By Dan Russo
MARION — After years of training and formation during which Deacon Tyler Raymond was a temporary part of many parishes, he hopes to forge deep connections to the community he is first assigned to as a priest.
“To be able to celebrate, preach, teach, worship, and even mourn with a parish over the long term on a daily basis is the most important part of priesthood I’ve only gotten tastes of so far,” reflected the 27-year-old. “To get to know the people I will serve, and let them get to know me, so that we can all grow together in the call God has for us. Without long term personal relationships, ministry can feel like just learning or getting better at skills, not shepherding a flock. The parish dynamic is what I’m looking forward to most.”
Deacon Raymond was born in Cedar Rapids, the son of Gary and Julie Raymond. He has one younger sister, Haley. Raymond grew up in Marion where his family attended St. Joseph Parish. He is a graduate of Linn-Mar High School in Marion. After his high school graduation, Raymond attended the University of Iowa where he studied European history and classical languages/ancient civilizations. He transferred his senior year to Loras College and the St. Pius X minor seminary, from which he graduated in 2015.
During his final year of formation, Deacon Raymond has been striving to get closer to God and prepare for his vocation.
“For some reason the Lord has been teaching me a lot during baptisms this year,” he said. “I’ve gotten to do a few now, and when I’ve done them I’ve experienced real tangible moments of grace. I’ve been learning more and more that despite my weaknesses and insecurities, God has chosen me to be an instrument of his grace for others and that I can rely on him to supply what I cannot.”
Some of Raymond’s hobbies include gardening, canoeing, kayaking and building computers. Over the years, he has benefited from the support of many people, including his family and friends. He wished to give thanks to everyone, even people he hasn’t had contact with in a while.
“Looking back at my time discerning priesthood, I have really come to appreciate how all the people in my life in many, many ways have helped bring me here,” said Deacon Raymond. “There’s too many people to thank, but if I could, I would especially want all the people I’ve lost touch with to know the impact in whatever small way they have had. We can’t underestimate what even the littlest encouragement or engagement or just holy example does for someone. I just hope that God will thank them for me!”
In the last weeks leading up to his reception of the sacrament of holy orders, Deacon Raymond has been able to attend the ordinations of some of his classmates.
“Now it’s just preparation of the last details and some prayerful rest to give God room to increase his love in me so I can be the priest he wants me to be on the day of ordination!” he said.
Cover: Deacon Tyler Raymond (right) and an associate pose for the camera while working at a golf outing for Mundelein Seminary in Illinois. The native of the Cedar Rapids and Marion area recently graduated from that institution and will be ordained to the priesthood of the Archdiocese of Dubuque with four other men on May 25 at the Cathedral of St. Raphael in Dubuque. (Contributed photo)