Milwaukee priest to offer sacrament of reconciliation for local deaf community

By The Compass | March 19, 2015

GREEN BAY — Fr. Christopher Klusman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee who was born deaf, will celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation for the deaf community at St. John the Evangelist Church, 413 St. John St., on Saturday, March 28, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Fr. Christopher Klusman, center, and Fr. Peter Stryker, a Father of Mercy and rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion, greet people following Mass in 2013. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

A Palm Sunday Mass, concelebrated by Fr. Klusman and Fr. Joseph Dorner, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish, will follow at 5:30 p.m. and will be interpreted.

Fr. Klusman, who serves as associate director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry Office for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is no stranger to the Green Bay Diocese. In 2013 he accompanied 50 members of Milwaukee’s deaf community to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion. The group was joined by nearly two dozen members of Green Bay’s deaf community for Mass concelebrated by Fr. Klusman and priests from the shrine.

The shrine visit was an opportunity for Fr. Klusman to connect with the Green Bay deaf community and provide pastoral outreach.

“The visit in 2013 truly helped to deepen the relationship I have with your Catholic deaf community,” Fr. Klusman told The Compass in an email. “Since then, I’ve met with several people here and there and that always leaves us uplifted.”

Fr. Klusman, who also serves as associate pastor of St. Roman Parish on Milwaukee’s south side, said he and Green Bay’s deaf community are looking for other ways to work together.

“The fact that a deaf priest is a rarity in the world (makes) time a scarcity,” he said. “I pray that God grants them opportunities (in their own language) to gain strength from the sacraments, as well as from continuing education.”

The priest said he knows that for the deaf community, experiencing the sacrament of reconciliation “in their own first language” is a rare opportunity that they and he treausure.

“Thankfully, Jean Laux enabled me to be part of their 2015 Lenten journey towards preparing for our holiest celebration: the holy Triduum,” he added.

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