COLLEGEVILLE -- The Rev. John Klassen of the Order of St. Benedict was elected on Friday to serve as the 10th abbot at St. John's Abbey.
Klassen, 51, an associate professor of chemistry at St. John's University, will succeed Abbot Timothy Kelly, 66, who recently completed his eight-year term in office.
A panel of 179 certified electors of the abbey chose Klassen, who will receive an abbatical blessing on Dec. 17 from Bishop John Kinney of the St. Cloud Diocese.
Klassen will lead 196 Benedictine monks who work at St. John's University, St. John's Preparatory School and the Liturgical Press, as well as hospitals, parishes and retirement centers.
The monks also work in monastic communities in Nassau, Bahamas; and Fujimi, Japan.
Klassen grew up on his family's dairy farm near Elrosa, about 40 miles west of Collegeville in central Minnesota. He has the choice of serving as abbot until he turns 75.
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