A Grain of Wheat
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Edited by Christa Ressmeyer Klein || Foreword by George Weigel
A Grain of Wheat contains sixty-five of the sermons that Leonard R. Klein preached as a shepherd of souls. Formerly a Lutheran pastor, Klein entered into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2003 and was ordained a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, in 2006. With the exception of his last sermon as a Lutheran pastor, this volume draws from more than five hundred sermons that he proclaimed as a Catholic priest.
Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (John 12:24)
The first four sections of A Grain of Wheat follow the liturgical year: Advent through Christmas; Lent and the Easter season; Ordinary Time; and Solemnities and Feasts. The fifth section offers an array of Occasional Sermons, notable among which are those given at funerals (including that of his daughter Renate) and at weddings. In the words of Christa Ressmeyer Klein, his wife and this volume’s editor, Fr. Klein was “a teaching preacher who coaxed parishioners to put on the whole armor of God and be equipped to lead holy lives.” A veritable feast of good and nourishing preaching, A Grain of Wheat is certain to sustain both those who hear the Word and those who bear the honor of preaching it.
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Father Leonard R. Klein (1945–2019) served the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, as rector of the Cathedral of St. Peter and pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church / St. Patrick Church. A Lutheran pastor from 1972 to 2003, he was ordained a Catholic priest in 2006. Notable for his effective expository preaching, liturgical sensibility, and pastoral care, Father Klein was also director of the Respect Life Committee for the Diocese of Wilmington and chaplain to the St. Thomas More Society.
Christa R. Klein, Ph.D., his wife of fifty years, enjoys their family of two married children and seven grand-children. She taught at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she also served as founding dean for the Center for Continuing Formation. She is president emerita of In Trust, a center founded to strengthen leadership in Christian theological seminaries in North America.
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Praise for A Grain of Wheat
Every good homily has the power to console, refresh, and encourage the believing heart. It’s not an easy task. In a sense it’s perilous work, because—done well or done poorly—every homily translates the living Word of God into lessons and counsel that can shape the course of lives with clarity or confusion; zeal or indifference. Father Leonard Klein, Catholic priest and former Lutheran pastor, was a master craftsman in the art of preaching; a man of profound faith and a gifted wordsmith in the language of Christian belief. The homilies collected in this volume rank among his very best. They are a joy and a treasure to read. (Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia)
As the son of convert Protestant ministers, I have some understanding of the courage, fidelity to the Splendor of Truth and trust in the will of God that it took for Fr. Leonard Klein and his wife Christa to enter the Catholic Church. Fr. Klein’s Collected Sermons give witness to his passion for holiness and truth, reflecting the depth of his interior life and the depth of his intellectual and pastoral charity. (John O. Barres, Bishop of Rockville Centre)
This splendid collection of sermons is theologically rich and personally challenging. Indeed, the sermons are so challenging––and inspiring––precisely because they are also theologically substantive. As in Newman one encounters here no artificial separation of head and heart, of reason and imagination. Father Klein’s words engage the whole of our being, in the concreteness of our everyday lives, and lead us gently to the praise and glory of God. His grain of wheat has yielded a truly abundant harvest. (Father Robert Imbelli, author of Rekindling the Christic Imagination)
These sermons will richly enhance your understanding of our high calling as Christians, especially in marriage, a sacrament which Fr. Klein believed brings healing to our wounded world. His sermons empower married couples in the pews to look upon our catastrophic social order, understand their role in God’s plan, and go out to save the world. (Ana Samuel, PhD, Academic Director, CanaVox)
Father Leonard Klein…was a shining witness to what it means to be a good shepherd of the flock. He nourished his people with the Word of God and the grace of the sacraments. He could do so because he was himself a radically converted Christian whose ministry grew out of a life of prayer and study. Leonard Klein’s distinctive life-experience is not easily replicable. But his example, as a biblically literate Christian and a minister of the Gospel, could well be emulated by many. (George Weigel, in the Foreword to A Grain of Wheat)