Canon W. R. O'Keeffe
Coronation Day had a sad side for the congregation of All Saints', Stourbridge, for on that day they lost by death their revered parish priest, Canon William Rowley O'Keeffe. It is not only in Stourbridge that his death will be mourned. but throughout the Birmingham archdiocese, particularly in Cannock, where the late Canon spent twenty-seven years of his priestly life.
Canon O'Keeffe, born in 1864, was the son of the late Alderman O'Keeffe, J.P., of Hanley. Staffs. He received his education at Cotton College, at Douai, Olton, and Oscott. After his ordination in 1891, he was for two years at Hanley, and then began the long and fruitful connection with St. Mary's, Cannock. lie had not been many years there when he established an offshoot at Hednesford, where to-day there is a parish of six hundred souls. with a spacious new church opened a few years ago.
When, in 1920, Canon O'Keeffe was asked to transfer to another field, as Rector at Stourbridgc, he began another long spell of work, continuing with zeal the particular activities which had marked his ministry in the neighbouring county. Again he became a founder. This time he was to see three places successively, opened-up for Mass: Lye (1923), Clent (1926), and Kinver (1935). Here, too. he maintained the work, always dear to him, of cultivating among working men and boys proficiency in singing the Church's music. love for the Holy Eucharist made him prominent as an organizer of local Eucharistic Congresses. His enthusiasm in these and other good causes was infectious. Where he led, his parishioners gladly followed: In the archdiocese he was chairman of the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress Committee and of the Liturgical Commission.
Since 1920, Canon O'Keeffe had been head of the Deanery. He was made a member of the Birmingham Metropolitan Chapter three years ago.