Three to be ordained to transitional diaconate, one to permanent diaconate

      Managing Editor

On the evening of Friday, April 12, Bishop Thomas John Paprocki will ordain  three seminarians to the transitional diaconate, along with one man to the permanent diaconate, for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, during the Diaconate Ordination at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Charles Delano, Stefan Kaniewski, and Ryan Kehoe will be ordained transitional deacons, with the anticipation of being ordained to the priesthood in 2025.  David Beach will be ordained to the permanent diaconate during that same Mass. 

A few weeks ago, these four men took time to share their thoughts and feelings about their ordinations.  Here’s what they had to say:


Charles Delano

Charles Delano, who grew up at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Springfield but now calls St. Katherine Drexel in Springfield his home parish, is currently a seminarian at St. Meinrad Seminary.  He attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School and Springfield High School, both in Springfield, and went on to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He has served pastoral internships at Holy Angels in Wood River in 2020, St. Thomas in Newton (both in 2021 and in 2022, for his immersion), and last summer at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, while in residence at St. Dominic Priory.

Even though he thought about becoming a priest while he was still in grade school, it was while he was at SIUE that Delano began seriously considering that vocation. “I remember first being interested in becoming a priest as a student at Blessed Sacrament. I remember serving at Mass, watching the priest confect the Eucharist, and wanting to do that, too,” he said. “I was in eucharistic adoration at my Newman Center  and felt God calling me to be a priest. That voice never went away, even when I wasn’t interested in listening to it. But the end of my time at SIUE, I was ready to follow God’s call and enter seminary.”

Delano considers several priests to be his mentors. “During college Father (Patrick) Gibbons and Father (Donald) Wolford encouraged me to apply for seminary. I lived with Father Wolford during the beginning of the pandemic and helped start a social media platform for the parish,” he said. “When I entered seminary, Father Peter Chineke was a deacon. He’s helped me to learn how to be a seminarian and inspires me to be a holy priest. I often go to these priests when I have questions about theology and ministry.”

Because he also has great respect for Father Dean Probst, Delano has requested that  Father Probst vest him at his ordination. “Father Dean loves being a priest and being with his people. Over my summer with him, I saw Father Dean constantly visiting people’s homes, going to hospitals, and leading local pilgrimages,” he said. “We began every day in prayer together and ended most days playing cards and talking before Compline. His witness strengthened my vocation and makes me want to be a holy priest.”

Delano is the son of Chip and Erika Delano.  He has three siblings: Mary, Tim, and Julia Delano. 

Stefan Kaniewski

A native of Poland, born in 1995, Stefan Kaniewski now calls St. Paul in Highland his home parish.  Growing up, he attended private elementary school with the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in Warsaw, and middle and high school at a private Catholic school named St. Stanislaus Kostka in Plock. He then moved on to a major metropolitan seminary in Warsaw. Recently, he has been in a pastoral internship at Our Lady of Lourdes in Decatur.

Kaniewski first thought of a vocation to the priesthood as a youngster, and by the time he was in his later teens, he had made an important decision. “My first thoughts appeared in junior high school, but I actually made the decision in the last semester of high school,” he said, “and then I submitted documents to the seminary.”

Since he has been in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Kaniewski says God has “blessed him with three wonderful priests” who have been his mentors. Those priests are Father Piotr Kosk, Father John Titus, and Father Michael Friedel. 

He has chosen Father Friedel, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, to vest him at his ordination to the diaconate. “I spent a pastoral year with him, and he is an important person on the path of my vocation,” he said.

Kaniewski is the son of  Renta Stefańska-Kaniewska and the late Stefan Kaniewski. He has a brother, Artur Stefański, and a sister, Izabela Bednarek. 

Ryan Kehoe

Springfield native Ryan Kehoe grew up in and calls St. Aloysius in Springfield his home parish. He was homeschooled throughout grade school and high school and then attended Lincoln Land Community College before entering Bishop Simon Brutè College Seminary.  He is currently studying at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis. He also did an internship with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Decatur.

