Msgr. Desmond Roberto KeenanJanuary 29, 1926 ~ January 25, 2018 (age 91)
Reverend Monsignor Desmond Roberto Keenan, 91 years old, died on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at his home in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He was born in Bangor, County Downs, Ireland on January 29, 1926 to the late Margaret (Quinn) Keenan and Robert Edward Keenan, who was employed by an American company and in 1935, moved his family from Ireland to New Orleans, Louisiana. Monsignor Keenan is survived by his nephew, Kevin and his wife Mary Louise, with their children, Ian and Lauren, along with their spouses and family.
After discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, Monsignor Keenan entered into studies and priestly formation for the Archdiocese of New Orleans at Saint Joseph Seminary College in Saint Benedict, Louisiana. He then studied philosophy at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana and continued studies and priestly formation in theology at Saint Mary’s Seminary at Baltimore, Maryland. During his studies in philosophy, he asked for and received permission from the Archbishop of New Orleans to serve in the home missions. Monsignor Keenan was granted incardination in the Diocese of Raleigh, which then covered the entire State of North Carolina and was considered a mission territory. Monsignor Keenan was ordained to the Priesthood on May 26, 1949 at Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina by the Most Reverend Vincent S. Waters, the third Bishop of Raleigh.
In the Diocese of Raleigh, Monsignor Keenan served as Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Whiteville and on the Trailer Chapel Mission Apostolate; Parochial Vicar at Saint Mary Parish in Shelby; Parochial Vicar at Saint Patrick Parish in Charlotte; Parochial Vicar at Saint Mary Parish, Goldsboro; Pastor at All Souls Parish in Columbia; Pastor at Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Tarboro; Pastor at Saint Paul Parish, Henderson; and Pastor at Saint Therese Parish, Wilson. On November 5, 1965, Monsignor Keenan began 30 years of dedicated priestly ministry in the missions of Latin America, having been granted leave to serve in the Latin American Apostolate for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, eventually becoming its Director. Monsignor Keenan established numerous parishes throughout Latin America, especially within the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the Diocese of Texcoco. For reasons of health, Monsignor Keenan then returned to the Diocese of Raleigh and on November 11, 1994 was appointed Vicar for Hispanics.
Monsignor Keenan retired from active priestly ministry on July 10, 2001 and was named a Prelate of Honor by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI on April 11, 2006 with the title, Monsignor. Following his retirement, Monsignor Keenan had residence in Wake Forest, continuing to assist in priestly ministry throughout the Diocese of Raleigh.
The funeral arrangements for Monsignor Keenan are as follows: Reception of the Body and Vigil for the Deceased on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 at 7 pm, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, Monsignor David D. Brockman, V.G., Presiding. The Visitation will follow until 9 pm. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 at 11 am, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, Raleigh, Most Rev. Luis R. Zarama, Principal Celebrant and Rev. Fernando Torres, Homilist. Interment will take place at Iglesia del Spiritu Santo in Ojo de Agua, Edo. de Mexico.