Meet the Diocese of St. Cloud’s new deacons!

 On Saturday, June 10, three men will be ordained deacons for the Diocese of St. Cloud; two seminarians to the transitional diaconate, and one candidate to the permanent diaconate.

What’s the difference between a permanent deacon and a transitional deacon?

There are two levels of deacons in the Catholic church. One is as a transitional deacon, the other is as a permanent deacon. They are often ordained at the same time.

A transitional deacon is a candidate for the priesthood. In most cases, he will be ordained a transitional deacon a year before he is ordained a priest. Canonically, transitional deacons have to wait six months after diaconate ordination before they can be ordained to the priesthood. Thus the term ‘transitional’ is used. All men called to the priesthood must first be ordained transitional deacons. A permanent deacon, however, will not become a priest, and will remain as a permanent deacon. Many permanent deacons have a family and work normal jobs.

At the June 10 ordination, both the transitional deacons and permanent deacons will make a vow of obedience to the bishop and his successors. The transitional deacons will also make a vow of celibacy.

Meet the transitional deacon: Daniel Ruprecht

Home parish: Assumption Parish, Eden Valley
Teaching parishes: Four Pillars in Faith Area Catholic Community
Daniel is in his third year of major seminary at the Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul. He is originally from Eden Valley.




Q: What are you most looking forward to about being ordained a deacon?

A: What I most look forward to in becoming a deacon is proclaiming the Gospel. As a deacon, they get to read the Gospel at Mass and they have an opportunity to preach, too. I’m really looking forward to stepping into this role of proclaiming the Good News and really putting into practice and letting other people know what I’ve been studying and learning these last few years.

Q: What is your favorite class that you’ve taken in seminary?

A: Christology was my favorite class, getting to learn about Christ. But I’ve really liked all the Scripture classes as well; we’ve had some really good Scripture classes, so that’s been really good, too.


Meet the transitional deacon: Kevin Soenneker

Home parish: St. Paul, Sauk Centre
Teaching parishes: Two Rivers Catholic Community
Kevin is in his third year of seminary at the Saint Paul Seminary and is originally from Sauk Centre.




Q: What are you most looking forward to about being ordained a deacon?

A: I’m really looking forward to putting into practice all of the theological studies that we’ve learned, and incorporating the teaching parish program with the community that I’m in with Father Gregory Mastey. Also, meeting the people where they’re at and spreading the Good News of the Gospel and that of Jesus Christ to the people.

Q: What is your favorite class that you’ve taken in seminary?

A: My favorite class is the one I’m taking now: “Summa Theologiae Tertia Pars.” We’re concentrating on the life of Christ by St. Thomas Aquinas. It’s all Christological based; questions like “What does it mean to be sitting at the right hand of God?” and  “Did the Father resurrect Jesus, or was he resurrected on his own power?”


Meet the permanent deacon: Leo Wehseler

Hometown: Crosby, Minnesota
Current parish: St. Joseph, Pierz

Leo Wehseler will be ordained a permanent deacon for the diocese on June 10. He lives in Pierz with his wife, Maggie, and their five children: Catherine, 13; Maria, 12; Elizabeth, 7; Mark, 4; and Justin, 1. Leo graduated from North Dakota State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He currently works as the product development engineering manager at DeZURIK.


Q: Can you share a bit of your faith story?

A: I’m a cradle Catholic. I went through some experiences in life growing up that pulled me closer to the faith because of how I saw it in other people and how much it meant to them. Once you get to college, there’s always that “Is this the right faith?” and “Do I believe in this?’”and all that stuff. I never really fell away, but just questioned it and then came back to yes, this is the faith. That was even more reinforced as I interacted with more people, whether that was in formation or everything else. The more I learned about the faith, the more it was, yep, this is the faith that is true and what God wants us to follow.

Q: What led you to become a deacon?

A: My wife and I moved around a lot for school and careers, so were never able to get plugged in in a parish and I always felt like I should do more. We landed in Pierz and it was more permanent, so I got more involved, but still felt like I should be doing more. That’s where this deacon thing seemed to maybe be a direction. I called the diaconate and said “Just tell me I’m too young because then I can check that box and not worry about it.” They met with me and said well you’re not too young, pray about it and see where you want to go. I started the application process and that’s where I’m at today.

Q: Can you talk more about that desire that led you to the diaconate?

A: It was this nudge on my heart of “You’re not quite where you should be’”; just not at peace with where I’m currently at. I thought about it and prayed about it for a while and I did more stuff; I got to be on the parish council, I was almost a Grand Knight for our council for the Knights of Columbus, and I became more active, but that restlessness never went away until I started pursuing that vocation towards the diaconate. Life got crazy, but the peace in my heart was there, that this is the right thing that God is calling me to do.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most about being ordained a deacon?

A: Not doing homework! I said I’d never go back to college after I graduated with my undergraduate, and that was for me one of the hardest things of signing up for a master’s degree.

I’m really looking forward to focusing more on the people that I serve and that I’ll work with rather than just doing the homework. I’ve been transitioning more and more towards that, so that’s been awesome. I’m a first responder for our community, so for me, that’s awesome to be able to be with people in their need. Sometimes that time that’s most precious is when there isn’t a lot to do other than wait for the ambulance, and you’re there to comfort them and be with them. Sometimes you’re praying with the people after the person has gone to the hospital. So being in the community and being that face that you can be growing closer to God and still work and have a family; you don’t have to be a priest to be holy.

Q: What was your favorite class during your diaconate formation?

A: Healthcare ethics. My wife is a veterinarian; I always found the medical side of things kind of interesting. This class went into all the different life circumstances that a lot of people go through, whether it’s beginning of life, end of life, and the moral dilemmas that some of those bring up. It’s not black and white, it’s really gray and dependent on the person. To be able to walk through that with people and help them figure out what decisions they need to make in light of the Church is a big comfort for them. Having that guide to help walk through that balance of what healthcare looks like for a Catholic, just that understanding, it was a real eye-opener for me.

Join us for diaconate ordination!

When: Saturday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Cathedral of St. Mary, St. Cloud

Author: Gianna Bonello

Gianna Bonello is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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