Richard Quinn-Biography

Father Richard James Quinn was born on September 27, 1926 in Passaic, New Jersey, son of William John and Mary Holland Quinn. He has four brothers and one sister. Richard attended St. Paul’s Grammar School and graduated from Pope Pius XII High School in Passaic. He entered Maryknoll Apostolic College (Venard), Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania on July 2, 1945. At Maryknoll Seminary in Ossining, New York, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in June 1949, his Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in June 1953 and his Master of Religious Education degree in June 1954. Richard was ordained a priest in Annunciation Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Motherhouse, Ossining on June 12, 1954.

Following his ordination, Father Quinn was assigned to the Maryknoll Mission Region in Musoma, Tanganyika, East Africa. After learning the Kengoreme language he was appointed Assistant Pastor of the Iramba Parish for one year and then appointed Pastor of the same parish. As a vigorous priest he was a good builder, organizer and administrator. Upon completing his Kiswahili language course in Moshi, Tanzania, he was assigned to Tarime Parish for nine months. Then in 1962 he was made Pastor of the Komuge Parish where he remained until 1971. He was proficient in the Kisimbeti language. He formed the Mara Jazz Band which was #1 on the music charts for one year in East Africa.

After one semester of core Theology at Maryknoll, New York, Father Quinn was assigned to build a new parish called Kebirigo in Kisii, Kenya. He immediately saw the diocesan need for a Lay Leadership Community Training Center which would offer both pastoral and socio-economic courses. It was the first Diocesan Pastoral Center in Kenya and Father Quinn named it the Viongozi Senta (Leadership Center). More than forty short courses were offered to both religious and lay leaders. Three months of each year were dedicated to youth courses. Of this period Father Quinn says, “I now knew how to evangelize as well as catechetize and sacramentalize. For seven years in the Kisii Highlands I proved that our lay people, if honestly formed, can do wonders. In fact without them today, the Church is limping.”

It was while running this busy center that Father Quinn saw the need for developing audio-visual pastoral tools. This eventually led him into the video ministry. During a Sabbatical year in 1979-1980, Father Quinn participated in two mission renewal programs; one at Maryknoll Seminary and the second at the Vatican II Institute in Menlo Park, California. His final studies were in video production at the University of Missouri for eight weeks. He took a second production course in 1982 at Fordham University, Bronx, New York.

For twenty-three years Fr. Quinn has been the Director of Ukweli Video Productions under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Nairobi. More than 90 video documentaries, plays, and docu-dramas have been produced, with 60 having a strong pastoral message. Every corner of Africa has heard about Ukweli Video Productions, and many have been shown on television stations worldwide. Ukweli Video Productions is now Africanized, with a staff of 15. Father Quinn is presently involved in forming Lay Evangelizing Teams in Kenya.