December 4, 2019 — (Wilmington, Delaware) — The Very Reverend Leonard Roy Klein, Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, and Pastor of Saint Patrick and Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parishes in Wilmington, Delaware, has died today after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 74 years old. The first and only married man to
be ordained to the priesthood for the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, Father Klein leaves behind his wife of 50 years, Christa, and two adult children and their families. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Renate, who passed in 2016.
Born on August 4, 1945 in Easton, Pennsylvania, Father Klein earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies from Yale College, a Master of Divinity from Yale Divinity School and a Master of Sacred Theology from Christ Seminary-Seminex. Ordained to the Lutheran ministry in 1972, he served as a pastoral intern, associate pastor, pastor and senior pastor for Lutheran congregations in New York and Pennsylvania. He served on numerous boards and committees and had written and lectured on various topics during his career as a Lutheran minister.
Father Klein was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 2003. Later that year he was accepted as a seminarian for the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and began his studies at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland. He was ordained to the priesthood by The Most Reverend Michael A. Saltarelli, on April 1, 2006, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Wilmington.
Father Klein’s early assignments were as a member of the diocesan Family Life Bureau, and Hospital Chaplain. In 2011 he was made pastor of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception and Saint Patrick Churches. In 2013, he was assigned as rector of the Cathedral of Saint Peter, in addition to the other two parishes. Father served as chaplain to the Saint Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Wilmington, and member of the Board of Saint Francis Hospital in Wilmington. A staunch supporter of pro-life causes and advocate for the vulnerable, Father Klein served as Director of the Office for Pro-Life Activities and Chair of the Respect Life Committee for the Diocese of Wilmington for many years.
NEW: Bishop Malooly will preside at a concelebrated Mass of Christian burial at the Cathedral of Saint Peter, Sixth and N. West Streets, Wilmington, Delaware at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, December 13, 2019.
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Media Contact: Bob Krebs