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Waupaca native travels to India

Klismet serves as priest with religious order

A 1983 Waupaca High School graduate travels annually to India as part of his ministry to help persecuted Christians.

Rev. Kurt Klismet is a priest a Roman Catholic religious order that was founded in 1198 during the Crusades.

Known at the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives or Trinitarians, they raised funds to pay the ransoms of Christians held captive by Muslims of pirates.

In addition to ransoming captives, Trinitarians offered care of the sick and poor, maintained churches and schools.

“Thomas Jefferson, who would later be president, met with the minister general (superior) of the order in Paris on January 10, 1787 to ask our help in redeeming American sailors who had been captured by the Barbary pirates and were being held captive in Algiers,” Klismet said. “Sadly, the ongoing attacks against the church by the post-Revolution government in France, made the Trinitarians (also known as Mathurins in France) unable to do much beyond guaranteeing that the Americans being held captive were receiving a small allowance to provide for basic personal needs.”

Klismet entered the order in 1996 and was ordained a priest in 2002.

He currently serves as the treasurer for the province of the order that includes the United States and India.

His responsibilities also include fundraising for the order’s ministries and for the support of seminarians.

“I lead our U.S. efforts to assist those who suffer persecution because of their faith in Christ,” Klismet said. “Recent events in the Middle East, where Christians are being executed, tortured, enslaved and held captive because of their refusal to renounce their faith, are not much different from the environment in which the order has operated for over 800 years. We are currently providing for the basic needs of Christians in Iraq and for the education of children and teenagers in Syria who have lost almost everything due to the ongoing attacks on Christians by ISIS.”

Trinitarian priests minister in countries where the practice of Christianity is outlawed and severely punished.

In India, Klismet said the Trinitarians have missions in areas where Christians are a tiny minority, and experience persecution and discrimination because of their faith.

“I have travelled to India annually for the past nine years, usually spending about three weeks to a month at our six missions,” Klismet said. “My role is to assist the priests and brothers here as they create a long-term plan for ministry and growth in India.”

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