Rev. Lawrence J. Klein, pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Harlingen, TX, passed away on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at the age of 66.
Fr. Larry was born on November 20, 1953 in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1984 by Bishop John J. Fitzpatrick.
During his years of priesthood he served in the following parishes in the Diocese of Brownsville: San Martin de Porres, Weslaco; St. Anne, Pharr; St. Joseph the Worker, McAllen; St. Pius X, Weslaco; St. Margaret Mary, Pharr; Sacred Heart, Mercedes; St. Francis Xavier, La Feria; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Brownsville; and St. Anthony, Harlingen.
As pastor, it was important for him to build community. He worked diligently with various groups in each of his parishes and emphasized church unity. He had a wide range of experience in ministry and befriended many people throughout the diocese.
Fr. Larry had a passion for social justice and working with the poor. In his early years of ministry he was a leader with Valley Interfaith, working alongside others to bring paving, lighting, sewer services, and potable water to the colonias. He also worked on other justice issues, such as, health care, job training and living wages.
As a respected member of the presbyterate he served on numerous diocesan boards and committees supporting his bishops, advocating for his brother priests and promoting a diocesan vision.
Fr. Larry was devoted to Catholic education. Most recently, through Fr. Larry’s leadership St. Anthony Catholic Community built new classrooms and a Community Center/Gymnasium for their parochial school. It was his vision that any child who wanted a Catholic education should be given the opportunity to receive one. He, therefore, initiated the Angel Scholarship Program to assist families with limited resources. During his most severe illness Fr. Larry continued to bring laughter, encouragement and concern for the well-being of the teachers and students.
Fr. Larry is the son of the late †Joe and †Wilena Klein; the adored brother of Charlotte (Tom), Robert, Rene and †Daniel; the uncle of Sherri Appleton, Shane Bukowski, Jennifer and Chrissy Bailey, Keven and Chrissy Strom; the great uncle of Owen and Benjamin; special cousin of Wilfred and Teresa, Daniel and Carolyn, Charles and Kathy, Cliff and Cheryl; and a loyal friend to many others. Fr. Larry was devoted to his two rescued dogs, Cholula and Charlie Klein.
Fr. Larry’s family wishes to thank the following: Edna Lopez and Kathy Stapleton, his special guardian angels; the staff of St. Anthony Parish who were also his dear friends; Drs. Donald Roa and Cynthia Luna-Salazar; and devoted friends too many to mention.
All funeral services will take place at St. Anthony Catholic Church located at 1015 E. Van Buren, Harlingen, TX. Visitation will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a recitation of the Holy Rosary at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. Funeral Mass will be on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 10:00 am. Interment will be at Heavenly Grace Cemetery, La Feria, TX. Following the burial, a reception will be held at the St. Anthony’s Community Center. Serving as Pallbearers are: Tom Brason, Fr. Jerry Frank, Clifford Kraemer, Fr. Cesar Partida, Fr. Patrick Seitz, Daniel Stemmler, Fr. Luis Roberto Tinajero and Timothy Ward.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Anthony Catholic School. Fr. Larry is now at peace sleeping with the angels!
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