Local News: All Saints Parish, Gehlen Catholic welcomes Klein (10/5/22)

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(Sentinel Photo by Beverly Van Buskirk) Reverend Doug Klein is the new Parish Vicar for All Saints Parish and Gehlen Catholic School. He started his job in July and calls the church and school a vibrant place to work, and Le Mars a community filled with pride and involvement.

MARCH – Reverend Douglas Klein came to All Saints Parish in July where he serves as parochial curate at the parish and Gehlen Catholic School.

“This year I am working as an assistant pastor and chaplain in Gehlen,” he said. “Officially is parochial vicar.”

In this role, he will be the priest present in Gehlen and available as a spiritual guide for students, faculty and staff. He will also work with the campus ministry team as they plan activities for students throughout the school year.

In the parish, Klein, who speaks Spanish, leads Spanish Mass at St. James’s Church on Sundays.

“We have pretty good attendance there,” he said, over 100 and sometimes 120 to 140.

Klein comes to the Mars after spending 19 years in Sioux County serving the parishes of Sioux Center and Rock Valley, as well as serving the Hispanic community of Hawarden.

In Sioux County, he cared for about 500 families.

“Because here, All Saints parish is huge, 1,500 families,” he said.

Klein is from Sioux County, having grown up on a farm just outside of Hospers, one of seven children. He graduated from Spalding Catholic School, which he now shares with Gehlen.

After high school, he attended Creighton University and majored in sociology.

Klein said he began to discern the call to the priesthood after spending two years with a missionary group, Glenmary Home Missioners, which serves primarily in the Appalachian region and the Deep South. Klein spent time in Kentucky and Arkansas.

“There I realized that my roots were too deep in northwest Iowa and that I had to come back here,” he said. “I spent two years working in campus ministry at Briar Cliff just to be back in the diocese, and then I said, ‘Yeah, that’s where I want to be.'”

He then pursued four years of seminary studies in Belgium at the American College in Leuven, Belgium.

“It was just a wonderful experience, the universality of the church, because there were people from all over the world studying there, so it was not just being in a different culture, but it helped me understand ministry to the immigrant community,” he said. said, because they are trying to function in a culture that they are learning.

Klein was ordained in 1996 and served in Carroll, Sioux City and Storm Lake before moving to Sioux County.

He shared that 25 years after his ordination, he was approved for a three-month sabbatical last spring.

“I was able to spend six weeks on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The next six weeks I spent doing the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St. James, a pilgrimage on foot through Spain to the tomb of the Apostle St. James in Santiago de -Compostela, Spain.

“It was a wonderful experience to walk, pray and meet people from 40 different countries,” he said.

Looking back on the experience, he said the walk gave him the opportunity to interact with a number of people, as well as spend time in quiet reflection.

“It allowed for a moment of calm. Most of the time I walk alone in peace,” he said. “On top of that you have other fellow pilgrims who share the journey and sometimes you walk and share life stories with them. In the evening, you spend time together, pray together, laugh together, empathize together over the pains of the journey.

“So I think one of the lessons is that it teaches you to be aware and attentive to what God is bringing into your life every day,” he said. “In life, we kind of get caught up in our routine doing a lot of good things, but we don’t take the time to be mindful to notice what’s going on around us and why this person is coming into my life today. “to know this one. The challenge is to try to remember this lesson, to be mindful. I have to keep this practice in my life,” he said.

Klein continues this practice in Le Mars.

“So people might see this guy in black walking from my house in St. James to my office in St. Joe’s,” he said. “I thought if I could walk 600 miles across Spain I could walk a mile across town, and it’s good for exercise, it gives me 15 minutes to get ready before I jump straight to the office. .”

Here at Mars, Klein finds a different kind of dynamic as he works within the school and the larger parish of All Saints.

“I see children. If I’m around here, I like to be at the door and greet the children when they arrive in the morning, walk the halls or have lunch with the young children. It’s a much bigger access, and it’s a wonderful community there and then at the beginning of each class period, there’s a prayer that goes by. It’s the big things like celebrating mass with them, saying a prayer for football or doing cross country with the kids, saying whatever we do if we bring God to it, that’s part of our faith. And it’s not exclusive to a Catholic school, you can do it wherever you are,” he said.

“With All Saints Parish, it’s a wonderful, vibrant community, we have great staff that we work with here, our priest, our deacons and our lay staff here, and people are involved,” he said. .

He also learns that the Mars community isn’t just about ice cream.

“There is a lot of community pride and involvement. There’s the beautiful downtown, the fairgrounds, the bike paths, it’s a very interesting community. The ice cream is wonderful. Now that I live here, I go to the living room when I have to bring guests, otherwise I would be there all the time,” he smiles.

Her favorite flavor? “The salted caramel craze, of course,” he said.

When he’s not working, Klein enjoys being in nature, taking walks, jogging or biking throughout the area. He also enjoys the changing seasons and makes time for cross-country skiing in the winter.

“I still love to travel and through my connections I can travel all over the world,” he said.

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