BOSTON – Sen. Edward Kennedy's family marked the anniversary of his death in Massachusetts with a Mass and the renaming of a community health center in his honor Wednesday.
Family members including Kennedy's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, attended a memorial Mass at Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville near their Cape Cod home. Kennedy's son Edward Kennedy Jr. spoke later in Worcester at the renaming of the health center.
Kennedy said his father helped create the community health center movement around the country and always felt a close connection to the push to deliver health care to those most in need.
"He really was the most proud of his association with the community health center movement," Kennedy said during the ceremony under a drizzling sky. "Rather than being a reminder of his loss, it's actually been very comforting and gratifying to know that he really touched so many people in so many ways."
The senator died a year ago at age 77 from brain cancer. He had spent 47 years in the Senate.
The year since Kennedy's death has seen big changes in the political landscape of Massachusetts and in the Kennedy family.
Kennedy's other son, U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat from Rhode Island, who checked himself into rehab in June 2009, has had a tumultuous year.
Last fall, he got into a public spat with Providence Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin following Kennedy's criticism of the church's opposition to health care overhaul legislation over abortion funding. That began a weeks-long argument with Tobin culminating in the revelation that the bishop had asked Kennedy in 2007 to stop taking Holy Communion because of the Catholic congressman's support for abortion rights.
In February, Patrick Kennedy said he would not seek a ninth term in Congress after spending roughly half his life in elected office.
In Massachusetts, the race to fill Kennedy's Senate seat ended in a surprise when a Republican Scott Brown defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in part by pledging to vote against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Kennedy had called the expansion of health care his life's work.
"I have great respect for his service to our state," Brown told reporters Wednesday. "My feelings and thoughts go out to the Kennedy family."