June 11, 1937 - September 27, 2019


The Most Reverend John Francis Kinney, age 82, died September 27, 2019, at Quiet Oaks Hospice in St. Augusta, Minnesota.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 5 at the Cathedral of St. Mary in St. Cloud, Minnesota, with The Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis presiding. Burial will be at Assumption Cemetery in St. Cloud.

Visitation will be on Friday from 2:30 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10:45 at the Cathedral. A vigil service will be held at 7 p.m. Friday evening.

Bishop Kinney was born June 11, 1937, in Oelwein, Iowa, to John and Marie (McCarty) Kinney. He graduated from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis and held a bachelor’s degree from St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul and a doctorate in canon law from Lateran University in Rome.

He was ordained to the priesthood February 2, 1963, at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul by The Most Reverend Leo Binz. Bishop Kinney served in several positions in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, including nine years as chancellor. On November 16, 1976, Pope Paul VI named him an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese. The Most Reverend John Roach of St. Paul and Minneapolis ordained him a bishop January 25, 1977. Bishop Kinney served there as auxiliary bishop from 1977 to 1982.

On June 28, 1982, Pope John Paul II named him the bishop of Bismarck, North Dakota. He was installed August 23, 1982. On May 9, 1995, Pope John Paul II named him the eighth bishop of St. Cloud. He was installed July 6, 1995.

While serving as bishop in Bismarck and St. Cloud, Bishop Kinney wrote six pastoral letters on liturgy, youth, AIDS, sacrament of penance, sacrament of marriage and social justice.

He was a member of numerous committees and boards, including Catholic Relief Services’ board of directors from 1993 to 1998. He initiated the partnership between the Diocese of Saint Cloud and Diocese of Homa Bay in Kenya in 1999. The diocesan relationship with Maracay, Venezuela, established in 1963, became a Global Solidarity Partnership under Bishop Kinney’s leadership.

In 1993, the then-National Conference of Catholic Bishops appointed him to chair an Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse.

Bishop Kinney’s retirement was effective upon The Most Reverend Donald Kettler’s installation as bishop of the diocese on November 7, 2013. During his retirement Bishop Kinney lived at the Speltz House in Sauk Rapids and remained an avid reader.

Bishop Kinney is survived by his nephews Tom and Steve Kinney; and grandnieces and nephews Taylor (her mother, Jodi), Stephanie, Alex, Natasha, AJ, and Ethan. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Bernard, sister-in-law Helen, and nephew James.

Arrangements were made by Daniel Funeral Home in St. Cloud. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Catholic Relief Services, c/o Diocese of Saint Cloud, P.O. Box 1248, St. Cloud, MN 56302.