Date of death: 9/30/2020
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1977
Rev. Sir Kieran Kleczewski, Ph.D., 70, of Buckeye Arizona, left us to be with his Lord on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. His passing resulted from a stroke. Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin as the child of John and Ursula Kleczewski.He graduated from St. Meinrad Archabbey, a seminary and 4-year college in Indiana in1972 and continued at the Archabbey to complete his theological studies. Fr. Kieran was ordained a Roman Catholic priest with the Order of Saint Benedict in 1978. After his ordination, he remained at St. Meinrad as a teacher and eventually became the Dean of Admissions. During his time at St. Meinrad, Fr. Kieran received a master’s degree from Indiana University and both master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
He returned to Phoenix and was incardinated into the Phoenix Diocese in 1997. His assignments included St. Joseph Catholic Church in the East Valley and the Newman Center at Northern Arizona University before becoming the Pastor of the original St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Litchfield Park. He was known for his visionary thinking and was credited with expanding parishioner bases and church renovations where he was assigned. His leadership and vision resulted in the building of the largest Catholic church in Arizona, along with its new elementary school, St. Thomas Aquinas in Avondale, replacing the original church in Litchfield Park. During his tenure at the church, the parish grew from a very small church to 5,200 families. In recent years, at his request, Fr. Kieran was assigned to St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Sedona.
Fr. Kieran’s noted accomplishments at the church and school include raising funds to develop both the Science and Art labs, commissioned all sacred art in the church, had the vision to create the children’s choir. He created and implemented a mission trip to Santa Fe for 8th graders to teach the importance of Padre Kino’s influence on establishing Catholicism in the Southwest. The 5-day trip is now an annual event.
He received the rare honor of being Knighted as “Sir” Kieran Kleczewski by The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, a worldwide renowned Catholic order of knighthood. The honor was conferred by the Papal Court and is bestowed upon individuals of irreproachable character who promote the society, the Church, and the Holy See.
Fr. Kieran served in advisory roles to both Bishop Thomas O’Brien and the current Bishop of the Phoenix Diocese, Bishop Thomas James Olmsted. He also was the Director of Office Worship for the diocese and served on the Diocesan Liturgical Building Commission. He and his committee created the sacred music curriculum for the Diocese of Phoenix.
He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Ursula and John Kleczewski. He is survived by his sister, Jeanette Reavis; his brother, Jim Kleczewski and his wife Carol, his niece, Kelsey Reavis; and his grand-nephew, Adam Reavis.