Organ donation: Two priests talk about gift of a lifetime

Fathers Peter Kirchner, left, and David Grundman met recently at St. Michael Church in St. Cloud to talk about their experiences.(Dianne Towalski / The Visitor)

The story begins like this: On the morning of June 7, Father David Grundman woke up, said his prayers and began thinking about the day ahead. It was not unlike most mornings except for the fact that he was in a hospital room at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Minneapolis, preparing to undergo major surgery.

This is where the story takes a suspenseful twist. You might wonder what illness or injury had befallen Father Grundman, pastor of St. Michael Parish in St. Cloud and St. Joseph Parish in Waite Park.

Those who know him well know the 55-year-old priest is in peak physical condition, always eating well, exercising regularly, full of energy.

Here is where the plot begins to thicken. Insert new character: Father Peter Kirchner, pastor of the parishes of St. Francis de Sales in Belgrade, St. Donatus in Brooten and Sts. Peter and Paul in Elrosa.

On Divine Mercy Sunday in 2013, Father Kirchner was spending time with some of his brother priests at a cabin on Lake Osakis when he began to feel extremely ill. Father Mark Stang drove Father Kirchner to Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria. Continue reading
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