Saturday, August 26, 2006

St. Olaf Church's colorful former pastor, Father Francis Fleming, died at 89

His downtown Minneapolis church was dwarfed by the nearby IDS Center, but Monsignor Francis Fleming had far more stories than any skyscraper.

As pastor of St. Olaf Catholic Church, he filled the parish bulletin with his essays, articles and travelogues. By the power of his written word, he attracted a nationwide following.

"The mailing list just continued to grow and grow, and it was sent all over the country,'' said the Rev. Paul Jaroszeski, a former associate. "People everywhere heard about it for some reason.''

Today they will mourn Father Frank Fleming, who died Wednesday at the Marian Center nursing home in St. Paul. He was 89.

Father Fleming, whose earlier ministries included a Marine Corps chaplaincy and a pastorate at Blessed Sacrament Church in St. Paul, served St. Olaf for 28 years until his retirement in 1992. St. Olaf drew in the very wealthy and the poorest of the poor. He treated them no differently, say those who knew him.

He also worked ceaselessly, former associates said, to take the church's ministry into the city and to strike up ecumenical relationships with downtown churches of other denominations.
Father Fleming was one of 10 children from a family on St. Paul's West Side. Four of the 10 became priests. One brother, the Rev. Martin Fleming, served as an Army chaplain for 30 years. Frank once went to visit his brother in Sydney, Australia.
[snip] Pioneer Press

StarTribune Obituary

The funeral will be today at St Olaf's; The PPD says 1:00 p.m.; the Strib says 11:00 a.m.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

1 comment:

Terry Nelson said...

Ahhhhhh! That is when I loved St. Olaf's - when Monsignor was in charge - there was no one quite like him. He was a good priest. God rest his soul.

He was a tough guy to live with, and trained his newly ordained assistants well. One fellow I know was chided for hanging out with the Office girls. He kept a sharp eye out. He balanced these men well I think. You had to love him, even if he ticked you off at times.