February 19, 2016

Father Kenneth Ciano worked overseas before serving as a priest for 20 years

By Sean Gallagher

Father Kenneth CianoFather Kenneth Ciano, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, died on Feb. 13 at Union Hospital in Terre Haute. He was 74.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. with a vigil service at 7 p.m. on Feb. 19, and from 10-11 a.m. on Feb. 20 at St. Margaret Mary Church, 2405 S. 7th St., in Terre Haute.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Feb. 20 at St. Margaret Mary Church. Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin is scheduled to serve as the principal celebrant of the Mass. Sacred Heart of Jesus Father Paul Kelly is scheduled to serve as the homilist.

Burial of Father Ciano’s cremated remains will take place at a later date in a mausoleum at Calvary Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Father Ciano began working as a professor at Indiana State University in Terre Haute in the late 1980s after spending more than 20 years teaching English as a second language in various Middle Eastern countries.

When he moved to Terre Haute, he became a member of St. Patrick Parish. Msgr. Lawrence Moran, its pastor at the time, thought that he might have a priestly calling and was influential in his vocational discernment.

“He seemed to be a very devout Catholic,” said Msgr. Moran, now retired. “He was a gifted person, [and] could speak well. He had done well at Indiana State. His students really appreciated his efforts. He was very articulate.”

Father Ciano also came to know longtime St. Patrick parishioner Rod Bosley when he moved to Terre Haute.

Bosley recalled how much his friend enjoyed serving as the pastor of the former Holy Rosary Parish in Seelyville and at Annunciation Parish in Brazil.

“He was very gentle, very calming,” Bosley said. “He was kind to the parishioners. I don’t think I ever heard him raise his voice about anything. He was very supportive and a good listener.”

Bosley also said that Father Ciano was known for his compassion for others.

“I always saw his mercy come through,” Bosley said. “He was very merciful with the people he was in contact with, with people in his parish and outside his parish as well.”

During Father Ciano’s time at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., he befriended Father Paul, a member of the formation staff there, and they remained friends.

He said that Father Ciano appreciated ministering in small parishes in the Terre Haute Deanery because it allowed him “to know the people personally. … He wanted to be more to them by knowing them and their situations.”

Father Paul added that Father Ciano’s travels around the world helped him as a homilist.

“He was very bright, very articulate,” Father Paul said. “He’d interweave some of his stories from his travels with the scriptural message.”

Kenneth J. Ciano was born on July 19, 1941, in Jersey City, N.J., to Alfred and Nancy Ciano.

He attended the high school division of Cathedral College in New York and Charles E. Gorton High School and Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers, N.Y.

Father Ciano later studied at John Carroll University in Cleveland, and earned a bachelor’s degree in English at American University of Beirut in Beirut. He later earned a master’s degree in linguistics at Temple University in Philadelphia.

He taught English as a second language for more than two decades in various Middle Eastern countries before returning to the United States and working as a professor and director of the English as a Second Language program at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

During this time, in the early 1990s, he was a member of St. Patrick Parish in Terre Haute and discerned a call to the priesthood.

He received his priestly formation at Sacred Heart Seminary, earning a master’s of divinity degree in 1995.

Archbishop Emeritus Daniel M. Buechlein ordained Father Ciano a priest on June 3, 1995, at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. He celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving the following day at St. Patrick Church in Terre Haute.

Father Ciano’s first pastoral assignment was as associate pastor of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis from 1995-97.

From 1997-98, he served as part-time associate pastor of Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood and part-time chaplain for Clarian Hospitals in Indianapolis.

Father Ciano then ministered as associate pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis from 1998-2000.

He was appointed administrator pro-tem of the former Holy Rosary Parish in Seeleyville in 2000 and became its pastor in 2001.

He also served as pastor of Annunciation Parish in Brazil from 2001-03.

Father Ciano continued to lead Holy Rosary until 2007, when he was granted early retirement for health reasons.

He lived in retirement in Terre Haute.

Father Ciano is survived by a brother, Alfred Ciano, Jr. of New Jersey. †

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