New assignments support healthy priestly life

New assignments support healthy priestly life

April 2021, Bishop DeGrood's Column
There is a great saying “As the shepherd goes so too the parishioners.” It has been on my heart and in my prayer to find ways to help our clergy be as healthy, happy and holy as possible so they can help each of you be healthy, happy and holy. After listening to insights from clergy, laity and members of the Clergy Personnel Committee, as well as discerning the gifts of priests and insights in prayer, I am changing our approach to priestly assignments for a variety of reasons: To promote healthy, happy and holy priestly life and ministry, I asked for input at our Clergy Days last October on what they would find helpful. I then surveyed our priests to see which ones would be open to living with…
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In the silence, God speaks

In the silence, God speaks

Bishop DeGrood's Column, March 2021
Perhaps you are much like me in wanting to hear God speak to you. After many years of learning more about prayer, I have found that it is important for me to be in silence so I can hear the voice of God speaking to my mind and heart. Learning how to receive all the good things God wants for me and His direction in my life is not always easy. But if I can find the right environment, time and an open disposition to really listen, I am much more able to hear and receive God’s interior messages in my mind and heart as I prayerfully try to listen intently. One such place in our diocese I find helpful to spend time in silence is Broom Tree Retreat Center…
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Getting a glimpse of a generous diocese

Getting a glimpse of a generous diocese

Bishop DeGrood's Column, February 2021
In my home diocese I often wondered “what does the diocesan annual appeal really support?” This was the question I needed answered for myself as your bishop. Frankly, as I dug into the details more, I have been struck by how many of the Catholic Family Sharing Appeal (CFSA) resources are used to help pastors, parishes and staff in parishes and Catholic schools. I have been able to get this glimpse through my questioning and observations this past year which has helped me understand more fully how many of our Chancery staff help support so many parishes, schools and other outreach ministries. This year in our annual diocesan Catholic Family Sharing Appeal, I asked that we highlight the ministries supported so you, too, can get a clear glimpse of the…
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God’s greatness shines through our humility

God’s greatness shines through our humility

Bishop DeGrood's Column, January 2021
When I think of humility as I look back on my 55 years of life, what stirs in my heart and mind is how much humble people and our humble God have inspired me. I think of my parents who came from humble beginnings in farm families trying to get settled in America. Neither of them liked having to speak in public or be on church committees, but they loved just being on the farm doing their daily tasks as farmers. As country school students for most of their education years and the need to work hard to get ahead, they learned the value of humble beginnings, humble lifestyles, and a humble disposition before God. When I think of humility, I think of my severely disabled uncle Donnie who humbly…
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Waiting is essential for growth in holiness

Waiting is essential for growth in holiness

Bishop DeGrood's Column, December 2020
I prayed, longed for and waited 23 years for a rural parish until God blessed me with a mostly rural diocese! Wow what a gift beyond my imagination, but only a foretaste of heaven. Man is it hard to wait for what I want. This has been my experience most of my life. It seems I always wanted the next thing, the ideal, the fullness of my desires. Much of my life I tried various ways to fulfill those desires, sometimes discovering what I was desiring was more surface things like the pleasures of money, power, possessions, the mind or the body. In seeking and having some of those things I would eventually discover they didn’t satisfy my heart where my deepest longing is. My heart has and always will…
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The “thirst” of Jesus is deep and strong

The “thirst” of Jesus is deep and strong

Bishop DeGrood's Column, November 2020
The striking words of Jesus on the cross “I thirst” have long been understood in our Catholic faith as Jesus’ thirst for all of humanity to receive God’s love. Consider these words written by St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) to the sisters in her community explaining the meaning of Jesus’ “thirst”: “Not only [that] He loves you, even more—He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. Even if you are not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes—He is the one who always accepts you.” As a kid I just figured Jesus was thirsty for some water to drink, but as I am learning more and more to receive the love…
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God calls each of us to a purposeful life

God calls each of us to a purposeful life

Bishop DeGrood's Column, October 2020
One of the people who has had the greatest impact on my life is someone whom, by the world’s standards, was a “burden on society.” He was a man who never earned a living, someone who relied on everyone else for his basic needs all his life, someone who consumed a lot of other people’s time, energy and resources. Some may consider his life worthless, costly and unworthy of an investment of time and resources. He was however, and continues to be though he died in 1984, a man who helped me find my purpose in life because of his love, prayer, insights and humble witness. That person is my uncle Donnie, whom I was named after. My uncle Donnie, severely disabled since birth, was classified as having cerebral palsy.…
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What does “Lifelong Catholic Missionary  Discipleship Through God’s Love” look like?

What does “Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship Through God’s Love” look like?

Bishop DeGrood's Column, September 2020
If your experience has been like mine, faith has been more a personal matter between God and me. Through my years as a Catholic layman, priest and now bishop, I have a much deeper understanding of the importance to know, love and serve God through study, prayer and sharing my faith with others. I have learned to receive and share what God intends for others. As I look back on my life I am grateful for those wonderful examples in my family, friends and teachers who have taught, loved and challenged me in a good way to become comfortable talking about my faith with others. It is so great to no longer fear sharing my faith with others and the joy of doing it has brought a great sense of…
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God’s love helps preserve and restore innocence

God’s love helps preserve and restore innocence

August 2020, Bishop DeGrood's Column
On December 11, the night before the announcement that I was appointed the new bishop of our diocese, I was driving from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls. It was a lovely evening. As I headed through the rural areas of Interstate 90, I was struck by the lovely cold evening as the moon shone over the barren, partially snow-covered farmland. My interior spiritual sense was that I was returning to a Nazareth sort of place—a new home in which the innocent life I loved and remembered as a child was being restored to me. It was this spiritual experience in my prayerful ponderings that inspired these two lines in my “God is Love” prayer which I felt inspired to write: “Protect us from evil and help us to live a holy…
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God’s promptings in the silence of my heart

God’s promptings in the silence of my heart

Bishop DeGrood's Column, July 2020
In each of my assignments as pastor and now as your bishop, I have received a particular grace (spiritual insight from God) to provide a clear vision or focus for everyone to follow. The clear sense I got in prayer for our diocese is that God desires for everyone in our diocese to focus on lifelong missionary discipleship through God’s love. Our feature article this month is written by Fr. Scott Traynor who is working with the diocesan Discipleship and Evangelization Team so they all can support the missionary discipleship efforts of clergy, staff and parishioners in all our Catholic parishes, schools and other Catholic institutions. Here are some insights from Fr. Traynor and the team he is overseeing. The team has been engaged in fruitful efforts around the diocese…
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