Answering call later, former teacher honored to serve as priest

Five transitional deacons who are being ordained to the priesthood May 25 at the Cathedral of St. Raphael in Dubuque. All are recent graduates of Mundelein Seminary in Illinois and will start serving in archdiocesan parishes very soon.

By Dan Russo

Witness Editor

ST. LUCAS — Answering God’s call to the priesthood later in life, Deacon Jim Goerend is now reaching the destination of ordination after treading a long and winding road. As the 51-year-old prepares to take this monumental step, he is grateful and excited.

“I consider it an honor to accompany God’s people on their journey, as others have accompanied me on my journey,” said Deacon Goerend. “To be present when people receive the sacraments through Christ’s church is a privilege, a privilege not to be taken lightly. Priests serve as a bridge for people to encounter God, and it is a humbling thought to realize that God has chosen me as his instrument – working through me to be present to his people.”

The son of Rosie Goerend and the late Ed Goerend was born in West Union and grew up in St. Lucas. He has six older brothers and sisters, Jeanne Adams, Bob (Juli) Goerend, Vicki (Dan) Pavlovec, Dave (Darla) Goerend, Maureen (Sean) Sailsbury and Patrick Goerend (deceased). His home parish is St. Luke’s in St. Lucas.

After high school, Deacon Goerend attended Loras College in Dubuque and enrolled in St. Pius X Seminary. Following a year of studies, the deacon left Loras and the seminary program to travel and see other parts of the country. Later, he enrolled in the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in Cedar Falls and graduated from there in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in history.

Deacon Goerend taught high school social studies in several districts in northeast Iowa until making the decision to re-enter seminary in the fall of 2013. The deacon wished to thank his family and also several friends who have helped him along the way, such as Father Mike Kellogg.

“He’s a priest of the Diocese of St. Cloud,  and we were classmates at Loras College, many moons ago,” said Deacon Goerend. “He was also an older vocation and understands the trials and joys of seminary for an older man. For six years he would call me every two to three weeks, to check on me, to encourage me and to kick me in the backside when I needed it.

Deacon Goerend also wished to thank Father Tom McDermott of the archdiocese for supervising his internship at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Waterloo.

“He has been a wonderful mentor and friend,” said the deacon. “By the way, ­Father Tom, I’ll be calling you a lot for advice after ordination.”

In his spare time, Deacon Goerend enjoys fishing, baseball, following Notre Dame sports, cooking, and reading history books, especially biographies. He is looking forward to meeting his future parishioners.

“I enjoy gathering with people to visit and listen to their stories,” he said. “I’m a pretty laid-back fellow. I have, how­ever, learned from my teaching days not to mention what food/candy/treats I like. I once mentioned in class that I like Mike and Ike candy, and about a week later, one of my students brought me two 5-pound bags of Mike and Ike’s. It took me a whole semester to get through all that candy, and that included sharing it with my co-teachers and students.”

 

Cover photo: Deacon Jim Goerend (back row, far left) is pictured with his mother (front row, center) and his siblings. (Contributed photo)

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