Monsignor Jerome Boxleitner has died. The one-time parish priest was the founding force behind what is today known as Catholic Charities.
Boxleitner was a St. Paul native, and took an interest in charity work early in his career. He brought together a variety of Catholic social work programs and was a key supporter of the St. Joseph's Home for Children in Minneapolis and in building the Dorothy Day Center for the homeless in downtown St. Paul.
He died Thursday at age 82. A funeral has been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday.
Tim Marx is one of his successors as the head of Catholic Charities. He said Boxleitner remained an inspiration long after he retired from the organization in 1998.
"He led the organization and led the community at a time when the issues of social justice and poverty were really paramount in what the community was trying to address," Marx said. "He was really very forceful and very articulate, in calling people to action and inspiring them to action."
Marx said Boxleitner was a guiding hand, from the street to the halls of the state Capitol.
"In many ways, he was, he was the mayor for the poor in the region, and he represented them tirelessly and well, in whatever forum was necessary for them to be represented," Marx said.