Priest who overcame stuttering known as talented speaker

My favorite deacon’s uncle was the celebrant for our wedding. When I met him prior to our big day, I was quite dismayed to discover that the dear man stuttered. But my husband’s sister got married two weeks before we did. I was amazed, and relieved, that Father Kehoe said the entire mass without one stutter.

I was reminded of my deacon’s uncle when I read this story, from the Columbus Dispatch,  about a priest who struggles with stuttering.  H/T Deacon Greg.

The last thing a priest wants to do at a funeral is mess up the name of the deceased.

For one funeral in 1973, this was Monsignor John K. Cody’s biggest fear. So he practiced speaking the woman’s name, out loud, for hours the day before.

Dolores. Dolores. Dolores.

Cody wasn’t worried about forgetting the woman’s name – he had been close to her before she died.

He was afraid of stuttering over it.

Cody, a priest for 38 years who is pastor at St. Christopher Catholic Church near Grandview Heights, has struggled with stammering since he was a child.

Now 64, he has overcome the problem well enough that many of his parishioners and fellow priests have no idea. He credits speech therapy he received in the 1970s for teaching him strategies he still uses.

His success didn’t come without decades of struggle, and even moments of doubt about whether he could fulfill his vocation.

The priesthood involves constant talking, both one-on-one with parishioners and from the pulpit, explaining the Gospel and inspiring his flock.

That’s why Cody could relate to King George VI, played by Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. The film won the Academy Award for best picture this year.

Like the British monarch, Cody had moments of doubt about himself, his therapists and his ability to do his job.

For both king and priest, therapy and hard work took them through stuttering. Continue Reading here.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry and I have been married 39 years. But the deacon’s wife gig is a new twist. Larry was ordained in August of 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren. The oldest grandchild is ten and the youngest is three. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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