In 1988, Father James E. Kleiner succeeded Father Walsh. He came from Pueblo, Colorado where he served as a hospital chaplain. Father Kleiner had lived for a time in a Benedictine monastic community. There he remembers how he became closely acquainted with Thomas Merton. Father Kleiner expressed a concern for groups that would help people in need such as those in grief, abusive situations, or the hurt and pain of divorce.
During Father Kleiner's 12 years at St. Joan's, the religious education building was remodeled in preparation for development of the Early Learning Center. The lower level of the church was remodeled for use by the Youth and the Religious Education programs. Father Kleiner also began collecting a fine series of religious artworks still enjoyed at St. Joan's.