On September 21, the feast of St. Matthew, the Sacred Heart Community at SHML honored Fr. Paul Casper (60 years), Fr. Ed Griesemer (60 years) and Fr. Johnny Klingler (50 years) for their anniversaries of priesthood ordination. Click here to view a photo album from the Mass.
A bit about our jubilarians from the Sacred Heart community at SHML:
Fr. Paul Casper (60 years of ordination)
Originally from St. Paul, MN, Fr. Paul Casper, 87, did his seminary studies at Sacred Heart Monastery and was ordained in 1957. As did many of the newly ordained, he spent his first years teaching in the minor seminary. He focused on Latin and religion, and also served as dean of students.
Leaving academics, he moved to South Dakota, where he served in a number of small towns. In 1979, he enjoyed a sabbatical in the Holy Land.
In 1987 he made his way to Wisconsin, where he was associate pastor of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish (now, St. Martin of Tours). He was also a “relief pitcher” of sorts, stepping in for other priests when they took vacations, retreats or study breaks.
In the Milwaukee area, Fr. Paul was active in ministry to incarcerated youth. Before entering full-time retirement, Fr. Paul also spent several years doing parish ministry in Mississippi, including service at Holy Spirit parish in Hernando and St. Joseph’s in Holly Springs.
Fr. Ed Griesemer, SCJ (60 years of ordination)
Raised just a dozen miles from Sacred Heart Monastery, Fr. Ed Griesemer was born in West Allis, WI. He is now 87. As did Fr. Paul, Fr. Ed studied at Sacred Heart Monastery and was ordained with him in 1957. Similar to his classmate, he also spent time serving in South Dakota.
One of Fr. Ed’s first assignments was at Our Lady of Guadalupe in East Chicago, Ind. It was there, in the strongly Hispanic community, that Fr. Ed developed an interest in serving Spanish-speaking Catholics. To improve his language skills, he briefly moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico. He continues to study Spanish and hopes to one day return to Mexico.
For many years Fr. Ed was active in Hispanic ministry, serving in Texas and Wisconsin. He conducted Bible-study sessions for Spanish-speaking inmates at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institute and ministered to migrant workers employed in the summer at Wisconsin canneries.
Fr. Johnny Klingler, SCJ (50 years of ordination)
Fr. Johnny Klingler, 82, is from Paterson, NJ, and was professed in 1963. His first assignment was as a teacher and formation director at the province’s 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, SD. 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 religious life, 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. This year, an award was created in his name to honor him. “Johnny Klingler Justice and Peace Award was established to acknowledge an SCJ or someone nominated by members of the province who, like Fr. Johnny, has worked tirelessly for social transformation,” said Mark Peters, province director of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation, during the summer assembly. Fr. Johnny was the first recipient of the award.