Visiting Deaf priest celebrates Mass for local community

Father Christopher Klusman of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, one of 11 Deaf priests in the United States, distributes Communion during Mass on Sept. 30 at Holy Saviour Church, Westmont.
Photo by Alan M. Dumoff

Everybody desires to be understood. Everybody desires to be loved. Everybody desires to have a personal conversation with God. Yet, there are barriers in our world when it comes to language. For example, not everyone speaks English or Spanish.

American Sign Language (ASL) is a language and a gift to Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons. We Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons wish that everyone could sign and have a natural conversations with us.

We also want to be able to understand God through ASL. Last Saturday, Sept. 30, Father Christopher Klusman, a Deaf priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, joined us for the Catechetical Convocation. Father Klusman spoke to us in our language, American Sign Language. Our Deaf Community and other participants enjoyed his presentation.

He also celebrated Mass at Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s Holy Saviour Church in Westmont.

Father Klusman is one of 11 Deaf priests in the United States. He serves as associate director of Deaf Ministry and a high school chaplain in Milwaukee.

A huge fan of “Star Wars,”  he shared with us how we can apply concepts in the “Star Wars” movie to our Catholic values and live our Catholic values in everyday life.

Father Klusman explained how the phrase, “May the Force be with you” is like the Holy Spirit working in us as we move about in our daily lives.

The Holy Spirit is our helper, our guide, our advocate. We need to practice leaning on the Holy Spirit and ask the Holy Spirit to help us when we struggle against the dark forces in our lives. The Holy Spirit will help us search for peace.

In the Star Wars movie, Yoda plays the character of Jedi Grand Master and becomes the voice of wisdom. Yoda then trains Luke Skywalker to become the Jedi master. We can use Yoda’s wisdom as we read the stories in the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand their meaning. When we face hard times, the Holy Spirit inspires us to make good decisions.

In the movie, Yoda shows wisdom with love. In our lives, God reveals his wisdom to us through Jesus, his Son. The Holy Spirit is the love between God the Father and his Son, Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the love we can share with each other.

The Force, God’s Holy Spirit, is with us.

Kate Slosar is co-director, Ministry With the Deaf, Diocese of Camden.