Father Omer U. Kline, O.S.B., a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey, died on Monday, January 17, 2011. He was born in Hastings, Pa., on July 10, 1923. He was the son of the late Isadore and Zita (Peters) Kline.
He is survived by his sisters, Mrs. Mary Louise Parrish of Nicktown, and Mrs. Donald (Hilda) Dumm of Ebensburg.
Father Omer attended Saint Bernard Parochial School and Hastings Public School in Hastings, and was a 1941 graduate of Saint Vincent Preparatory School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from Saint Vincent College in 1946, and completed his ordination studies at Saint Vincent Seminary. His graduate studies were at the Catholic University of America, where he received a Master of Arts degree in American History in 1955; and, at the Teachers College of Columbia University, where in 1963 he was awarded a Doctoral Degree of Education specializing in the teaching of speech.
He entered the Benedictine monastic community of Saint Vincent Archabbey as a novice in 1943. He made simple profession of vows on July 2, 1944, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1947. He was ordained a priest by the late Hugh C. Boyle, Bishop of Pittsburgh, in Saint Vincent Archabbey Church on June 12, 1949.
Father Omer served the monastic community as subprior for 28 years from 1966 to 1994. From 1966 to 2007, he served as administrative assistant to five archabbots. For the same length of time he was archivist for both the Archabbey and the American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictines, and was awarded the title of Archabbey Archivist Emeritus in 2007. His previous assignments were in the educational apostolates of the Archabbey. At Saint Vincent Scholasticate he was a prefect from 1944 to 1948; and, at Saint Vincent Preparatory School, from 1948 to 1955. He taught American history, social studies and economics in the prep school from 1949 to 1956, where he was also moderator of the National Forensic League Chapter. At Saint Vincent College he was a prefect from 1955 to 1956 and from 1960 to 1962, and was named an instructor in speech in 1962, assistant professor of speech in 1964, associate professor of speech in 1968, and professor of speech from 1981 to 1987. Also, from 1962 until 1966 he was Dean of Students. At Saint Vincent Seminary he was named an instructor in homiletics in 1960, assistant professor of homiletics in 1964, associate professor of homiletics in 1968, and professor of homiletics from 1981 to 1987. In 1987, he was named Professor Emeritus of Homiletics, and in 1988 received Saint Vincent Seminary’s Nova et Vetera Award for excellence in teaching. In 1994, Father Omer was honored with the Saint Vincent Seminary Alumni Award at the annual Alumni and Planned Giving Associates Banquet. Since 1991, a seminarian has received the “Omer U. Kline, O.S.B., Excellence in Preaching” Award.
In addition to his teaching duties, Father Omer was a member of the Board of Directors of the Saint Vincent College Corporation from 1966 to 1981, where he also served as secretary from 1966 to 1971. From 1966 to 2003 he was secretary of the monastic Chapter of the Archabbey. For 37 years—from 1966 through 2003—he was both a member and the secretary of the Archabbey’s Council of Seniors. From 1971 to 1979 he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Greensburg Catholic Publishing Associates.
His pastoral service included weekend ministry at Holy Cross Parish, Youngwood, and Saint Gilbert Parish, Hunker from 1962 to 1990, and at the Carmel of the Assumption Monastery, Latrobe, from 1991 to 1994.
Father Omer was the author of The Sportsman’s Hall Parish Later Named Saint Vincent, 1790–1846, published in 1990 by the Archabbey Press, and of The Saint Vincent Archabbey Gristmill and Brewery, 1854-2000, published in 2000 by Archabbey Publications. He was a member of the Society of American Archivists, the American Catholic Historical Society, the Catholic Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania and the Westmoreland County Historical Society.
The body of Father Omer will be received in the Elizabeth J. Roderick Center at 3 p.m. Tuesday, January 18. Viewing will be held in the parlor of the Roderick Center from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, and from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. The body will be transferred to the Basilica for the Vigil Service at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Archabbey Basilica, followed by the Rite of Committal in the Saint Vincent Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Benedictine Health and Welfare Fund of Saint Vincent Archabbey, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650.