Bruce Kent: A tribute from NJPN

A familiar face at NJPN conferences, Bruce was honest, challenging and encouraging, proactive rather than reactive, offering solutions to problems and not simply complaining about them.

A modern prophet, he also foresaw a shift to Synodality in the way of being Church. Years ago, he predicted that:

“We are going to become more of a team church and a less priestly one. Bishops are going to have to listen more than they speak and much more before they issue instructions. . A ‘justice and peace’ Church? I certainly hope so…. The life of the Church is what goes on at the grassroots of parishes rather than the great halls of state.”

And, like all prophets, he suffered for his beliefs and activism, sacrificing his clerical status to become a ‘priest without a collar.’

He understood that all justice issues are interconnected. Although his own focus was largely on ending war and building a culture of peace, he knew the other issues were just as valid and wanted people to be fully engaged with one or any of them. He considered them all to be his partners and he was the enemy of apathy and indifference.

Bruce was in it for the long haul – and there are not many hauls as long as the one this nonagenarian undertook! “I’m for tortoises rather than hares,” he once said, and was conscious of being only one in a long line of tortoises that extended before and beyond him.

He made a difference, and for so many of us he was the difference, inspiring us not only by words but by his faith, wisdom, resilience, and commitment.