I entered the Church in 1979, at age 38, one year after I came to faith, and the very same year Fr. Elias founded the Association of Hebrew Catholics. The next seven years would prove to be very difficult, as my entrance into the Church became the occasion for the gradual dissolution of my marriage.
But God had his plans. Within a couple of years following my entrance, I established Highland Catholic Books for the purpose of getting orthodox Catholic literature into parish bookracks. In the process of contacting various publishers, I wrote to the Center for Family Catechetics. This Center, anticipating the current home schooling movement, was run by Msgr. Kevane to provide parents with orthodox catechetical material.
Having learned of my Jewish background, Msgr. was convinced that our meeting was providential. He took me under his wing and helped me as I worked my way through Fr. Elias’ thesis in the manuscript of Jewish Identity.
Under his guidance, a study group was formed in New York City. It was Msgr.’s orthodoxy, his fidelity to the Magisterium, the clarity of his thinking, his Christian charity, and his union of mind and heart with Fr. Elias, that guided us through those early days.
On a personal level, Msgr.’s faith and strength, his masculine Christianity, helped me to cope with the deterioration of my marriage. I shall be eternally grateful that our Lord gave this new-born Christian such wonderful mentors in the faith as Msgr. Kevane and Fr. Elias.
Msgr. Kevane had been unsuccessful in finding a Catholic publisher for Jewish Identity. After much discussion, Msgr. suggested that I establish a Hebrew Catholic press. I knew nothing of book publishing, nor did I have any financial resources. Once again, it was Msgr.’s great faith and conviction in the correctness of Fr. Elias’ thesis, that encouraged this poor servant.
Nonetheless, with my marriage ended and now in great debt, I would not risk my children’s future. So, I asked our Lord for some sign that this was in fact what He was calling me to. I agreed to borrow the $4,000 needed to typeset Jewish Identity. But without some sign, I would end my involvement at that point.
Contributions began to pour in, from what stimulus, I knew not. When the typesetting was complete and the bill had to be paid, I looked at our bank account: there was $4,200 in the bank and I had my sign.
And the contributions continued. The production of this book and subsequent advertising consumed more than $15,000 – all paid for by contributions, including more than $1,000 from Msgr. himself. Thus, The Miriam Press was formed and Jewish Identity was published in 1987. I believe that without Msgr.’s spiritual and practical counsel, all this would not have come to pass.
Msgr. Kevane continued to support and guide our group in New York. He also contributed to our efforts in a series of articles for our newsletter, under the banner Heritage of Faith.
It has been my great privilege and honor, to have known and worked with Msgr. Eugene Kevane, a holy priest of God. I hope to meet him again and know that he continues to intercede for the Church, the AHC and for the Jewish people.
On January 11, 1994, Msgr. sent me the following statement, to be used when introducing ourselves to members of the hierarchy and others.
To Whom it May Concern:
After many years of close observation, I hereby attest to the Catholic orthodoxy of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, and of David Moss, who conducts its affairs. He works with the constant intention of communion with the Holy See of St. Peter.
Sincerely in Christ
(signed) Rev. Msgr. Eugene Kevane.