When Father Joseph Keough first came to Suffield in the summer of 1994, he served as a deacon at Sacred Heart Church with Father Ted Raczynski as his mentor and Father Stephen Sledesky as assistant pastor. His experience with these two priests helped to seal his decision on becoming a priest. He had no idea that someday he would return to this church as pastor. The whole situation became very real to him when he celebrated his first Mass as pastor as he walked down the aisle at Sacred Heart Church.
Fr. Joe grew up in Meriden and was one of five children in a very supportive family. He graduated from Maloney High School and furthered his education at Niagara University where he majored in transportation. After college he was employed by a trucking company in Wallingford for five and a half years. Father really enjoyed his work because of all the people he had a chance to meet from all kinds of backgrounds. Meanwhile, he always maintained a special interest in model trains. He has not had a chance to set up his collection at the rectory yet because all the cars are still boxed from the move.
Besides model trains, Father Joe has a passion for reading that includes all kind of literature, deep sea fishing and traveling. He had a goal of visiting all fifty states and has visited countries all over Europe and even attended a wedding in Hong Kong. One of his most recent trips was to the Alabama shores where he found the beaches to be particularly beautiful.
Father Keough has established a few goals for his leadership role at Sacred Heart. One of his first goals is to reach out to the people of St. Joseph’s Church. He realizes how difficult it has been for them to have their parish closed and wants them to feel very welcome at Sacred Heart. Father also wants to strengthen the pre- and post- confirmation programs for youth groups. Father especially enjoys dealing with high school students’ creativity and enthusiasm. Another area of interest for him is the “Catholics Come Home” project that welcomes back to the church those who have left their religion or parish. Maintenance projects for the parish will take his attention also. These include HVAC systems and a new roof for Father Ted Hall.
“I am sitting in Father Ted’s chair and it is surreal,” exclaimed Father Joe as he shared his respect for his former mentor and his plans for the future of the parish. With all his plans for Sacred Heart and his willingness to reach out to people, let’s hope that he has time to enjoy his own interests and unbox his treasured model trains. Welcome to Suffield and to Sacred Heart Parish, Father Joe!