In one of the final steps toward ordination to the priesthood, four men from The Saint Paul Seminary are becoming transitional deacons this spring.
Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis seminarians Will Kratt, John Rumpza and Kyle Etzel were ordained to the diaconate Saturday, May 14 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. Seminarian Jason Lee, from the Diocese of Des Moines, will do the same at 5 p.m. Friday, June 10 at St. Boniface Church in Waukee, Iowa.
Kratt, Rumpza, Etzel and Lee are four of 90 total seminarians at The Saint Paul Seminary in 2021-22, which marks the highest one-year enrollment jump since 1975.
“These are exceptional men of faith who have been deemed worthy of the diaconate,” Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, said at Kratt, Rumpza and Etzel’s ordination Mass. “God has created these … men to be sharers in Christ’s mission.”
Seminary alum Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Williams celebrated the Twin Cities transitional diaconate ordination Mass — the first official task of his episcopacy that is exclusive to bishops.
Typically, transitional deacons spend one final year in seminary before priestly ordination. Men ordained as transitional deacons do so with intentions of becoming a priest. All priests are deacons first, but not all deacons become priests; the Church has a separate set “order” in the sacrament of holy orders for permanent deacons, who unlike priests are allowed to marry and often have a full-time job outside of their parish responsibilities.
“A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church,” according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “There are three groups, or ‘orders,’ of ordained ministers in the Church: bishops, presbyters [priests] and deacons. Deacons are ordained as a sacramental sign to the Church and to the world of Christ, who came ‘to serve and not to be served.’ The entire Church is called by Christ to serve, and the deacon, in virtue of his sacramental ordination and through his various ministries, is to be a servant in a servant-Church.”
Following their ordinations to the transitional diaconate, Kratt, Rumpza, Etzel and Lee will take part in a 10-week summer internship at a parish in their home diocese. Then during the school year, they’ll continue to spend time in their Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis teaching parishes and begin performing normal duties of the diaconate: preaching at weekend Masses and participating in or leading baptisms, weddings and funerals.