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May Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him

Father Gerald Bernard Kempen, O. Praem was the Pastor of Holy Cross Parish from 1984 - 1992.


Father Gerald Bernard Kempen, O. Praem., 85, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, Wis., passed into God's eternal kingdom on Sept., 17, 2011.

Father Kempen was born on July 23, 1926, in De Pere, Wis., to Bernard and Clara(Gevers) Kempen. His home parish was St. Boniface Parish, De Pere, Wis.

In 1944, Father Kempen graduated from St. Norbert High School, De Pere, Wis., and in 1948, from St. Norbert College. He received an MA in American History/European History in 1956 and an MA in Education/Drama in 1958 from Villanova University, Villanova, Penn.

Upon entering St. Norbert Abbey, he was vested as a novice on Aug. 28, 1944. He professed Simple Vows on Aug. 28, 1946, Solemn Vows on Aug. 28, 1949 and was ordained to the Priesthood on May 19, 1951.

During "a full and wonderful Life" as a Norbertine, Father Kempen taught from 1948 to 1970 at St. Norbert High School, De Pere, Southeast Catholic High School, Philadelphia, Penn., and Abbot Pennings High School, De Pere, where he served as Vice-Principal for six years. Father served as Pastor at St. Louis Parish (Dyckesville), Luxemburg, Wis., St. Boniface Parish, De Pere, St. Margaret Parish, Cut Bank, Mont., Holy Cross Parish (Bay Settlement) Green Bay, and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, (Tisch Mills) Denmark, Wis.

Other positions held by Father Kempen include Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus and Vicar-Vicariate VII of the Diocese of Green Bay.

Father Kempen is survived by the Norbertine Community; one brother, Bernard (Patricia); two sisters, Bernice Gevaert, Rose Ann (Don) Polley; nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; six brothers, Marvin, Albert, Gilbert, Adrian, Raphael and Norman; three sisters, Johanna Kempen, Marie Jansen and Elaine Deacon.

The Reception of the Body/Vespers of the Dead will be held at St. Norbert Abbey Church on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, at 7 p.m. Visitation will follow until 8:30 p.m. and will continue on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held in the Abbey Church at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. Rt. Rev. Gary J. Neville, O. Praem., Abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will preside at the funeral liturgy. Please fo to www.ryanfh.com to send online condolences to the family. Burial will be in the St. Norbert Cemetery.

Ryan Funeral Home, De Pere, is in charge of the arrangements.

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