Father Robert Connolly was born on August 15,1942, to Dr. James and Kathryn Connolly. He was born third of four children; Kaycee, the eldest, James, the firstborn son, and Michael, the youngest of the four.
Father grew up in Pittsburgh, attending St. Margaret Grade School in Greentree and graduating from South Hills Catholic School in 1960. He then entered Christian Brother Novitiate. In 1964, Father graduated from LaSalle College and spent the next ten years working with juvenile offenders in Philadelphia. While in Philadelphia, Father completed post-graduate studies at St. Joseph University, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova, and Temple University.
In 1975, Father became a guidance counselor, assistant football coach and basketball coach at Bishop Walsh High School in Cumberland, MD.
He began studies at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, in 1976, and was ordained a deacon by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, serving the St. Canice Parish in Pittsburgh's Knoxville neighborhood. Father Connolly was ordained as a priest in 1979 at St. Bernard Church in Mount Lebanon, followed by an uplifting career serving the wonderful and embracing communities listed below.
1979-1985: Assistant Pastor of Blessed Sacrament in Natrona Heights.
1985-1989: Pastor of St. Alphonsus in Springdale.
1989-1991: Pastor of St. Sylvester in Brentwood.
1991-1995: Chaplain at California University of Pennsylvania.
1995-1996: Assistant pastor of Nativity Church in South Park.
1996-1998: Vice-Rector of St. Paul Seminary in Crafton.
1998-2004: Pastor of St. Mary in Cecil.
2004-2012: Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Burgettstown.
In August 2012, Father retired to a humble home on family property in Beaver County.
At age 11, Father Connolly was introduced to the martial arts and continually trained and instructed for the rest of his life. He founded the Se-Jong Tae Kwon Do Martial Arts Educational System in the late 1970's as a free, non-profit school designed to enrich his students' mental and physical well-being through spirituality, meditation, and training. Father would start a Se-Jong school at each of his parishes, and when he transferred to his next parish, his senior students would continue that school and train further students under his system. Many of the schools Father started, and schools his black belt students opened, are still in operation today. All operate as non-profit with free classes. Father Connolly's martial arts system has been in operation for over forty years and has had a profound impact and positive influence on his 210 black belts and the many thousands of martial arts students trained under his system.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Se-Jong Tae Kwon Do Martial Arts Educational System. A PayPal donation link is available at www.sejongtkd.org, or please send donations to 1921 Winfield Road, Worthington, PA 16262.
Walk-through viewing at 11:15 a.m. and church services at noon will be held at Mary Queen of Peace Parish- St. Mary of the Mount Church, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the church is limited to 150 persons. Facial masks and social distancing are required. To aid in viewership, St. Mary of the Mount will offer a livestream of the service at https://tinyurl.com/42nx6ty7 or https://popsmm.org/livestream-mass-and-prayer
WILLIAM SLATER II FUNERAL SERVICE, Scott Twp., entrusted with Father Connolly's arrangements. www.slaterfuneral.com