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Archives ‘Spending time with Jesus’ before ordination’

May 24, 2023

By Darcy Fargo

As he prepares to be ordained to the priesthood on May 27, Deacon Lukas Gruber said he’s experiencing “a mix of emotions.”

“There’s the feeling of moving on to a new stage of my life, being done with seminary studies and being assigned to a parish full time,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it, but there are those feelings of nervousness that naturally arise when entering a new phase of life. My primary emotion is definitely one of excitement, though. It’s a mix of emotions, but not all are equal.”

Deacon Gruber said his “practical preparation” has included practicing celebrating Mass, but also his preparation for ordination has been mostly spiritual.

“I’ve been spending time in adoration, spending more time with scriptures and with the rosary,” he said. “It’s really spending time with Jesus. That’s the best way anyone can prepare for entering into a new stage of their vocation, regardless of what that vocation is.”

Deacon Gruber said he’s looking forward to applying what he’s learned through his seminary studies and formation and sharing it with the people of God.

“There’s a certain joy in taking what you’ve prepare for and seeing it working in a meaningful and concrete way with and for the people of God,” he said. “Of course, the learning never ends, and that’s true no matter what vocation we’re called to.”

Specifically, though, he’s looking forward to celebrating the sacraments.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating Mass,” Deacon Gruber said. “And I’m looking forward to hearing confessions. That’s always a special encounter with the Lord, experiencing his love and mercy, and encountering him in the Eucharist.”

Deacon Gruber said he feels his pastoral year in the largest parish in the Diocese of Columbus has aided in preparing him for pastoral work.

“I learned a lot of things,” he said. “The parish had 3,500 families and a school with 900 kids. The 10 a.m. Mass attendance was around 1,000 people. I often joked with the pastor there that it was like being assigned to the entirety of the Diocese of Ogdensburg in one parish. I learned a lot from the pastor there, Father Wilson. He’s a wonderful pastor and a real mentor. I learned a lot from his example and that of the other priests and deacons there, especially about the things that naturally come up in the life of a parish – attending meetings, discussing budget preparations, and being able to drive one of the retired priests to be with someone who needed anointing. It was good to see those experiences.”

Deacon Gruber said he has a lot to learn about that business portion of parish administration.

“There are a lot of things that are learned through experience, and one of those is definitely the business side of things,” he said. “One thing I’m going to try and keep in mind is that while learning those things is important, it’s important to keep in mind the big picture and keep everything integrated. The business side shouldn’t be the primary concern. Temporal matters don’t rise above spiritual. I’m hoping to be able to find a balance. These are some of the areas where I need to learn and grow so that one day, God willing, I might be an effective pastor for and with the people of God.”

After ordination, Deacon Gruber plans to celebrate his first Mass using a chalice purchased as a gift by his parents and wearing vestments gifted to him by St. Mary’s Parish in Potsdam.

“My parents were very generous in offering to pay for my chalice,” he said. “I’m very grateful for that. The Parish of St. Mary’s in Potsdam offered to pay for a chasuble and first Mass vestments. I’m not sure I would’ve discovered my vocation within the Diocese of Ogdensburg if not for the people of St. Mary’s in Potsdam. I’m very grateful to them for their generous gift.”

The imagery on the chalice focuses on the Eucharist.

“One thing playing that was in the back of my mind was that this ordination comes within the context of the National Eucharistic Revival,” Deacon Gruber said. “For example, on the front of the holy cards are the window from (St. Mary’s) cathedral depicting the Last Supper. It’s that connection to the Eucharist and priesthood. For my first chalice, I chose a chalice that has images related to Holy Eucharist and also has text of the Lauda Sion Salvatorem, the sequence Corpus Christi by St. Thomas Aquinas.”

Deacon Gruber concluded by noting how excited he is to begin his ministry with God and the people of the North Country.

“Columbus was a great place to be for six years,” said Deacon Gruber, who studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum in that city. “But I’ve really missed being in this diocese. In so many ways, this has become home for me. On a superficial level, Columbus tends to be a lot flatter. I look forward to being in the mountains and being with the people in the North Country, people I’ve et and know so well. I’m looking forward to rekindling old friendships and being up here full time.”

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