Father Tony Klein is our featured priest this month. He was born and raised in Sioux Falls and has two older sisters. He was ordained May 29, 2020, and is currently serving as the chaplain of Bishop O’Gorman High School as well as the vocations advocate for the diocese. He also assists at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph when needed.
How did you get your call to the priesthood?
I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do when I was growing up, but different doors kept closing and I was more and more drawn to the seminary. I had considered the priesthood a bit as a kid—particularly through serving Mass and praying a prayer for vocations at our parish and at home. Once I was in seminary, I started to learn much more about what the priesthood is, and not just what a priest does. So after a couple years in seminary, I was pretty sure that I really wanted to be a priest.
What did you do before the priesthood?
I went to seminary right after graduating high school. But while in high school, I was involved in choir, theater and soccer. Had I not pursued the priesthood, I probably would’ve done something with math.
Is there a particular part of Catholicism that really fascinates you?
I love history (which doesn’t mean I’m “good” at it). I’ve found it very helpful to know that I am a part of something much bigger than what is visible to the here and now. Hearing the stories of people in the history of the Church—from the martyrs of Rome to the priests on the prairie—has given me a perspective that my life, while full of dignity, is very small in comparison to the history of God’s salvation. It also makes me realize how important it is to pass on what has been passed down to us.
Who was most influential in your life?
I am fortunate to have had great role models in the faith, especially in my family. My parents and sisters were all great examples of how to integrate a life of faith into everyday life. My sister Laura (now Sister Mary Colette) probably affected me most because she started taking her faith more seriously at a time when I was also asking more questions about God, life and the Church.
What’s your favorite part of being a priest?
There are many things I like doing as a priest—everything from the sacraments to going to parishioner sporting events. However, the more I learned about the priesthood as the one to offer sacrifice to God on behalf of the people, the more I was drawn to the priesthood. So my favorite part really is celebrating the sacraments, especially celebrating Mass.
What’s the most challenging thing?
I like solving problems, but sometimes I can’t. It’s a challenge to see people go through difficult times and not be able to “fix” their situations. In the long run, it is a gift to see them endure their difficulties well with God’s grace and grow in holiness, rather than just having the difficulty removed in the first place.
Who is your go-to saint? Why?
Blessed Miguel Pro. He’s the first saint I learned about with whom I felt a real relatability. His time period (20th century) and location (Mexico) are very close to us, and I was inspired at how he maintained peace and his sense of humor in the midst of horrible religious persecution.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like to cook, read, play basketball and spend time with my family and friends, especially brother priests.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I love to play piano!
How can your parishioners and people of the diocese best help you be a great priest?
Remember our humanity! We have the grace of Holy Orders, but that doesn’t destroy our humanity. We can’t do everything.
If you could have supper with anyone from history (besides Jesus), who would it be and why?
St. John Henry Newman. I love his writings, am inspired by his love for truth, and greatly admire the courage of his conversion. I would love to learn from him over some fish’n’chips!