Diocese of Wilmington experienced two firsts this weekend with the
priestly ordinations of a Mexican native and a married man, who was
formerly a Lutheran pastor.
Bishop Michael Saltarelli ordained Salvador Magana, 34, of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Leonard Klein, 60, a father of three adult children. Hundreds came out for the ordination Saturday at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
Prior to the ordination, Klein had been serving as deacon at a parish and living with his wife of 36 years, Christa Klein, and his daughter, Renate, in Brandywine Hundred.
Klein was ordained a pastor for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1972. But he eventually “grew weary of being a voice against liberalization [including same-sex marriage] while standing for traditional Lutheran doctrine and liturgy,” he told the Delaware News Journal.
So in 2002 he approached the Catholic diocese about becoming a priest and was approved. Klein studied at St. Mary's Seminary to fill in the gaps of his earlier training at Yale Divinity School. Klein becomes one of 100 married men around the nation who've left other denominations to become priests in the Catholic Church.
Salvador Magana has been living in Milford. He, too, served as a temporary deacon at a parish prior to his priestly ordination.
Magana is one of three children in a family of 10 to enter religious life. He had felt the call to the priesthood since age 16, but he did not know where God was calling him to serve until he arrived in the Diocese of Wilmington while visiting with nine other Guadalajara seminarians.
He prayed for a year to confirm God’s call and eventually gave up his studies in Mexico to immigrate to the United States and complete his formation at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore.