshirts kneeling in the chapel since we only appeared there in our
cassocks. We then crowded into the TV room and by chance I sat next
to Chris Brickley who was a huge fan of JFK being from Boston as he
was. When Walter Cronkite announced Kennedy's death and then took his
glasses off I looked at Chris and he was crying like a baby. There
wasn't a dry eye in the room and we sat there in stunned silence. I
don't think we did anything special at the Knoll and can't remember or
not whether we had classes on the day of the funeral (I'm sure others
can recall) but I do remember watching the procession with Jackie and
the family as they walked from the Capitol with the coffin and the
I can honestly say that I have never been the same after that. "How
could they take from us such a good man." I thought. Jack had that
year launched a major initiative on civil rights and signed the
historic limited test ban treaty. He founded the Peace Corps and
sought in the June 10, 1963 American University speech to end the Cold
War and to reach out to those in Russia and Cuba who shared "our
common humanity" to build a new world based on diplomacy and common
endeavor. All this is documented in Jim Douglas's great Orbis
published book JFK and the Unspeakable. (Note the key role that Pope
John XXIII played in all this.) The Cuban Missile Crisis had a
profound impact on Jack and that last year of his life began a new
page not only for him but, I think, for the whole world. He was a
very different man from the Cold Warrior who had just beat Nixon. The
powers that be in the CIA, the Pentagon, and who knows where else in
Wall Street just couldn't let JFK's new direction take hold. Defense
spending would go way down and Russians would be taking vacations in
Rockaway (now, of course, they live there!). But that's another
story. Jack's death along with Martin's and Bobby's made me very
cynical and, rather than give into that, I've helped found the Peace
Studies movement, worked with peace groups like Pax Christi and the
FOR and tried to give every student I teach some of the hope and
idealism that I experienced during the Kennedy years. Oh, Jack lives
I've never shared these thoughts before since I'm not sure those who
weren't alive then can appreciate the true tragedy of that day. But
since you asked for some reflections from those of us who were in
Maryknoll then I feel free to remember those happy days with many who
shared them at GE, the Novitiate, and the Knoll.
Joe Fahey email@example.com
DAVID STANG ; Joe Fahey, thank you very much for
this memory and for reminding us about Jim Douglas' book on JFK. What
great dreams this great man had and we all had with John XXIII and JFK
both on the physical level and spiritual level. Coming down from those
dreams has not been easy as we know life continually evolves and the
fight to be more human never ends. For those who were ordained in 64
we were instilled with great idealism due to these two people JFK and
JohnXXIII. I know I have forever been grateful.
I asked my wife about her experience. She said she was in High School
in Little Rock Ark. Her parents were Baptists as were many of the kids
in her school and white. She said she remembers smiling that this
Eastern Catholic was gone. She said she is embarrassed at this
memory. She remembers the great upheaval of the police enforcing the
right of a black girl to enter this white domain during this time and
that she was very embarrassed. How complicated life is in this
Brazil is now working on taking away land from the Indigenous and the
Black Slaves who were given land 500 years ago and have fought 500
years to keep it. Regivaldo, Dorothy's mastermind killer has just won
his Habeas Corpus again from the Supreme Court even though the State
of Para has condemned him. We are still waiting to see if he will be
ordered to stand trial again in the State of Para. In the meantime he
is free to terrorize the people in the Amazon forest. Last year Brazil
has forgiven all who have stolen Amazonian land in the past.
This year the destruction of the Amazon has increased 23%. In the
meantime the Phillipines has been devastated with terrible weather as
has the East Coast. Our dreams continue to be challenged. We had
dreams of taking on the mafia in the Amazon. Maybe they still exist.
So thank you Joe Fahey for bringing a little light to our day with
this awesome memory of JFK and John XXIII. May these two help us to be
OK you guys, you asked and I'm vividly remembering.... On that
fateful day during the post-lunch manual-labor time, I was on the
second floor of the Knoll, designing the ordination garments for our
Class of '64, to be delivered to our nuns who would stitch up the
final garments... And having been given a very small transistor radio
[they were new then] by my dad, I was listening to something or other
when the program got interrupted by Walter Cronkite, announcing the
solemn but definitive words, that JFK had succumbed to gunshot wounds
in Dallas and was now gone..... The shock and numbness that
immediately ensued was followed by a Thursday Thanksgiving Day
dinner/celebration at the home of my classmate, Phil Bowers in PA. I
only remember it as being the saddest, most unbelievable Thanksgiving
I'd ever non-celebrated...I was numb from head to toe that entire
weekend and well beyond.....
ed flanagan, 64....
I don't know what day we were invested with the cassock but am certain
it was not on the same day as JFK's death.
I think there were two student dining rooms that year. I remember in
the dining room where I was for lunch that it was the Vice-Rector
George Putnam who rang the bell at the end of the meal and announced
that there were reports that the President had been shot.
I and many students made a beeline for a student television set (I
forget whether there was only one or two) and watched the news for 20
to 30 minutes. I am not sure if we had permission to watch TV at
mid-day in those days, but apparently we were given permission to do
so not only that day but over the weekend.
I don't remember the exact date, but I do remember JFK's assassination
and it was not the day of our investiture.
I don't know why, but I seem to remember sitting in front of the TV in
the rec room watching the funeral wearing the cassock. If I am
correct then the investiture would have been earlier than November
Mike Chudalski firstname.lastname@example.org ;
Pretty sure November 22nd.
November 21 sticks in my head ... but its an old grey head :)
Happy and Prayerful Greetings and Good Wishes this Thanksgiving
Season. I will be especially remembering all of you, and your
intentions in my Mass and Prayers today on this 50th Anniversary of
our Investiture, ever grateful for the Grace and Blessing each of you
were in my life in those formative (And FUN!) days. God Bless the days
that saw us Young, and the years that made us Wise.
Love & prayers, Jim Huvane Jhuvane@maryknoll.org