Kehoe says he first felt moved to become a priest while in eucharistic adoration. “I first felt the Lord inviting me to seminary one night while praying in the adoration chapel at Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield.  I had no intention at that time to go to seminary, but the Lord sparked a very clear desire for priesthood in my heart,” he said.

“After several months of prayer and thought, I decided I should go to seminary.  Although it was a difficult decision and I was very nervous, the joy of seminary life quickly helped me feel at home,” he said. “Over time, the Lord helped me to see more and more clearly that I should continue my formation and discernment, and through the years He has confirmed and deepened my vocation. A particular grace that God has given me in the past year of preparation for ordination has been to see clearly how God can guide people with His grace. He has done this for me in seminary and I’m sure He will continue to do so.”  

Kehoe is in the unique situation of being able to ask his grandfather, Deacon Ben Hoefler, to vest him at his ordination. “I have been blessed to have his example of service as a deacon and of discipleship as a Christian man,” he said. “His example has helped to guide me in my life and seminary formation. Because of all this, I asked him to vest me as a small thank you to him for the blessing he has been to me, and to this diocese.”

When it comes to mentors, Kehoe says he also has been blessed. “Before seminary, many people in my family have guided me, most significantly my parents, grandparents, and a few of my uncles. Since seminary I’ve had many good priests who’ve helped me: Father Brian Alford, Father Michael Friedel, Father Rob Johnson, and the priests of the seminaries I have attended have been especially good friends and mentors to me.”

Kehoe is the son of Janet and Stephen Kehoe. He has six siblings: David Kehoe, Erin Dilworth, Anne Kehoe, Kevin Kehoe, Steven Kehoe, and Rose Kehoe.

Permanent deacon

David Beach

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception parishioner David Keith Beach is also looking forward to his ordination on April 12.  Born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, 65-year-old Beach grew up in Lansing, Mich. He completed a bachelor’s degree in economics and English from the University of Michigan. He then received his master’s  in moral theology from Holy Apostles College and concurrently received his certification in bioethics from the National Bioethics Center.

Currently the Chief Human Resources Officer for the Hospital Sisters Health System, he previously  held executive Human Resources roles at Meijer stores for 28 years and at Spectrum Health (now Corewell Health) for five years. “I have been in my current roles with the Hospital Sisters Health System since 2015, when we relocated to Springfield from Grand Rapids, Mich.,” he said.

Beach felt a calling to religious life when he was just 6 or 7 years old. “That calling has never left me,” he said.  After college and marriage, he wanted to pursue formation for the diaconate, but his career moves kept that goal out of reach for quite a while.  “I had just entered the formation program that had recently begun in Grand Rapids, Mich., when I accepted this role at Hospital Sisters. Fortunately, I was able to join the cohort for the diaconate program here in Springfield in 2017.”

Beach says while in this diocese, he has had many mentors. One of the first priests he met in Springfield was Father Richard Chiola, who has been his spiritual director throughout diaconate formation, and who will vest him at his ordination. Others who have played key roles are Deacon David Sorrell, Msgr. David Hoefler, Father Brian Alford, and priests at the Cathedral where he has done his pastoral formation. He also names Father Augustine Puchner of the Norbertine Fathers as a mentor, as well as Sister Jomary Trstensky and Sister Maureen O’Connor of the Hospital Sisters “who have been tremendous sources of spiritual support, prayers, and guidance.” He adds that his brothers in formation to the diaconate also have been a source of support.

“The Holy Spirit has clearly been at work through so many people in my life and continues to guide me,” he said. “I have been truly blessed.”

Beach is married to Mary, who is an attorney.  They are the parents of four grown children: Tristan, who is a journalist living in Liverpool, England; Trevor, who is the director of Evangelization at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Milwaukee; Victoria, who is clinical psychologist at the V.A. in Milwaukee; and Travis, who works as a senior analyst and is studying French in Paris, France.  “We have four, soon to be five, grandchildren all ranging from a newborn due in May, to a 4-year-old,” he said. Beach is the second oldest of five children and his mother is 95 years old and lives in Lansing, Mich.

Note: Look for more coverage of the Diaconate Ordination in the April 28 issue of Catholic Times.