Bringing you the issues since 1986

View Online Print Edition


Neil and Catherine celebrate birthdays and launch book

October, 2009

click here to view a slideshow of images from Neil and Catherine celebrate birthdays and launch book

The Unitas Hall on St. Antoine was filled with well-wishers heading for the birthday buffet on Sept 20. They were there to celebrate Catherine Fleming McKenty’s 79th and Neil McKenty’s 85th birthdays. And there was another occasion — the launch of Catherine’s Polly of Bridgewater Farm: an unknown Irish story.

Before dessert was served, Catherine read from the biography to the almost 100 guests. “The book is meant for everybody in the way everybody relates to Anne of Green Gables,” she said later in a telephone interview.

“It has serious parts like how a family survives,” she explained. “A mother in her thirties who lives in Northern Ireland told me that this is the kind of book parents and grandparents could read together with older children.” Toasts were made congratulating Catherine on her achievement and Neil for being a powerful presence in the English media.

The Senior Times publisher, Barbara Moser, began her speech by cajoling Neil into sitting next to her. “Neil, I want to thank you for contributing your lefty, edgy, often provocative view of the world in The Senior Times for over 11 years,” she said. She then asked the audience: “How Catholic are we tonight?” When there was no answer, she added “...because you know you have a rebel in your midst,” referring to McKenty.

Then she shared her favorite lines and subjects from Neil’s column Pit Stop in The Senior Times, among them the line “Sexually arrested priests should be arrested.” “He has written about homosexuality, healthcare, euthanasia, and public policy,” Moser said. “His words are always full of candor and wit. He called George Bush the worst president of his lifetime, which wouldn’t be surprising if his memory didn’t go back to Herbert Hoover.”

“His writing is very personal, very intimate, and very unusual,” said Denis Biro. It’s amazing how he opens his heart to everyone. Guests commented they were astounded by the wit and liveliness of Neil and Catherine. “What’s amazing is he’s turning 85 but he’s still very active and very sharp,” Warren Allmand said. “He’s not like an 85 year old man.

“They’re not just content at their age to sit back and watch television,” Allmand added. “They are people who are committed to improving the lot of everybody.” “They deal with age extremely well,” Biro said of the couple. “This is an inspiration for a lot of people. We have to keep up with them.” “Winston Churchill once said ‘never surrender’,” said Stuart John Tigchelaar. “They bring so much inspiration to the community. [Catherine and Neil] please never surrender that zeal.”



Post a Comment