“I guess I don’t really have a day off,” said Lawrence Kaas, of Sauk Centre. “But that’s OK.”
Kaas has kept himself busy as a Catholic deacon as well as an operator of a clock repair shop. If he isn’t the oldest Catholic deacon in the area, he is at least the second oldest, according to the 83-year-old.
Lawrence Kaas, 83, of Sauk Centre serves as a deacon at area Catholic churches. He also operates a clock repair shop. Photo by Allison Norgren
“I’m certainly the oldest active Catholic deacon,” said Kaas, who works seven days a week just about every week of the year.
Almost 30 years ago, after helping with mass for most of his life, Kaas felt studying as a Catholic deacon was the next natural step. Deacons assist with various parts of the Catholic mass and can administer many of the sacraments. Kaas studied for three years prior to being ordained (given the title of Catholic deacon) and then studied another year and a half after that.
“I do a lot of baptisms, and assist at mass every day,” he said of his duties. These masses take him to the local nursing home and assisted living facilities in Sauk Centre, the two Catholic churches in Sauk Centre and St. Alexius in West Union. He also administers communion each Monday morning.
Kaas’ wife, Agnes, died 12 years ago, but she was happy that her husband pursued his interest in becoming a deacon.
“Agnes told a priest friend that she was glad I am a deacon to give me something to do after she passed,” said Kaas.
There’s always plenty for Kaas to do. He believes that has been his secret to longevity.
Kaas also operates at clock repair shop, which he has done for about 40 years. Before that, he fixed office equipment.
“Every once in a while, I get a clock in here that proves I’m not as smart as I think I am,” said Kaas with a laugh as clocks ticked in his repair shop. “I enjoy the challenge of this work,” said Kaas.
Kaas said it’s good to cut back on work but never retire. He’s glad that most days he is still able to sneak a nap or two in during the day.
He admitted that serving God, working with people and keeping busy are what he was made to do.
“I try to abide by loving God and loving your neighbor,” said Kaas. “You just do what you gotta do. I never really thought I would live this long.”
In a class he took in his deacon studies about death, Kaas wrote that his tombstone would say “He died on his last day of work.”
And he is loving every minute of it.