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Archdiocese of Chicago Names Deacon David Keene as Chancellor

Deacon Keene starts his new role July 1, 2022.

Chicago - (June 23, 2022) – The Archdiocese of Chicago announced today the appointment of Deacon David Keene, Ph.D. as chancellor. Keene is currently the auditor-actuarius in the Office of Canonical Affairs. Keene will assume his new duties on July 1, and he succeeds Deacon Daniel Welter who is retiring after five years in the role.  

“I am pleased to announce Deacon David Keene as chancellor of the archdiocese. He brings a strong faith and deep understanding of our diocesan ministries, offices and parishes to the role and I look forward to working with him,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “I also want to recognize and thank Deacon Dan Welter for his service as chancellor.” 

As chancellor, Keene will advise Cardinal Cupich and diocesan officials on various issues. He will also record the ecclesiastical acts, decrees, and dispensations issued by Cardinal Cupich as well as oversee the diocesan records and archives.

In his current role as auditor-actuarius, Keene works within the Office of Canonical Affairs to prepare documents and petitions on behalf of the archbishop for priests and deacons returning to the lay state. In addition, he assists the vicar for Canonical Affairs and the chancellor in assembling documents and researching applicable canon law for special cases.

Prior to joining the archdiocese’s Office of Canonical Affairs in 2019, Keene worked as an archaeological consultant since 1980 and founded Archaeological Research Incorporated (ARI) in 1991. At ARI, he served as president, chief executive officer and senior staff archeologist. He managed a staff of archaeologists conducting historic preservation planning and archaeological and historic investigations required by federal and state laws, and assisted government agencies in the recovery, identification, preservation, and curation of archaeological and documentary materials.

Early in his career, Keene was an instructor in the departments of anthropology and sociology at Loyola University of Chicago and taught at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Keene has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and classical languages from Loyola University of Chicago, a master’s in philosophy from the University of Detroit, and a master’s and doctorate in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He received a diploma in Ecclesiastical Administration from Saint Paul University in Ottawa, where he is in the final stages of completing his Licentiate in Canon Law.

He has been on the archdiocese’s Pastoral Council and Deacon Council since 2012. He served on the Preservation Action Board (1993-2010), the Center for American Archaeology Board (1999-2003), as board president of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois (1996-1999) and the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois Board of Directors (1996-1999). Keene is also a member of the Canon Law Society of America, the Midwest Canon Law Society, Society for American Archaeology, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Religion.

Keene was ordained a permanent deacon for the archdiocese in 2010. He has ministered at St. Josaphat Parish (2010-2015) and Church of the Holy Family Parish (2015-2020), both in Chicago.

When called upon, he uses his skills in the exhumation of the remains of Servants of God, the title given to a candidate for sainthood whose cause is under investigation, prior to being declared Venerable. Most recently, Keene has been part of the exhumation of remains of Fr. Augustus Tolton and Fr. Patrick Ryan in the causes of their beatification.