Three To Be Ordained To Transitional Diaconate

Megan Marley

Three men are advancing in their journey to the priesthood this Saturday. Andrew Kleine, Emmanuel Garduno and Kendall Ketterlin will be ordained to the transitional diaconate May 12 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City. All are welcome to attend the Mass, which begins 10 a.m.

But who are these men on their way to the priesthood? Read on to find out.


Andrew Michael Kleine

Andrew Michael Kleine

‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ Uncle Ben said to his nephew Peter Parker (aka, Spiderman).

It might be a quote Andrew Kleine keeps in mind on his way to the priesthood.

Kleine has been a fan of superheroes since he got his first comic books around age seven. As a kid, he joked, “I wanted to be Spiderman or Batman. But then I turned 27 and realized that was no longer a viable vocation, and so I started pursuing other avenues.”

Peter and Karol Kleine raised Andrew, Bridget, Anthony and Thomas as Catholics, making sure they were involved at their parish and sending them for a Catholic education at St. Bernadette and St. John LaLande schools and O’Hara High School.

“They were very adamant and focused that our prayer lives and faith lives were part of us and didn’t diminish as we grew,” Kleine said. It also planted a latent idea of becoming a priest.

“My parents told me we had a conversation when I was in fifth grade of me talking to them about becoming a priest—but I don’t remember that conversation in the slightest. They say it happened, so I trust them on that.”

Once out of high school, Kleine was working his way up the management chain at Arby’s. But the monotony of just working for a paycheck pushed him to studies at Benedictine College in Atchison, Ks. to be an English teacher.

Kleine discovered he didn’t much care for the classical literature he would be required to teach, but really enjoyed taking extra theology courses. So he switched for a major in Theology and a minor in History. As graduation drew nigh, he wondered: what can I do with that degree post-graduation?

The answer came soon after he received his diploma.

“As I was holding the degree in my hands, I got what I like to call ‘a kick in the pants from on High’ that said I needed to go check out seminary, and so I talked it over with my parents and with my parish priest,” Kleine said. He got put in touch with the diocesan vocation directors, and started seminary soon after.

He attended St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Neb. for pre-Theology I and II, and then was sent to Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Ct. for his first year of theology. During that year Bishop Johnston was installed as bishop of the diocese, and he elected to send Kleine to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis for the following two years.

It’s all part of being a spiritual superhero-in-training.

“Holy Hour, the rosary, the confession, liturgy of the hours—we do a lot of praying in seminary!” Kleine said—also sharing a favorite practice of reading good books such as the Bible and Benedict XVI during his holy hour. In his free time, Kleine mentioned he also enjoys board and video games, and playing D&D.


Emmanuel Garduño López

Emmanuel Garduño López

Given his family experience, it’s no wonder Emmanuel Garduño is on fire with love for Christ to one day become a priest.

His parents, music professor José Garduño and kindergarten principal Rosalinda López, met through their church San Martin de Porres in Mexico City, where José was music director and Rosalinda a catechist. Not only active in the church, they had connections to many priests and religious throughout the Archdiocese of Mexico City, exposing Emmanuel and his older brothers, Edgar and Ludwig, and his younger cousin Alfredo to a wide experience of religious vocations.

“Ever since I was born in my family, my parents have a lot of relationships with nuns and priests, so since I was a child I met a lot of nuns and priests—in that way my vocation was born,” Emmanuel Garduño said, recounting his desire for the priesthood early on. “I remember the Carmelites specifically—they made a little chasuble for me and cassock when I was a little kid, for me to play to be a priest. It was kind of cool for the nuns.”

His early aspirations for the priesthood were forgotten in the busyness of high school. But then, missionaries came to his parish and started a youth group.

“We’d visit the poor, the homeless, hospitals; the most neat encounter of God I had with these missionaries was when we were planning to visit a medic center, a little city or town of lepers,” he said. At first Garduño didn’t want to visit the lepers, but his parents thought it’d be an eye-opening experience and told him to take it to prayer and decide.

“I was praying a little bit in my holy hour, and I realized since I didn’t want to go, I was lacking in saying yes to the will of God in my life,” explained Garduño. As he helped prepare for Las Posadas and visited with sick persons in the leper community, he felt a growing desire and fire in his heart to serve Jesus.

“It was the best experience I’ve had in my life, and actually the high point for me to say yes—I want to become a priest, finally.”

