As a small boy, Father James Hahn walked by a rectory on his way home from piano lessons. Seeing the monsignor and assistant pastors eating dinner around the table, the young Hahn thought he might like to be a priest. He decided to pursue the priesthood and now, nearly 52 years later, he still finds joy in it.
“I had an idea of what I wanted to do in life, and with a lot of twists and turns, I ended up basically becoming and doing what I wanted to be — a parish priest,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to be, and that’s what I became.”
At age 77, however, he thinks that it is time to step down and will retire from being a pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church July 2. He does not plan to completely abandon the ministry, but will still help out in parishes. He plans to continue to reside in Cambridge and also pursue his hobby of toy trains. “It’s always been a wonderful weakness of mine,” he said.
Looking back, he says his years in ministry were “very good and quite varied.”
“My greatest joy was being able to bring Christ, especially in the sacraments, to people on many different occasions,” he said. “One would be giving the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, from at an automobile crash scene to someone passing away quietly in a nursing home, in which I could be the instrument bringing the presence of Christ sacramentally to people who needed strengthening and those who were finishing off the course of their lives. And I enjoyed hearing confessions. In the name of Christ I could tell someone firmly, ‘I absolve you from your sins.’ ”
He served at 16 parishes and was a teacher, counselor and superintendent at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. He served as president of the ministerial associations in Wadena, St. Cloud and Cambridge. He also served as a diocesan consultor. For numerous years, he wrote “To the Point” for the St. Cloud Visitor.
Father Hahn served at Holy Angels in St. Cloud, St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud, St. Anthony in St. Cloud, Our Lady of Victory in Fergus Falls, St. Leonard in Pelican Rapids, St. Charles in Herman, St. Theresia in Donnelly, Holy Spirit in St. Cloud, St. Ann in Wadena, St. John the Baptist in Bluffton, Assumption of Our Lady in Menahga, St. Hubert in Blue Grass, Sacred Heart in Sauk Rapids, St. Pius X in White Bear Lake, Our Lady of Guadalupe in St. Paul, and Christ the King in Cambridge.
• Father Donald Wagner will be the new priest at both Christ the King and Sts. Peter & Paul Church in Braham.