Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology has awarded the 2014 Dehon Distinguished Ministry Award to Fr. Christopher Klusman.
The Dehon Distinguished Ministry Award is presented annually in honor of Fr. Leo John Dehon, founder of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The award recognizes an alumnus of Sacred Heart who has given distinguished service to the Church and humankind in professional or volunteer endeavors, in leadership in civic or social work, or in the promotion of intellectual or cultural pursuits.
Deaf since birth, Fr. Klusman serves as associate director of the Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Fr. Klusman's office provides deaf and hard of hearing awareness, serves in consultation for deaf and hard of hearing people in parishes and schools, and coordinates services and programs for deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf/blind people in the archdiocese. His office also assists parishes to identify and achieve accessibility goals. Members of the office work closely with the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, the Deaf/Blind Center and the International Catholic Deaf Association. In that role he has greatly increased ministerial connections with deaf Catholics.
He is one of only a handful of U.S. Catholic priests who are totally deaf.
His work was the subject of an EWTN documentary, “Hearing God,” hosted by Robert Dolan, an in-depth look at Fr. Klusman’s call to the priesthood and the challenges he faced on his pastoral journey.
A Milwaukee native, Fr. Klusman also serves as an associate pastor at Roman’s in Milwaukee.
The award was presented before a group of alumni, students, faculty and other dignitaries at an Oct. 22 gala.