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New priest in New London

Kleinschmidt to lead Most Precious Blood

By Scott Bellile

Juggling temporary leadership since a pastor resigned without notice last fall, Most Precious Blood Catholic Church will welcome a permanent presence to the altar at last.

The Diocese of Green Bay appointed Rev. John Kleinschmidt as priest at MPB effective July 1.

Kleinschmidt said after more than a decade of working in North Dakota, God called him to return to his native Wisconsin to be closer to his aging parents and serve an area that faces a greater priest shortage.

Kleinschmidt will lead masses, baptisms, wedding and funerals; help around MPB’s elementary school and offer guidance wherever it’s needed.

“That’s the biggest thing, having somebody that you know is going to be here,” MPB Pastoral Council President Mark Grossman said. “He’s going to be a part of the parish. Not that the priest and the deacon that has been helping us out hasn’t done a great job, but there’s just something about knowing that this is our leader. It’s going to fill a void that we’ve had for a few months.”

In a recent letter to parish members, Kleinschmidt said he’s spent the last 12 years as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Minto and St. Stanislaus Parish in Warsaw, both in North Dakota. He said he grew up in a family of nine in Oneida and Onalaska. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering at UW-Platteville before he said he said God called on him to join the priesthood.

Kleinschmidt made his first public appearance at MPB on May 25 when he held a prayer service and meet and greet. There he told parishioners he had enjoyed coffee at Familiar Grounds Coffee Shop and he looks forward to the city’s annual New Dublin parade because he’s been growing closer to St. Patrick.

“I’m just delighted to come here to New London,” he said. “What a beautiful parish you have.”

Kleinschmidt joins a church that had to scramble to maintain business as usual after Rev. Arul Joseph Irudamoney, also known as Father Joseph, moved home to his native India last November without advance notice. Deacon Dan Wagnitz has served as pastoral coordinator in the meantime.

Despite all MPB has been through the last seven months, Kleinschmidt said what he sees as his biggest challenge will be “just the basic challenge of always growing deeper and deeper with God.”

“Hopefully all of us can grow closer to God in the heart of Jesus—that’s my general goal,” Kleinschmidt said. “I want to work with families and the youth and the school. I just have a lot of hope for this place.”

Parish member Guy Jacobson expressed optimism in an MPB under Kleinschmidt’s leadership.

“I’m very excited to have some kind of permanency in a priest,” Jacobson said. “I’m excited, looking forward to him shepherding. Sounds like he’s going to be a great priest and I think the whole parish is just really excited to see him, especially a local man.”

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