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Father John Klein
Father John Klein ministered in Flint for 18 years, from 1980 to 1998, and loved working at St. Michael Parish and St. Agnes Parish. It was a difficult time in the city’s history, a far cry from the city’s golden years.
“A lot of people were left with no jobs and insufficient education to find employment that paid as well as the factory jobs,” Father John says. “It was just a sad situation for a lot of good people. The presence of the Church at those times was even more important.”
Father John was an enthusiastic missionary at St. Agnes. He worked to strengthen the neighborhood through his ministry at DuKette Catholic School, and by starting programs such as a summer recreation program and a food pantry.
“The Catholic church was an important player in the community. People valued the presence of the Church,” says Father John. “I considered the people in the neighborhood to be my parishioners even if they were not Catholic. More than a few people became Catholic because they appreciated what the Church had to offer.”
Father John knows his experience in Flint molded his outlook as a parish priest. Reaching out to those without faith or struggling to survive in difficult circumstances is second nature to him now, and that began for Father John in the heart of Flint.
“Working in Flint was a pretty powerful experience for me,” he says. “I continue to view every church as a mission. Some parishes need a certain kind of person and a certain kind of heart. Places like Flint need people who can think outside the box and share the belief that Christ has something to offer to everyone.”