Monk of Saint John’s Abbey
Collegeville, Minnesota (USA)
Born: 1 January 1932
Professed: 11 July 1952
Ordained: 7 June 1958
Died: 28 June 2019
James Edward Dindorf was the oldest of two children of Edward Charles and Evelyn Ann (Sullivan) Dindorf, born in Rochester, Minnesota, on 1 January 1932. His father was a civil engineer, and his mother was a homemaker. James attended Christ the King Parochial School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and graduated from De La Salle High School in 1949.
During his high school years, James was impressed with the teaching skills of the Christian Brothers at De La Salle and considered a vocation with them, but he later made the acquaintance of the Benedictine priests from Saint John’s Abbey through their pastoral work at Christ the King Parish, and he decided in favor of the Benedictines.
When entering the year-long novitiate at Saint John’s Abbey, James was given the monastic name Meinrad and made his simple profession on 11 July 1952. He graduated from Saint John’s University in 1954 with a B.A. in philosophy and enrolled in Saint John’s Seminary the same year. Brother Meinrad professed final solemn vows as a Benedictine monk in 1955 and, upon completing his program of priesthood studies, was ordained in 1958. Following ordination, Father Meinrad attended the Georgetown University Institute of Languages and Linguistics, Washington, D.C., and was awarded his Master of Science degree in Russian and Linguistics in 1963.
Father Meinrad taught Russian at Saint John’s University from 1961–1965 in addition to serving as the assistant managing editor for Worship magazine from 1962–1964. Following this editorial assignment, he became a prefect for day students at Saint John’s University for a year in 1964. The next year, he took up residence as a student himself at Saint Anselm’s parish, New York, until 1967, when he was awarded his S.T.M. in Eastern Orthodoxy from Union Theological Seminary and Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York.
He became associate pastor at Corpus Christi Parish on New York’s upper west side from 1967–1970 and then resumed editorial work at Saint John’s Abbey for one year as acting managing editor for Worship magazine. Returning to the educational world in 1970, Father Meinrad became an instructor in the Theology Department at Saint John’s University until 1978 in addition to serving as the department’s theological bibliographer from 1974–1978.
Father Meinrad’s pastoral assignments included part-time associate pastor positions at Saint Augustine’s Parish, Saint Cloud (1974–1975), and at Saint Joseph’s Parish, Saint Joseph, (1975–1977). He served as pastor of Saint James Parish, Jacobs Prairie (1977–1978). His next assignment as pastor of Saint Mary’s Mission at Red Lake (1978–1986) was during a challenging time for church and government relationships with Native Americans. Father Meinrad was also pastor at Saint John’s Church, Nebbish (1978–1982).
He respected the Ojibwe people, incorporating some of their customs into the liturgy, and he studied the Ojibwe language at Bemidji State University and practiced it with an elder at Red Lake. He felt enough confidence in the language one year to preach the Gospel of the Nativity in Ojibwe. Father Meinrad’s pastoral experience with the Ojibwe at Red Lake was likely a prelude to his appointment as director of the Office of Indian Ministry, Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, from 1987–1989.
His next assignment was as associate pastor at Saint Mark’s parish, Shakopee, from 1986–1987. Additional pastoral assignments included chaplain intern at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis (1989–1990), where he earned his certificate in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), as well as chaplaincies at the University of Minnesota Hospitals, Minneapolis (1990–1996), and at Saint Benedict’s Senior Community, Saint Cloud (1996–2013). In 1997, he gained certification in Geriatric Pastoral Care Ministry from Luther Theological Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota. In 1994, Father Meinrad was presented with the Distinguished Service Award for his chaplaincy work at the University of Minnesota Hospitals.
Finally, after serving as vicar of parishes and chaplaincies from 2004–2012, Father Meinrad retired at Saint John’s Abbey in August 2013 while he continued to help pastorally when asked.
Father Meinrad died peaceably on 28 June, in the retirement center at Saint John’s Abbey. He is survived by nephews and the community at Saint John’s Abbey. The monks, family, and friends celebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for Father Meinrad at 10:30 a.m. on 6 July 2019, in the Saint John’s Abbey and University Church with interment in Saint John’s Cemetery following the service.
We commend our brother, Meinrad to your prayers.
Abbot John Klassen OSB
and the monks of Saint John’s Abbey