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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Train Victim Was Priest, 51, Former Westporter

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE The man killed by a train Wednesday in Westport in what the medical examiner said was a suicide was a 51-year-old Roman Catholic priest from Wilton who grew up in Westport, friends said today.

WestportNow.com Image
The Rev. Colin McKenna: grew up in Westport. Diocese of Bridgeport photo

Metro-North identified the victim as Colin J. McKenna. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner today ruled McKenna’s death a suicide due to a “blunt trunk injury.”

Brian Wallace, a designer in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport communications office, said McKenna was assigned to that office more than a year ago after having previously served as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Georgetown.

When he was at Sacred Heart, it was known among parishioners that the clergyman suffered from serious depression, perhaps best evidenced by one sermon he gave in which he called anti-depressants “modern miracles,” according to a worshipper there.

Wallace said McKenna stopped working in the diocese office a month-and-a-half ago.

A statement issued by the Diocese of Bridgeport said church officials were “shocked and profoundly distressed” to learn of McKenna’s death. “Our condolences go out to his family and friends, his brother priests and all those who will feel his loss.”

According to the diocese, McKenna, who grew up in Westport, was ordained as a priest by Bishop Edward M. Egan in May 1999.

He was a 1982 graduate of Fairfield College Preparatory School and later graduated from the University of Vermont. He earned a master of divinity degree from Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Mass., in 1999.

The diocese said McKenna’s first assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Joseph Parish in Shelton.  He also served as Sacred Heart Parish in Georgetown, St. Roch Parish in Greenwich, St. Mary Parish in Greenwich, and in other parishes throughout the Diocese.

It said Bishop Frank J.  Caggiano will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial. Details in the obituary here.

Mel Mioli, owner of Westport Pizzeria, recalled that when McKenna and his brother were teenagers in Westport, they would often stop in at the Westport Pizzeria, which was then on Main Street.

Shortly after Mioli moved the business to Post Road East in 2013, McKenna showed up in casual clothes, Mioli said. After a short while, McKenna said he wanted to bless the new place.

According to Mioli, McKenna went to his car and came back with his Roman collar on and holy water and blessed each room, including the kitchen.

“I offered him some pizza, and he insisted on paying for it, but in the end I would not let him pay,” Mioli said.

McKenna was trespassing on the tracks when he was struck by a New Haven-bound train at about 11:20 a.m., Metro-North said.

Passengers were transferred to another train after a one hour, 10-minute wait.

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Posted 09/10/15 at 11:20 AM  Permalink



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