Bishop DeGrood’s Column

Many reasons to be filled with hope

Many reasons to be filled with hope

Bishop DeGrood's Column, January 2022
In this winter season, I hope we all may be filled with the gift of hope! Our beloved Catholic faith describes hope this way: “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the Holy Spirit. The virtue to hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up…
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The Gift of Religious Interior Freedom

The Gift of Religious Interior Freedom

Bishop DeGrood's Column, December 2021
All the way back to childhood years, I was able to spiritually mature because of the freedom we enjoy in America to teach and practice our faith. I credit God’s spiritual help along with my family, Father Francis Poiliot (my childhood pastor), other clergy, religious sisters, parishioners and Catholic school faculty in Faribault for teaching and helping me to freely live our beloved Catholic faith. We, of course, would not have this without the civil rights in the First Amendment of our country’s Constitution. I thank God and all those who have sacrificed so much to help me develop such faith and reason-based convictions that promote both the common good of society and the proper individual goods and rights belonging to each human person. Because we are made in the…
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Every diocese will contribute to the next synod

Every diocese will contribute to the next synod

Bishop DeGrood's Column, November 2021
In each of the parishes in which I was pastor, I found it really helpful to get insights from the faithful so I could listen to their hearts and experiences and then pray and discern how to best lead the flock to holiness and heaven. We will be doing something similar as a diocese over the next year in response to an invitation to every diocese from Pope Francis to help prepare for the next synod (a meeting of a group of bishops with the pope) in 2023. While I don’t know the outcome of the pope’s worldwide synod process, I do hope our diocesan process will help me serve you on our way to holiness. Most importantly, we must pray that we follow the movements of the Holy Spirit…
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Love in its perfect form is a pure gift from God

Love in its perfect form is a pure gift from God

Bishop DeGrood's Column, October 2021
When I was a kid, I used to think if I just worked harder at building virtue (good habits) and did not give in to vices (bad habits), I could earn God’s love. Well, it just doesn’t work that way. You see, God’s love (also called charity) is a pure gift from him to be received and shared. The spiritual gift of love is the only type of love that fulfills the deepest longings of our hearts. Like all gifts, it must first be received and cherished, and then it allows us to love ourselves and others as God does. Of all the possible virtues that are a gift from God, love is the greatest as St. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “So faith, hope, love remain, these…
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Turn to God for the supernatural gift of faith

Turn to God for the supernatural gift of faith

Bishop DeGrood's Column, September 2021
In a college course I took, I was blessed to learn an important insight from St. Anselm about a good approach to the things of faith that we don’t understand: “faith seeking understanding.” This key insight has been so helpful to me because previously I would come from the disposition of “I need to understand first and then I will believe (have faith).” The problem with my former way of thinking was that I needed to learn that faith is a gift from God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) speaks of faith as the “theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself” (CCC 1814).…
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New opportunities for holiness coming to diocese

New opportunities for holiness coming to diocese

August 2021, Bishop DeGrood's Column
I am pleased to announce two wonderful opportunities for our diocese to grow in missionary discipleship and holiness. First, those involved with the formation of seminarians of our diocese have been researching and proposing ways we can assist men in discernment and in discernment and formation for priesthood. This new initiative is being developed because of the Vatican’s request for dioceses to provide a period of time of formation called the Propaedeutic Stage, which includes intellectual, but above all, human and spiritual formation. This stage of formation is envisioned to occur prior to a man going to the seminary so he can flourish when he does go, and it provides time for those responsible for recommending a man for the seminary to get to better know a man’s readiness and…
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The gift of my faith-filled farming parents

The gift of my faith-filled farming parents

Bishop DeGrood's Column, July 2021
Little did I know as a kid the gift of the impact of my faith-filled farming parents. I suspect like many of us it is easy to take things for granted or to not really see the full value of something until many years later in life. As I grow older, it seems I grow ever more grateful for the faith and farming background of my parents, and how their witness has left a lasting and crucially important impact upon me. My mother’s parents were not able to financially provide for busing for my mom to go to a Catholic high school, but a Catholic education was so very important to them. So my mother lived with a family in town during her high school years and helped the family…
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My first teachers of the faith: Mom and Dad

My first teachers of the faith: Mom and Dad

Bishop DeGrood's Column, June 2021
One of the fascinating things about little babies and young kids is how they learn to mimic others. It’s something parents learn quickly as their children grow, and they also realize the impact parents have on their children’s lives by their own example, especially their spiritual lives. The exemplary impact and role of healthy, happy and holy moms and dads helps us through life to choose to be healthy, happy and holy ourselves. Their words, actions and shared motivations for all good things significantly impact our world and personal views for good or for bad. Of course we are all limited humans and make mistakes and even sin, and some things like physical and psychological health are beyond our control. And of course, we are dependent upon God’s grace in…
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St. Joseph comes alive through dad and brother

St. Joseph comes alive through dad and brother

Bishop DeGrood's Column, May 2021
One of my four brothers was named Joseph, whom we commonly called Joe. He is the one among us five boys who likes to stay on the farm and work rather than do public sorts of things. I learned many things from my brother Joe as we grew up: how to raise rabbits, pigeons, trap, hunt and so many things about nature, cows, pigs and other farm animals. He is a farmer and nature enthusiast who loves to live a very hidden, simple, faith-filled wholesome life as a farmer and hunter. And he is generous when it comes to helping the Church and others, along with his wife, Connie. Joe was really a “chip off the old block” like my dad who is known for saying, “I will usher at…
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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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