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St. Thomas More Society remembers late chaplain Father Leonard R. Klein at book release

Author and commentator George Weigel and Christa Klein talk Nov. 17, at Salesianum School. Weigel was there for the release of a book of the late priest's homilies. Photo/Don Blake

WILMINGTON — Former parishioners and friends of the late Father Leonard R. Klein gathered in Wilmington on Nov. 17 to remember the priest as a book of his homilies was introduced to the public. “A Grain of Wheat: Collected Sermons of Father Leonard R. Klein” contains 372 pages of homilies from the former Lutheran minister who was ordained a Catholic priest in 2006 and who died in 2019.

Catholic author and scholar George Weigel wrote the foreword for the volume, and he was the guest speaker at the release of the book on Nov. 17 at Salesianum School. The event, sponsored by the St. Thomas More Society, attracted a good-size crowd to the school. Father Klein was the chaplain to the society.

Weigel met Father Klein and his widow, Christa, through Richard John Neuhaus, another former Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism. During his talk, Weigel spoke about the importance of the Second Vatican Council, which began 60 years ago last month.

One of the conclusions of the council was that the Bible had to be central to Catholic teaching once again.

George Weigel (left) signs a book for Nick Caggiano, president of the St. Thomas Society. Photo/Don Blake

“At the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church recovered something it had known 1,600 years prior,” he said.

This played right into the strengths of Father Klein, Weigel said.

“In a deeply learned and very accessible way, he helped all of you see the world in a biblical way,” he said.

Christa Klein said Weigel helped Father Klein navigate his way into the Catholic Church, helping him address the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when he expressed interest in ordained ministry. Klein said when her husband told his Lutheran parishioners in York, Pa., that he was leaving for the Catholic Church, there were a lot of disappointed Lutherans.

She and her husband didn’t know what to expect in the Diocese of Wilmington, but they were pleasantly surprised.

“I was shocked at all the open arms,” she said.

“A Grain of Wheat” is available from Cluny Media at https://clunymedia.com/collections/hardcovers/products/a-grain-of-wheat.