FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) – The search for a missing priest in his apartment in Franklin is intensifying, six days after he first went missing.
Father Anthony Kluckman, or John Frederick Luckman, has Alzheimer’s disease. The 75-year-old man walked out of his apartment at 1:35 a.m. Thursday, July 21.
The priests of the convent of the Sacred Heart were the last place Father Anthony was seen.
This week, his family offered a $10,000 reward for information that helped bring him home, but it’s been a disappointing search so far with few clues.
Mary Gorski is the communications director for the Sacred Heart Province of America. She knows Father Anthony well, and says, “We feel like every avenue of search has been explored.”
Search dogs, sonar, and professional search teams scoured the ponds, reservoirs, golf courses, parks, and forests around the Sacred Heart Monastery Priests.
Still no sign of Father Anthony.
“The only clue we have at the moment is that the last image of Father Anthony was captured by the security camera at around 1:35 a.m.,” Gorski said.
That was the last time he was seen.
Despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Father Anthony has never left before. Others have been following him since he moved in more than a year ago.
“His priests, brothers, and community were really watching him closely,” Gorski said.
Anthony’s father grew up as a military kid, living in at least 10 states as a child. Gorski says it prepared him to respond to God’s call and serve wherever he was needed.
For over 20 years in Chamberlain, South Dakota, as a chaplain at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
That’s where Clare Willrodt worked with him. She said, “The kids love him. I mean, part of the reason why they get into so many things.”
At Saint Joseph, Father Anthony took on many roles. He loves the arcade, bowling and refereeing basketball games, making popcorn for kids, and keeping the graduates alive.
Willrodt says he has a special gift for connecting, especially during his holidays. “He used to wander around the church during his sermons and if they answered questions he would toss them a Sacajawea coin, sometimes landing in the wrong place, but it was all part of the story. fun.”
But in recent years he has noticed his mental health decline. He celebrated his last Mass more than a year ago.
Willrodt said, “He did a wonderful job in his closing liturgy explaining the difficulty he was having. And it’s great to see him being able to share that honestly. I remember him expressing deeply the difficulties he was facing. He spoke of it with wisdom and tenderness and it was truly moving.”
In the spring of 2021, he retired to the Priest of the Sacred Heart. Gorski describes moving house as being like returning home to family.
Now, a family is hoping and praying for a safe return.
Gorski said, “It was very difficult. Sure, it’s like losing a member of your family. Everyone’s guessing what happened. What they should have done. I like Father Anthony, or I shouldn’t have said it in the past tense. I’m a lot like Father Anthony.”
As the search continues, authorities are contacting other areas where Father Anthony has lived or ministered in case he has any contacts there.
From South Dakota, Clare Willrodt said there were many candles burning on campus and in homes as people there prayed for Father Anthony’s safe return. She said, “Because that’s our way of praying when we can’t constantly pray, and just have faith.”