WILMINGTON — Bishop Malooly announced Nov. 2 that Pope Francis has honored two priests of the diocese as Chaplains to His Holiness with the title of monsignor. They are Msgr. David F. Kelley, pastor of St. Joseph Church, Middletown, and diocesan vicar for clergy; and Msgr. Stanley J. Russell, pastor of St. Helena’s Parish, Wilmington, and dean of the Brandywine Hundred Deanery.
Msgr. Kelley is a native of Boston. He studied for the priesthood at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Md. and was ordained in 1988.
He served as associate pastor at St. Mary of the Assumption, Hockessin; Holy Family, Newark; and St. Francis de Sales, Salisbury, Md. He served as administrator of St. Joseph on the Brandywine in Greenville before being appointed pastor of St. Benedict in Ridgely, Md., St. Ann, Bethany Beach, and St. Joseph. Msgr. Kelley was also diocesan director of vocations before being appointed by Bishop Malooly as vicar for clergy.
Msgr. Kelley, 65, said he had a meeting scheduled with the bishop presumably to discuss other matters, but “Congratulations, Msgr. Kelley” came out instead.
“I really had never considered that I would be offered such an honor and now a week later I’m still trying to get used to the whole concept,” he said.
Msgr. Kelley said it will not change his ministerial responsibilities in Middletown or as vicar for clergy.
“I do hope that I will be able to faithfully serve the people of St. Joseph’s Parish as well as Bishop Malooly and my brother priests with humility, compassion, integrity and wisdom,” he said.
Msgr. Russell was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He studied for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Collegeville, Minn. and Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1961.
He served as associate pastor at St. Edmond’s, Rehoboth Beach, and St. Ann’s, and Immaculate Heart of Mary, both in Wilmington. Msgr. Russell served as pastor of Holy Rosary in Claymont, Our Lady of Fatima, New Castle, and St. Helena’s, Wilmington. Additionally, he served on numerous diocesan committees and councils in his 56 years as a priest.
Msgr. Russell said he is “very grateful to the bishop and the Holy Father. The parish is also very pleased.”
Being a pastor has been his calling and said the years during and following the Second Vatican Council have been a great time to be a priest.
“I was ordained in ’61, which was the year before the Second Vatican Council began. It was time to implement all those decisions and documents,” he said. “I’ve been very involved since that time trying to implement the spirit of the council.”
At 81, he is still going strong.
“I’m happy to continue on as long as the good Lord gives us the good health,” Msgr. Russell said.