Reverend Monsignor J. Vincent Kerr, PH, Chancellor

Monsignor Vincent Kerr was born in Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, in 1952 and attended the local All Saints’ parochial school (one other notable fellow student for all the years of Grade School was the Hollywood actor, Liam Neeson, his exact contemporary). He attended grammar school at the Diocesan College of Garron Tower, a boarding-school occupying a windswept castle overlooking the narrow strait which separates Ireland and Scotland and began his third-level studies at the Queen’s University in Belfast. He graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Modern Languages. He then volunteered for the British equivalent of Peace Corps and served as a High School teacher in northern Ghana, West Africa, for the next two years at a school run by Canadian Missionary Fathers.

Monsignor then decided to study for the priesthood and was sent to the Irish College in Rome to begin formation; he enrolled at the Pontifical Gregorian University, completing the courses for the Bachelor of Divinity. During his time at the Irish College, Monsignor was asked to serve as “repetitore” (academic coach) for Sean O’Sullivan – former MP in Hamilton – who had also embarked on studies for the priesthood. This friendship led to a first visit to Hamilton in 1978 and an acquaintance with Bishop Paul Reding. Monsignor opted to study for service in Hamilton Diocese and was ordained to the diaconate here in 1979 and to the priesthood at the Cathedral in 1980.

Having served as priest both in the Cathedral Parish and at Blessed Sacrament in Kitchener, he was sent for further studies in Canon Law at the Gregorian in Rome. He obtained his Licentiate and Doctorate in Laws (1987, summa cum laude). He was invited to work as an official at the Apostolic Signatura, the Supreme Court of the Catholic Church at the Vatican and did so for four years before returning to work in the Chancery of Hamilton Diocese as Vicar Judicial and now as Chancellor of the Diocese. Monsignor became a citizen of Canada in 1988 and looks upon this country, and this city of Hamilton, as his home.