Less than three months after his ordination to the priesthood, Steven Kuehn, OFM, was named chaplain of St. Bonaventure University.
Steven is quite familiar with the Allegany, New York-based Franciscan university. In preparation for his solemn profession of vows, he was assigned at SBU in 2020 for his yearlong internship, during which he worked with campus ministries, volunteered at the student-run off-campus Warming House soup kitchen, and served as chaplain for the men’s lacrosse team.
“I’m so happy and grateful to be back on the St. Bonaventure campus,” Steven said in a statement that accompanied last month’s announcement by SBU president Jeff Gingerich.
“I was here during the year of restrictions on campus due to the pandemic, so I’m happy to be able to engage with the campus community in more ways as university chaplain. I look forward to pursuing creative opportunities and the energy that campus ministry provides,” added Steven, who officially began his tenure in his new position on July 17, three days after the announcement.
His ordination on April 29 in Silver Spring, Maryland, was a history-making event, as he and two other friars – James Bernard, OFM, and Aaron Richardson, OFM – were the last ordination class of Holy Name Province before it joins the other US-6 provinces in becoming a single national Franciscan province.
A 2003 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, where he played Division I lacrosse, Steven held several positions in the Navy. He piloted 332 helicopter missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and also served as a senior officer on the USS Ronald Reagan from 2013 to 2015. He left active duty as a Navy pilot to pursue life as a Franciscan friar, joining the postulancy in 2015.
During his formation years, Steven served in diverse ministries, including Missionaries of Charity and Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington, D.C.; Arlington Food Assistance Center in Virginia; Greater Chicago Food Depository, Kolbe House Jail Ministry, and Franciscan Outreach Marquard Soup Kitchen, all in Chicago; St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, and St. Francis of Assisi churches in Milwaukee and New York City. He was also a volunteer lacrosse coach at Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago for three years.
Steven holds a master of divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, an MBA from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering from the Naval Academy.