Ashland Native Ordained a Priest at 66: ‘You’re never too old to serve the Lord’

After retiring from a career as a dentist, Jerome Kleponis, a native of Ashland in the Diocese of Allentown, felt a calling to Google “older vocations to the Priesthood."

Call him Father Kleponis now. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Harrisburg June 4 by Bishop Ronald Gainer.

“I retired from dentistry in 2015 and was a full-time caregiver for my mother. Somewhere along the way, I realized the dignity of caring for other people,” he said.

“I realized I was feeling something different, and it really didn’t hit me until the summer of 2017. I started to receive all kinds of signals,” said Father Kleponis of hearing the call.

“I remember especially on Transfiguration Sunday, which is in August, something told me to look up ‘older vocations to the priesthood’ on the internet. I thought, ‘OK, we’ll do this and see what it is.’ Something told me to keep going forward with the search and to consider it.

“You’re never too old to serve the Lord – that’s what prompted me to pursue this a little further.”

Father Kleponis was born in Ashland, only child of the late Albert and Anna Mae (Burns) Kleponis. He attended St. Mauritius School and Cardinal Brennan High School, both in Ashland; Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (now DeSales University), Center Valley; and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Although he grew up in the Diocese of Allentown, his family moved to the Bloomsburg area about 15 years ago. He is a member of St. Columba Parish there and the first member of that parish to be ordained a priest.

Father Kleponis has been assigned to serve as parochial vicar of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Mechanicsburg.

Photo Caption: Father Kleponis is shown with Bishop Gainer on his Ordination day.


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