Such a statement might be dismissed as a platitude, but its truth was apparent when Monsignor Schleupner discussed the decision-making process behind his impending June 30 retirement.
“Probably about four years ago, a man in the parish … he said this thing to me: ‘You’ll know when it’s time,’” the monsignor, who turns 70 on Aug. 23, recalled.
He didn’t know what the man meant then, but rather than discard his words, he kept them in his head until he found out.
Once he did, Schleupner recalled the advice of another layperson: “It’s very important to retire to something and not just retire from something.”
Part of that was taken care of for him.
After 10 years as pastor of St. Margaret and 44 years a priest, the monsignor received official notice in late April from Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori that his request to retire had been granted.
“Soon after, I got another letter asking me to serve on a committee for the pastoral planning process,” Monsignor Schleupner laughed, referring to process initiated by the archbishop’s pastoral letter, “A Light Brightly Visible: Lighting the Path to Missionary Discipleship.”
The task should suit Monsignor Schleupner well, though, according to his St.Margaret parishioners, many would.
“One of the things that impresses me so much about him is just how broad his area of expertise is,” said Russell LaGreca, a lifetime parishioner who also serves on the finance committee.
Growing up in Northwood a parishioner of St. Matthew and student at the parish elementary school, Monsignor Schleupner attended minor seminary and two years of college at the former St. Charles Seminary College in Catonsville before completing his seminary training at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg.
“He’s always taking into consideration the opinions of a diverse group of people,” noted Michelle Sullivan, a 24-year parishioner currently serving on the board for St. Margaret School. “He serves as if he’s leading a community of faith versus ‘it’s his parish.’”
He hopes to offer spiritual mentorship at the Caritas Counseling Center in Towson, a recently opened service of the Silver Spring-based St. Luke Institute.