Three new transitional deacons were ordained by Bishop Donald Kettler June 8 at St. Mary’s Cathedral: Deacons Brady Keller, Thomas Skaja and Patrick Hoeft.
At ordination, a deacon becomes a member of the clergy who makes a promise of obedience to the bishop and commits his life in service to the Church. Deacons can proclaim the Gospel, preach and teach, and administer the sacraments of baptism and marriage. The promise transitional deacons make includes a vow of celibacy and is the next step toward priesthood ordination, which usually occurs within one year of the diaconate ordination. God willing, these three men will be ordained to the priesthood in 2020.
NAME: Deacon Brady Keller
HOME PARISH: St. Gall, Tintah
TEACHING PARISHES: St. Michael, St. Cloud and St. Joseph, Waite Park
FAMILY: My dad has farmed all his life and my mom was a paraprofessional at the school I attended K-12. My oldest sister is a fully professed religious sister with the Sisters of Mary Morning Star. My other sister is married with six children living in Kansas.
HOBBIES: Hunting, playing banjo, reading
FAVORITE SAINT: Padre Pio
FAVORITE PRAYER: The Mass
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE PRIESTHOOD?
The Lord drew me to the seminary to prepare for priesthood through the beauty of what we believe as Catholics and through the beauty of the Mass in our Catholic tradition. Our Lord used this beauty to draw me closer to himself and ultimately to take the step into seminary formation for the priesthood.
WHAT DO YOU MOST LOOK FORWARD TO DOING AS A TRANSITIONAL DEACON?
Most of all, I look forward to being permanently committed to Christ and his Church through the promises of obedience, prayer and celibacy that I’ll make at ordination.
NAME: Deacon Thomas Skaja
HOME PARISH: Annunciation, Mayhew Lake
TEACHING PARISH: St. Andrew, Elk River
HOBBIES: Carpentry, pyrography, cards, hunting, fishing, four-wheeling and helping out on the farm
FAVORITE SAINT(S): St. Philip Neri, St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Faustina
FAVORITE PRAYER: The Holy Hour and Divine Mercy Chaplet
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE PRIESTHOOD? What drew me to the priesthood was the love of Jesus Christ, and it’s that love that continues to draw me to the priesthood. I thank all those who have helped me to hear the call of our Lord more clearly, especially my family members.
HOW HAVE YOU GROWN IN YOUR FAITH? One of the ways I’ve grown since entering seminary is becoming a man of prayer, of learning how to remain with Jesus, to watch and pray. I’m very grateful for the formation I have received in these years.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO AS A TRANSITIONAL DEACON?
I am very excited to preach the word of God and to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ! Please keep us in prayer in our ministry as deacons.
NAME: Deacon Patrick Hoeft
HOME PARISH: St. Louis, Paynesville
TEACHING PARISHES: Melrose, Meire Grove, Greenwald, Spring Hill cluster
HOBBIES: Reading, playing cards, playing racquetball, watching the Twins
FAVORITE SAINT: Mary, Mother of God and our Mother
FAVORITE PRAYER: Totus Tuus Maria
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE PRIESTHOOD? Father Richard Leisen, who was my home parish priest until 10th grade, planted the first seeds by encouraging me to think about the priesthood. I started spending more time in prayer during high school and into my first year of college. Reading and praying with Scripture left me with the desire to dedicate everything I have to the service of the Gospel.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT SEMINARY LIFE? Seminary is not just about learning theology and the how-to’s of priestly ministry; it’s aimed at the transformation of the man as a whole: humanly, spiritually, intellectually and pastorally. The goal isn’t just to be a priest functionally; the goal is conformity to Christ the Good Shepherd.
WHAT DO YOU MOST LOOK FORWARD TO DOING AS A TRANSITIONAL DEACON? Having completed six years of seminary formation, I’m looking forward to preaching and just living the parish life. I’m also looking forward to being the deacon in my sister’s wedding this summer.