Almost a deacon, Schroeder’s goal is ‘to be known as a follower of Jesus’

| December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

Jackie and William Schroeder
DAVE HRBACEK | THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

William Schroeder, 63, said that a prayer for vocations at Mass stirred his heart to seek out diaconate formation. A parishioner of Holy Family in St. Louis Park, he and his wife, Jackie, have seven children. He is retired from his work in manufacturing. Schroeder is scheduled to be ordained a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis Dec. 7 at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. The Catholic Spirit asked him via email about his vocation. His answers were edited for clarity.

Q. What inspired you to pursue the diaconate?

A. A convert to the Catholic faith. The Holy Spirit would prompt me when praying the vocation prayer at church. Certainly, my wife, pastor and other deacons encouraged me as well.

Q. What made you certain this was your call?

A. The Holy Spirit would prompt me when praying the vocation prayer at church. The diaconate program was not in place at the time. I wrote to Archbishop Nienstedt and he wrote me back saying the program would resume the following year.

Q. What aspect of diaconate ministry are you most looking forward to?

A. Being a servant of the Church. Loving all of God’s people whether they are in the Church or not.

Q. What areas of ministry are you especially interested in?

A. Serving on the altar to gain the strength and wisdom to serve wherever God leads.

Q. What role will your family plan in your new ministry?

A. Kids are mostly all grown. My wife, Jackie, is very supportive and has a multitude of her own spiritual gifts. It is a true blessing to have the support of family.

Q. Where do you see the greatest needs in the local Church?

A. As I heard at Archbishop Flynn’s funeral, one of his sayings was “it is time to turn the page.”  The Apostle Paul states it: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:13b-14).

Q. What part of your formation has been the most rewarding?

A. We are blessed in this archdiocese to have many gifted teachers and clergy. Our main director is Deacon Joseph Michalak. I have been blessed by this dedication, love and teaching abilities. 

Q. Who has been a model for your ministry?

A. Jesus. The Bible talks about being surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Heb 12:1-2).

Q. What do you most hope to offer the Church through this vocation?

A. A heart set on Jesus. To be known as a follower of Jesus.

Q. What has been the most challenging part of pursuing this vocation?

A. Perseverance in remaining steadfast to the call with maintaining the balance with God, family and work. 

Q. What can the Church do to inspire other men to answer the diaconate calling?

A. Pray. Continue to pray the prayer for vocations at every mass.

Q. What advice would you give another man discerning the diaconate?

A. Deacon Joe would say, “Trust the process.” I would say pray and as a practical avenue, enroll in the Catechetical Institute. The institute serves as a great way to build your faith and knowledge while studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This two-year program also serves as a prerequisite for diaconate formation.

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Category: Deacons