Celebrating Alumni Clergy Members During Catholic Schools Week

Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States which runs for a full week beginning the last Sunday in January. This year, Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated from January 28- February 3, 2018.

As a part of Catholic Schools Week this year Bishop Grimes would like to honor, thank and acknowledge alumni clergy members. If you know of a Bishop Grimes alumni who is a member of the clergy and is not listed below, please email aschad@syrdiocese.org.


Late alumnus, Deacon Thomas Kane ’70

Tom was the second of four children born to John and Jean Kane.  He grew up on the north side of Syracuse.  He attended and was graduated from St. John the Baptist Elementary School, Bishop Grimes High School Class of 1970, and Le Moyne College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.  He went on to earn a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Chapman University.  He was married to Sandra Rougeau Kane, also from the class of 1970, and the father of a son, Sean and a daughter, Lauren.

Tom was employed for twenty-five years at Charles Haller Enterprises and held the position of Operations Manager.  He was later employed as a buyer at Onondaga Community College for nine years.

Tom found satisfaction in volunteering his time and talents.  He enjoyed working with the Boy Scouts for over twenty-five years and during some of that time, he held the position of Scout Master for Troop 223 in Eastwood.  He also coached for Lincoln Salem Little League.  But one of Tom’s greatest joys was volunteering at St. Daniel Church.  He taught religious education classes from the elementary level to the pre-confirmation and confirmation levels.  He was also the minister for the youth group for several years.  These experiences led him to want to serve the Lord so he applied to enter the Permanent Deaconate.  After several years of study and preparation, Tom was ordained by Bishop Cunningham on May 15, 2010, as a Permanent Deacon.  This was one of his greatest accomplishments.  He continued to serve at St. Daniel Parish and also ministered to some of the elderly and shut-ins by bringing them the Holy Eucharist on a monthly basis until his death in November 2016.


Reverend Stephen P. Wirkes ’72

Father Wirkes attended St. Margaret’s School in Mattydale K-8; attended Bishop Grimes and graduated in 1972, attended Le Moyne College (living at Aquinas House of Studies- off Campus) which was a College Seminary (now closed); went on to St. Bernard’s Major Seminary in Rochester, NY and was ordained a Priest for the Diocese of Syracuse on October 25, 1980.

He shares, “I have always been a Parish Priest and am presently Pastor of St. Agatha’s in Canastota, St. Mary of the Lake in Verona Beach and St. John’s in North Bay.

Going to St. Margaret’s School began my journey to priesthood. The priests were always around at events, in the classroom, etc. I admired them as heroes who gave their entire lives to serving God and His people and thought, “I want to do that.” During my time at BG we had the Marist priests doing the same, and I began to feel the strong tug of God that I might become a priest. I spoke about this regularly with my Parish Priest, Fr. Jack Ahern, and shared my doubts and questions (Celibacy, Obedience, etc.). He gave me the best advice ever by pointing out:” You don’t have to know for sure if you have a Vocation when you enter Seminary that is why it takes 8 years. If you do have a vocation you will blossom and know God is calling. If you discern that priesthood is not for you, you will not have wasted time, you will have learned how to pray, learned about Scripture, etc., and made lifelong friends. Try it, Steve, otherwise, you will never know if God is calling you”.

“That was enough for me, so I tried it…I applied, was accepted and here I am!”


Reverend John Kiselica ’74

Alumnus, Reverend John Kiselica ’74 was ordained a priest on June 23, 1984. He was appointed Administrator of St. Anthony Parish in Belleville, Michigan effective September 1, 2017, after serving on the faculty of De La Salle High School in Warren, Michigan.

He shares, “I always hoped to return to Grimes as a priest and teacher one day … but my superiors had other plans. I was sent to southeast Michigan following my ordination and have lived out here ever since. During the past 33 years, I’ve taught in a number of all-boy high schools, first with the Marist Fathers and later as a priest of Archdiocese of Detroit. After working with adolescents for 34 years, I decided at the end of last school year to put in for a parish assignment.”

Reverend Kiselica says, “Grimes has and will continue to hold a special place in my heart because, growing up, as far back as I can remember, I had always dreamed of becoming either a priest or a teacher one day. It was at Grimes that I first met a priest (Fr. Richard Cronin, SM) who was one of my history teachers. He immediately became my inspiration and my mentor, following his footsteps into the Marist Seminary, Boston College, and the rest is history.”


Reverend Clarence F. Rumble ’74

Father Clarence F. Rumble was ordained on June 7, 1986.  Father Clarence’s home parish is Our Lady of Pompei in Syracuse. After graduating from Bishop Grimes High School in 1974, he attended OCC and St. John Fisher College in Rochester. He completed his seminary work at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.  His first priestly assignment was as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Utica. In 1991 he was transferred to St. Anthony’s in Endicott to serve as associate pastor until 1996. He served at St. Anthony’s as pastor until 2008 when he became pastor of Church of the Holy Family in Endwell. In 2010 he co-founded Mercy House of the Southern Tier, a home for the terminally ill.


Reverend Christopher Celentano ’97

Father Christopher Celentano was born and raised in Syracuse, New York.  He is the youngest of 3 children to Deacon Joseph and Diane Celentano. After graduating from Bishop Grimes he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Sport Management from Ithaca College in 2001, he spent one season working for a minor league baseball team in the South Atlantic League.

In 2002 Father Celentano entered St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore to study for the priesthood.  He earned a Masters of Divinity and was ordained a priest in 2008. Father Celentano attributes the daily interaction with priests and religious at Bishop Grimes as a positive influence in fostering his openness to the priesthood. He currently serves as pastor of Divine Mercy Parish and the Mission of St. Bernadette in the Diocese of Syracuse. Father Celentano also is a member of the Bishop Grimes Board of Trustees.


Reverend Christopher R. Seibt ’03

Father Christopher R. Seibt is a graduate of the former Saint Daniel School and an alumnus of Bishop Grimes Jr. / Sr. High School (’03).  After attending Le Moyne College for two years, Fr. Seibt began his formation for the priesthood at Theological College Seminary at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from which he obtained degrees in both philosophy (Ph.L) and theology. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Syracuse on June 1st, 2013. After ordination, Fr. Seibt returned to the Catholic University of America where he completed a licentiate in Sacramental Theology (S.T.L.). He then served as the parochial vicar of St. Rose of Lima Church in North Syracuse and later as the parochial vicar of The Parish of Saints John and Andrew in Binghamton.  From 2015 until 2017 he was an active member of the Bishop Grimes Board of Trustees until he was appointed by Bishop Cunningham to return to the Catholic University of America for studies in Canon Law.

When asked how Bishop Grimes influenced his decision to become a priest, Fr. Seibt said, “The solid formation that I received in the Catholic faith at Bishop Grimes as well as the intense academic setting in which I received it helped me to continue to hear God’s voice calling me to serve him and his Church as a priest, a voice that I first heard when I was in third grade.”  He continued, “The many wonderful teachers and administrators at Bishop Grimes were outstanding role models, not only teaching me what faith is all about but also showing me how to live it.”  Finally, he said, “I am deeply grateful to Bishop Grimes for playing such a pivotal role in my discernment.  My life as a priest, living, and handing on the faith that I received from the Scriptures and Tradition of the Church through various people, classes, and opportunities at Bishop Grimes, is filled with deep happiness and joy.  I pray that all those who continue to be a part of the mission of this school will encounter Christ in the context of his Church and experience the many blessings it brings in this life and one day, God-willing, in the life to come.”

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