St. Catherine of Siena Parish remembers Frances J. Kleitz, first Woman Parish Trustee in the U.S.

TRUMBULL—Frances Jean “Fran” Kleitz, who is said to have been the first woman to hold the position of Lay Member of the Parish Corporation, or “Trustee” in any parish in the United States following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, passed away on May 31, after a long illness.

Her Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Catherine’s on June 5 by her cousin, Msgr. Frank McGrath, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport who currently serves as Chaplain of Ave Maria Law School in Naples, Florida. St. Catherine’s fourth Pastor, Msgr. Richard Shea, and Father Joseph Marcello, its fifth and current Pastor, concelebrated.

Noting in his homily that Fran passed away on the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Msgr. McGrath spoke of Fran’s positive outlook, love for her family, and love for her parish, all of which sprang from her deep faith in God, and her trust in his love.

“Fran was here from the very beginning,” said Father Marcello. “She used to tell me stories of watching the church being built in the late ’50s. Through all these years, Fran was never afraid to get involved, to roll up her sleeves, and support the parish in any way she could. From her leadership of the Ladies’ Guild, to running this fundraiser or that service project, to her membership on the Parish Council and as a Trustee, Fran was a woman of such deep faith, and a friend and confidant to all five pastors of St. Catherine’s.”