On September 23 the province celebrated the golden and diamond jubilees of religious life of five of its members: Fr. Johnny Klingler, Br. Peter Mankins and Fr. Jim Schroeder (50 years) and Fr. Frank Clancy and Fr. Larry Rucker (60 years).
Friends, family and fellow SCJs packed the chapel at Sacred Heart Monastery/School of Theology for an evening liturgy and dinner.
Fr. Frank, 81, is originally from Chicago and ministered first as a brother with the community in assignments at St. Joseph’s Indian School and Divine Heart Seminary.
His next assignment was also at a school, but this time as a student. He became a seminarian at Sacred Heart School of Theology and was ordained in 1974.
Fr. Frank served in parish ministry in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas. As a parish pastor he often did visits to the sick and found that it was something he felt particularly called to. Fr. Frank enrolled in CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and served as a hospital and prison chaplain in Willacy County. He is now retired and a member of the community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.
Fr. Larry Rucker, 79 was born in New York State but spent much of his adult life in South Dakota. His first assignment after ordination was at St. Joseph’s parish in Cherry, Creek, SD; he continued ministry in South Dakota for almost 30 years.
Following his first year at Cherry Creek, Fr. Larry did ministry at All Saints Church in Eagle Butte, St. Martin in Murdo and Sacred Heart in Dupree. In 1983 he moved to Sioux Falls and began a 12-year commitment to the Kateri Indian Center, where he ministered not only to the area’s Native American community but also to the nearby hospital and prison.
In 2001 he headed south for parish ministry in Mississippi until his retirement in 2001. Like Fr. Frank, Fr. Larry is also a member of the community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.
Fifty years of religious life
Fr. Johnny Klingler, 78, is from Paterson, N.J., and was ordained in 1967. His first assignment was as a teacher and formation director at the SCJs’ Kilroe Seminary before a brief stint in parish ministry in St. Louis. In 1974 he became province director of Justice and Peace.
In 1977 Fr. Johnny was named provincial superior of the US Province. He finished his second term in 1983, moved to the Rio Grande Valley, but then found himself in administration again a year later when he was elected to the General Council. He was a general councilor from 1985-91. Fr. Johnny came back to the States in 1992 and spent six years with the Cheyenne River Pastoral Team based in Eagle Butte. He then ministered for a year in South Africa before again joining provincial administration, this time as director of apostolic activities, and later, director of ministers and ministries.
Throughout his years of ministry, Fr. Johnny was also active in social justice issues, volunteering with several organizations and serving as the general councilor with responsibility for Justice and Peace when he was in Rome. He is now retired and living with the community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake.
Br. Peter Mankins, 84, is a Chicago native. His first assignment was at Divine Heart Seminary and it became a stepping stone to a lifetime devoted to formation ministry. Br. Peter served at Bellefontaine in Lenox, Mass., Dehon Seminary in Great Barrington, Mass., and Dehon Seminary in Lanesboro, Mass.
He was also on the formation team with the SCJs’ undergraduate program in San Antonio. When the formation programs were brought together in Chicago, he moved back to his hometown in 2002 to serve with the candidacy program and as assistant novice master. Br. Peter was also responsible for the formation community’s bookkeeping.
Now retired, as are Frs. Johnny, Frank and Larry, Br. Peter is a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML.
Fr. Jim Schroeder, 69, is from southern Illinois and has spent many years of ministry not too far from where he grew up. A licensed psychologist, he has been based in St. Louis since 1989, focusing on the treatment of priests, religious and other church ministers through individual and group therapy. His doctorate in clinical psychology is from Loyola University, Chicago. He also did sabbatical studies in France and Spain.
At the province and international levels Fr. Jim has served on the Religious Life Commission, the North American Spirituality Commission, the Province Finance Commission and three times as a delegate from the U.S. Province to the General Chapter in Rome and at several international meetings.
“In grade school I realized that religion, the church and the sacraments were very powerful forces in my family’s life,” wrote Fr. Jim when reflecting on his own vocation for a Vocation Central publication. “My family turned to prayer and the priest to help them with daily struggles and crises. Through enforced daily Mass, I realized the importance of Christ in the Eucharist.
“The local pastor showed me that being a priest was a good way to live and help give people what was most valued. My eighth grade teacher, Sr. Emilia, O.P., showed me that people could live together and support each other in service.
“One weekday morning after communion I realized I wanted to be a priest… A good friend went to the SCJ seminary. After an initial visit, I decided to follow. Although the original decision was questioned and reaffirmed many times, it holds true to this day… I was and still am drawn by the idea of the centrality in Christianity of God expressing Himself as a loving heart who calls us to respond by loving Him and others.”