Bringing Consolation, Building Community
Fr. Joe Kiene had a gift for consoling people in times of crisis, as well as those who found themselves far away from home. And while he often lived apart from his Franciscan brothers, he was able to create communities with those he served.
Friar Joseph Lawrence (Joachim) Kiene OFM Conv. passed away on July 17, 2020, in Angola, Indiana. He was born on March 18, 1937, in Lima, Ohio, and was predeceased by his parents Louis and Pearl (Klapperich) Kiene. He entered the minor seminary at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, in 1951. He professed first vows as a Franciscan Friar Conventual on July 17, 1956, receiving the name Friar Joachim. He professed solemn vows on July 23, 1960, and was ordained to the priesthood on February 22, 1964, at St. Paul Cathedral in St. Paul, Minnesota.
After spending six years in parish ministry, Fr. Joe became a chaplain in the United States Navy and found his true vocation. His Franciscan formation brought out his gifts for hospitality and service to those in non-traditional settings, and he used those gifts to build a deep sense of fraternity and God’s loving presence wherever he served.
“Not long after he began serving in the south Pacific, the head of the base called him in to ask what he was doing,” said Fr. Jim Kent OFM Conv. “The attendance at Catholic Masses had jumped since Fr. Joe had been there, and was larger than any other denomination. It turns out that when he arrived, Fr. Joe visited every individual and family on the chaplain office list, whether they were Catholic or not. He said: ‘I’m Fr. Joe. Let me know if you ever need anything.’”
After seven years of active duty in the Navy, Fr. Joe spent two years as chaplain at the Wisconsin State Prison before being invited back to military duty. This time he was assigned as a chaplain at the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Indianapolis. He would be based there for the rest of his full-time ministry.
“He was very much respected there,” said Fr. Jim. “From the clerical staff to the security guards to the other chaplains – he was known and well-loved by all.”
While working at the VA, he also served as chaplain for the police and sheriff’s departments in Indianapolis.
“One day he was in a grocery store and a man approached him,” Fr. Jim said. “The man told him that Fr. Joe probably wouldn’t remember, but he had come to his home with the police to tell him his son had been killed. He thanked Fr. Joe, telling him how his concern and compassion had meant so much to him and his wife at the worst moment of their lives.”
Fr. Joe retired to the Friars’ community in Angola, Indiana, in 2014, and continued to seek out those in need, visiting and providing the sacraments at nursing homes in the area.
The funeral Mass for Friar Joachim Kiene will be on Thursday, July 30, at 11am at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Angola, Indiana. Visitation will be that morning, from 10-11am in the church vestibule. There will be Special Vespers from the Office of the Dead at 7pm Thursday evening. Arrangements for his burial at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, will be announced later. Memorial gifts may be made to The Province of Our Lady of Consolation here with the provided form or sent to Province of Our Lady of Consolation, 103 St. Francis Boulevard, Mount St. Francis, Indiana 47146.