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New deacons reflect on ceremony

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)

The newly-ordained deacons are looking forward to serving in the diocese and enjoyed the many moving moments during their ordination ceremony.

Deacon Thomas Henrich, parishioner at St. Joseph in Le Mars, was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Cecilia, four children and his daughter-in-law and one grandchild. His parents and all of his brothers and sisters were able to come and many of his nieces and nephews along with their spouses.

“The Litany of the Saints was fantastic, feeling the presence of all of the saints in heaven praying for us at that moment,” said Deacon Henrich, who was vested by Deacon David Brown. “Being the Deacon of the Eucharist for the Mass was beyond description.”

He added “elevating the chalice after consecration with the bishop was also very special.”

As a deacon, Deacon Henrich is looking forward to evangelization and educating people in the faith as well as working with the sick and dying and helping to develop healthy marriages.

Deacon Robin Claypool, a parishioner at St. Rose of Lima in Denison, was joined at the ceremony by his wife, three children, his mother, brother and sister and her husband and daughter along with several parishioners from St. Rose. He was vested by Deacon John Rudd.

“My dad was not able to attend since he is in a nursing home,” said Deacon Claypool. “The entire Mass was special to me. I kept thinking of him, and all he has ever done for me.”

He said he is most looking forward to helping “with our priests’ work load, as well as the staff, and trying my best for the laity of St. Rose. I am honored to have this position.”

“Clearly the most moving part was the Litany of the Saints while we were all prostrate before the altar,” said Deacon Joe Coleman, a parishioner at Holy Trinity in Fort Dodge.

Among those there to support Deacon Coleman were his entire family and grandchildren from around the United States along with his two brothers and their families, and a number of special and close friends from Fort Dodge and the surrounding area.

Coleman was vested by Deacon Dan Carney, who is the "senior" deacon in Fort Dodge.

“I look forward to being able to bless the people with whom I come in contact - especially in the nursing homes and hospitals I visit,” he said. “I have been bowled over by the warm reception of my fellow parishioners at Holy Trinity in Fort Dodge.”

Deacon Rick Salocker, also a parishioner at Holy Trinity in Fort Dodge, was joined by his wife, children, friends and other relatives.

He was also vested by Deacon Carney, who has been a friend of his for years.

“He (Carney) has also been invaluable in helping us in the practicalities of deacon service,” said Deacon Salocker, who added laying prostrate on the floor listening to the Litany of the Saints was a moving moment for him. “I would like to thank all our parishioners for their prayers and support during my formation.”

Deacon Rick Rohr, a parishioner at St. Mary’s in Storm Lake, was joined by friends and relatives. He was vested by fellow deacon, Deacon Paul Kestel.

He said the most moving part of the ceremony for him was the blessing from Bishop Walker Nickless.
Now that Deacon Rohr is ordained, he is looking forward to serving those in need and getting closer to the Holy Spirit.

Deacon Dennis Brockhaus, a parishioner at Immaculate Conception in Sioux City, was supported by his wife, children, parents, brothers and friends at the ceremony.

He was vested by Father Armand Bertrand, who is the pastor at Immaculate Conception where he will be serving. The most moving parts of the ceremony for him were the laying on of hands and the choir.

Deacon Brockhaus is most looking forward to “serving the Lord and allowing him to work through me.”
Deacon LuVerne Burke, a parishioner at St. Malachy's in Madrid, was joined by his wife Mindy, his children

and his parents at the ordination.

“I am exceedingly thankful to Bishop Nickless for his care and concern for Holy Mother Church and those who represent her in Holy Orders,” he said. “Other special thanks to Father Brent Lingle and Deacon David Lopez, not only for their participation in the ordination, but also for their tireless instruction for these past many years. A special thanks to Father (James) Bruch of St. Malachy's, St. John’s and Father John McGuirk of Early, Sac City and Wall Lake and many other holy men for their support and prayers.”

Deacon Burke was vested by Deacon Butch Stone. The most moving part of the ceremony for him was “when bishop laid his hands upon me. No words were audible because the words of the Holy Spirit were so loud. It took all of my strength to keep from collapsing from the unexplainable joy in my heart.”

Deacon Dan Goebel will be serving the parishes of St. Joseph in Granville, St. Anthony in Hospers and St. Mary in Alton. He was supported by family and friends, both present and absent. He had one friend who came from New Jersey for the ceremony.

He was vested by Deacon Rick Roder, who Goebel said “has been, and continues to be, a tremendous mentor for me throughout this journey.  The man exemplifies what it means to be a humble servant of God.”

“The most powerful moment was when Bishop Nickless placed his hands on my head,” said Deacon Goebel. “I could feel something happening at that moment. I was also moved by Bishop recognizing our wives and families. Their commitment and involvement has been amazing.”

He is looking forward to serving as deacon at Mass, offering blessings, visiting the sick and dying and “whatever else the Holy Spirit has in store.” 

Deacon Kevin Poss, a parishioner at Nativity in Sioux City, was joined by his wife, children, grandson, dad and numerous family, friends and parishioners.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support from so many people, some I barely know,” he said. “I am thankful to Bishop Nickless and to all who had a hand in our formation.”

The first man to be ordained a deacon in the diocese, Deacon Bill Berger, vested Deacon Poss.

“It was very special for me and I hope for him. He is a man to emulate in holiness and service,” said Deacon Poss.

He said a memorable part of the ceremony was watching his wife smile and “offering the cup of Jesus’ blood to family, especially family who had never received the precious blood before.”

Family members and parish friends joined Deacon Paul Gengler, a parishioner from St. James in Le Mars. He was vested by Father Paul Eisele and Father Kevin Richter, the Le Mars parish priests and good friends of Gengler.

He said the moving part of the ceremony for him was “Bishop Nickless talking to me directly while laying on of hands and handing on the Book of the Gospels.”

“I highly recommend the diaconate to the men of our diocese who have a calling to this service,” said Gengler, who is looking forward “to serving the people of our parish community throughout their lives.”

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