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Paynesville Press - January 1, 2003

Top 12 Stories of 2002: Father Leisen gets award

By Michael Jacobson

Father Richard Leisen Father Richard Leisen, who served as the executive director of Catholic Charities of the St. Cloud Diocese for 22 years, was honored in August 2002 as the first recipient of the Father Richard J. Leisen Award. Leisen received the award during a special mass with Bishop John Kinney during the Rural Life Celebration at St. Louis Catholic Church, where Leisen has served since stepping down as the executive director of Catholic Charities in 1987.

Father Leisen, front - far right, helps celebrate the special mass officiated by Bishop John Kinney, center.

Father Leisen grew up in St. Cloud and attended the Krosier Seminary in Onamia and St. John's University, where he studied theology. After five years as an assistant priest in Pierz and two years at his home parish, St. Mary's Cathedral in St. Cloud, he earned a master's degree in social work from Fordham University in New York City. He then serves as executive director of Catholic Charities from 1965 to 1987, during which time its budget grew from $300,000 to over $6,000,000.

(Editor's Note: the Press has identified these 12 stories as the top news in the Paynesville area for 2002. For the top accomplishments in sports, see the 2002 sports review.)

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