At first his father was hesitant about him entering seminary before finishing high school, but after prayer and talking with their pastor his family finally agreed to let him go. Garduño joined the Misioneros Servidores de la Palabra (Missionary Servants of the Word) and studied at their Instituto Filosófico- Teológico San Lucas. He was with them for eight years, going through the novitiate and a bachelors in philosophy and two years of theology while serving missions on foot.

“It was very fruitful. I had an opportunity to be a missionary all over my country and also in Cuba, which was the best experience for me as a missionary—just facing Christ in the people and the real needs of these people in Cuba,” he said.

In 2011 his right foot was badly injured, permanently preventing him from keeping up the traveling missionary lifestyle. He left seminary to recover with his family, and after some time began looking for another way he could serve Christ as a priest. After contacting several dioceses in the United States, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph accepted his application and found him a host family, the Cardenas of St. Mark’s parish in Independence. Garduño had two years of studying English at Conception Seminary, and recently he’s been finishing up his Theology requirements at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis.

“I’m still in missionary work, in the diocese—I strongly have it in my heart and in my mind, working in benefit for both communities, both Anglo and Hispanic communities—so I’ve committed myself to this mission I have now,” Garduño said. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the guitar, music, movies, building community with his fellow Hispanic seminarians and sharing his personal devotion to Lectio Divina.


Kendall Allen Ketterlin

Kendall Allen Ketterlin

In what way has God called me to serve His people? For Kendall Ketterlin, that’s been a long, ongoing question on his way to Holy Orders.

“My first calling experience was when I was 17 in high school, and I’m now 41 years old and being ordained a transitional deacon. That’s a long path,” he said.

Originally from Columbia, Mo., Ketterlin is the first in his family to consider religious life and the priesthood. His father, the late William Ketterlin, came from a Catholic background, but his mother, Kay, was raised Baptist and converted to Catholicism as a teen.

“I actually come from a long line of Baptist preachers. Her dad, her grandfather, her great-grandfather—there are a few generations of small-town Baptist preachers,” Ketterlin stated.

After his initial call in high school, Ketterlin started college studies with the idea of the priesthood but then decided to go into campus ministry. He went on to earn a Masters in Pastoral Ministry from St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary.

The idea of a religious vocation later resurfaced while he was director of campus ministry for the University of Missouri-Rolla (now Missouri S&T).

“Once I got into the job as a lay minister in the Church, there was still this absence,” explained Ketterlin.

He initially spent one year discerning with the Missionaries of the Precious Blood—Kansas City Province, before seeking a more contemplative form of religious life with the Carmelites in Chicago. He spent three years with the Carmelites, making simple vows and studying for the priesthood at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and then Early and Eastern Christian Spirituality at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

“My time with the Carmelites has definitely given me a spiritual foundation that I think every priest needs—some sort of spiritual foundation, not necessarily Carmelite—but just pulling from the saints who have come before us, to really have that rock and foundation with God,” he said.

As Ketterlin studied and discerned his vocation, the diocesan priesthood kept calling him more and more. After a year of living in the world, he was accepted as a seminarian for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and continued seminary studies at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati.

“When I’m done with this round, I’ll have almost 200 hours of graduate theology. Which means I should be a lot smarter than I am, but its just given me a lot more to pull from,” he chuckled.

“I’ve taken classes at four different seminaries along the way, which definitely most guys have not done that. But it’s also been a very good gift because each seminary has a different approach in theology, with living out the faith and the teachings of the Church,” said Ketterlin, also stating his time in orthodox training at Mt. St. Mary’s has been a breath of fresh air that reaffirms his vocation.

The scope of his studies and experience allows him to have conversations about confusing or controversial aspects of faith.
“I’ve found its really, really helped me in relating to people, and understanding what our church has been through a little bit better, where we may be going, what different kinds of ministries we may be needing. Every little speed bump and obstacle has been part of God’s plan, and has been part of preparing me for ordination.”

When he’s not studying or praying, Ketterlin enjoys sports.

“The guys are joking because, you know, I’m the second oldest person in the seminary here, I’m the old man,” he said. “This last year I had a few injuries so I had to make the transition from the soccer player to the soccer coach. But I love playing baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, running, a lot of writing—I enjoy that also.”

Ketterlin also has a number of written works, including a publication of his memoirs titled “Remembering God: The Story of a Volunteer in Hurricane Katrina”.


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October 23, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph