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Father Merlin A. Kieffer

Father Merlin A. Kieffer Father Merlin A. Kieffer was born on a farm near Clifton, KS on March 5, 1934, the second youngest of 7 children of Peter and Anna (Esslinger) Kieffer. He attended a country school until 1945 when the family moved to a farm near Hanover. He finished elementary school at St. John’s School, Hanover [grades 6-8] and attended high school at St. Francis Seminary, Victoria, KS.

He attended college and theology at St. Gregory and Mount St. Mary’s of the West in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he received an MA in Philosophy. On May 26, 1960 he was ordained priest for the Diocese of Salina at his home parish of St. John’s, Hanover.

He did graduate work in counseling psychology for 4 summers at Catholic University in Washington D.C. and was guidance counselor and instructor in Latin and Church History at the Catholic high school in Concordia and at Luckey High in Manhattan. He served as Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Concordia from 1960-63, and at Seven Dolors and Luckey High from ’63 to ’71, while also serving in parish ministry as associate pastor. From 1964 to ’71 he was also Pastor of St. Patrick’s, Ogden.

He served as Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Goodland, St. John the Baptist, Beloit, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Salina and its mission of St. Joseph, Brookville, St. Frances Cabrini, Hoxie and its mission of St. Martin, Seguin, Ss. Peter & Paul, Clay Center, and its mission of St. Anthony, Miltonvale. He retired in 2005 due to health problems to Seven Dolors Parish, Manhattan and assisted in sacramental ministry. He led and supervised the parish ministry to parishioners who were sick, homebound, in the hospital and in local care homes.

From 1980 - 1986 he served as the Director of Education and Superintendent of Schools of the Salina Diocese. He also had pastoral care of St. Patrick Parish, Gypsum, and later St. Bernard’s, Ellsworth. He served on the Kansas Bishops’ Board of Governors as the “Schools” representative of the 4 dioceses in Catholic Education.

In 1989, during a sabbatical, he entered a 4-month Sabbatical Renewal of priestly renewal of Scripture, Theology and Spiritual Renewal at Notre Dame campus, and a second semester in further study of Scripture, Biblical Archeology and Geography at Ein Karim, Israel through a program with theology students of St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN. The sabbatical included study tours throughout Israel, the Sinai, Egypt and Greece.

He was a member of Rotary Club and served as President and in other leadership offices. He was privileged to be named a Paul Harris Fellow.

He was preceded in death by his parents, sisters Marjorie Leis and Bernadine Vering, brothers Alvin and John. Surviving him are his brothers Robert (DeAnna) Kieffer, Bremerton, WA and Charles (Linda) Kieffer, Wilmington, DE and many nieces and nephews.

A Parish Vigil Service will be held at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday September 28, 2021 at the Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Manhattan.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday September 29, 2021 at the Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Manhattan, with Bishop Gerald Vincke as the Celebrant and Father Joseph Kieffer the Homilist. Interment will be held at 5:00 p.m. at the St. Marys Cemetery in Clifton, Kansas.

The Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas is assisting the family with the funeral arrangements.

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