John McKenna, who served the Diocese as moderator for the Catholic Athletes for Christ Program, and was longtime faculty member in Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, died June 21 in Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia. He was 67.

Funeral services will be held June 25 in St. John the Baptist Church, 1282 Yardville-Allentown Road, Allentown. Viewing will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at which time a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

Upon learning of Mr. McKenna’s death, a tribute was posted on the Notre Dame High School website saying, “Our hearts were broken as we learned the profoundly sad news that our beloved Coach John McKenna has been called back to God’s Kingdom. John was an exceptional husband, father, teacher, coach and person. A man of great faith, he cared deeply about the well-being and success of each and every student, faculty member and staff person at Notre Dame.”

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. McKenna was a long time Hamilton area resident and was a graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology. After working for many years as a police officer with the Falls Township Police Department, he joined Notre Dame High School where he first served as a football coach and then as a strength and conditioning coach, responsible for training all physical education classes and teams in and out of season.

Mr. McKenna’s passion for training and coaching led him to become active with many Church and community associations including as the moderator of Catholic Athletes for Christ for the Diocese which  supports seven core virtues integral to faith and sports: charity, honesty, humility, meekness, moderation, purity and good sportsmanship. In the Diocese of Trenton, the mission of the CAC “is to forge a strong Catholic life within school, family and community by uniting Catholic leaders and student-athletes to enliven the faith of each, and bring authentically Catholic teaching through Scripture, catechism and the celebration of the Sacraments.”

In one of many interviews with The Monitor, the diocesan newspaper and its website,, Mr. McKenna spoke of his work with student-athletes and how he tries to help them be mindful of the role faith has in their lives.

“We are all warriors for Christ, and we are warriors for the right thing — to send the message,” he said. “We are here to spread the Word.”

On a national level, Mr. McKenna was a member of the board of directors for the National High School Strength Coaches Association and many of his achievements were honored over the years. In 2002, he was named as one of the AFLAC National Assistant Coaches of the Year and was inducted into many halls of fame including the NHSSCA, the NJ Scholastic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Delaware Valley Chapter of National Football Hall of Fame, the Sports Faith International Hall of Fame and the Notre Dame High School Hall of Fame.

In addition to sports accolades, Mr. McKenna had received the State of New Jersey Civilian Commendation Medal from the N.J. National Guard, and honors from the Trenton Fire Department for his service to these organizations. Mr. McKenna John was an active member of St. John the Baptist Parish.

Mr. McKenna was predeceased by his parents, J. Donald and Lois McKenna. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Charyl McKenna; his four children, Heather (Matt) Homa, Kelly Darcey, C.J. McKenna and his fiancée Amanda Placko, and Lindsey (Matt) Diamond; nine grandchildren; a sister, and his large extended Notre Dame family, and many friends.

Mr. McKenna will be buried in St. John the Baptist Parish cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donation in Mr. McKenna’s name may be made to the Diocese of Trenton – Catholic Athletes for Christ at the Diocese of Trenton Chancery, 701 Lawrenceville Rd., Lawrenceville, N.J. 08648.