Reverend Monsignor Doctor Kenneth Steffen, PH, KHS, DMIN, MA, MDIV, JCL
The 5th child of 15 children born to the late Delbert and Alma Steffen, Msgr. Steffen is a native of Effingham, IL. He was ordained a priest on May 26, 1984 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He received his associate’s degree from the Diocesan Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and Springfield College in Illinois. He holds his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College in St. Louis, both his Masters of divinity degree and theology degree from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, and holds a Doctorate of ministry in law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
In August 2013, the Bishop was looking for an “ole” monsignor to fill in a vacancy at The Historical Saints Peter and Paul Proto-Cathedral, as the named priest was unable to fulfill his assignment. Monsignor Steffen accepted the Bishop’s request, while continuing to be the Chaplain for two hospitals, St. Anthony of Padua and St. Clare’s Hospitals in Alton, Illinois from 2011-2014, as well as the Chaplain and Spiritual Director for the Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George Congregation located in Alton, Illinois. He serves as chaplain of the Filipino, Hispanic Communities and the 4th Degree of Knights of Columbus, and is the Pastoral Director for the Hospice Program of the above mentioned hospitals. In addition to the aforementioned duties, he also serves as an adjutant judicial vicar, judge, defender of the bond in the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois since 1983, serves on various boards and committees of the two hospitals he serves. He is the Confessor and Spiritual Director for the Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr Saint George and Ursuline Sisters in Alton, Illinois.
On May 26, 2009, he celebrated his Silver Anniversary of Holy Priesthood. Over the years of his priesthood, he has served as parochial vicar at Little Flower Parish in Springfield and St. Agnes Parish in Springfield, Sacramental priest to St. Joseph in Buffalo, Visitation in Illiopolis and St. Anne in Niantic parishes, pastor of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Marine and St. James the Greater Parish in St. Jacob, co-pastor of St. James Parish in Riverton and St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Springfield, Visitation Parish and St. Anne Parish. He was also adjutant judicial vicar in the Office for the Tribunal, director of the Family Life Specialization and adjunct director of the Tribunal Advocacy Specialization in the Lay Ministry Formation Program for 23 years.
He served as chaplain for the Springfield Catholic Medical Association, co-chaplain of the Riverton Knights of Columbus, episcopal vicar for matrimonial concerns, diocesan director of pilgrimages, and chaplain of St. Patrick Catholic School in Springfield, Illinois. During the Jubilee Year, he served as Director of Pilgrimages.
He was procurator/advocate, defender of the Bond and diocesan judge for the Office for the Tribunal, served on the Priests’ Personnel Board, the Annual Catholic Services Appeal steering committee, the diocesan Hispanic Ministry Committee and the presbyteral council where he served two years as chairperson. He is a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and is a member of the Canon Law Society of America.
His Holiness Pope John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor in 2003. “I was surprised and humbled by the announcement of the bestowal of the Prelate of Honor. When Bishop Lucas called me, I thought he was going to assign me another parish making it a perfect number seven, as I had ministered in six churches already.”
“I would like to dedicate the papal recognition I received to my family who planted and nurtured the seed of my vocation to priesthood - especially to my great-aunt, Sister Joseph Jansen OSF; to her brother Father Joseph Jansen SVD who served in China and New Guinea; to my father Delbert Steffen who dedicated me to God at an early age to consider priesthood; to my mother Alma, who with her husband passed on to me the great gift of faith by practicing it in their daily life, to my brothers and sisters who reinforced that faith and vocational call by their prayers and commitment to their own calling and to my godmother, Alice Hoene, who prayed that one of her 200 nieces and nephews would become a priest or religious (as I was the only one who was called to the priesthood). Finally to parishioners of St. Mary Help of Christians, Green Creek and pastor - Father Colavecchio, whose first assignment was as parochial vicar of Saints Peter and Paul and later served as my pastor for nearly 40 years, celebrating with me many of the sacraments of the church.”
“This papal honor is a recognition to be shared with all the wonderful parishes and ministries I have had the privilege to serve since my ordination to priesthood in 1984. Thanks also to the groups I have served as chaplain and to my collaborators in the diocesan curia where I serve, particularly in the tribunal and family life ministry.”
“Msgr. Steffen is a dedicated priest, hardworking and intelligent,” said Bishop George Lucas. “He is certainly well respected by those who collaborate with him and who receive his pastoral services.”