Dr. Knight: We have interviewed many of the priests and staff at Holy Name and we’d like to hear from our deacons. Could you tell us about your family and the work you do at Holy Name?
Deacon Strom: I am an only child and had a wonderful education including the seminary. I was studying to be a priest I took a leave of absence and came back as a deacon. I have worked at HNC for a long period of time. I work primarily in the area of Baptismal prep and wedding prep and have presided as the celebrant at over 200 weddings.
Dr. Knight: What do you like about preaching at Holy Name Parish?
Deacon Strom: I think my work as a teacher has led me to working as a preacher. I work hard on my homilies and have gotten positive feedback from the parishioners. I study hard about Jesus Christ and His Church so that I can provide the parishioners with the thoughts of the Gospels for the week. We all have about 45 minutes set aside for prayer and we need the graces in order to do our ordinary work well during the week.
Dr. Knight: This is a time of hope in the Church with our spiritually compassionate leaders and other believers who understand the vision of our Pope. How do you think he has inspired people?
Deacon Strom: I think Pope Francis has inspired people by giving them the sense of hope. He helps us to realize that God our Father loves us unconditionally and that as sinful people we can be forgiven.
Dr. Knight: How did you receive your call to be a deacon for the Archdiocese and especially Holy Name Cathedral?
Deacon Strom: I did everything you could think of at Holy Name in regard to service. I drove Cardinal George to his appointments and did much prep work for the sacraments at well as RCIA.
Dr. Knight: How about an easy question: What is your favorite book?
Deacon Strom: There are so many great books on the market and I try to keep up but like everyone else I count on the Internet. I like America magazine that helps me formulate thoughts for my homily.
Dr. Knight: One of the ministries you do is for the RCIA in regard to reteaching some of the lessons is this due to your prior teaching experience?
Deacon Strom: I like teaching in the RCIA program. It is the pivotal part of the parish. Participants that come to these sessions are really interested in their Catholic faith. Baptism is of utmost importance to everyone in the Church. They like the one on one teaching that takes place in these sessions. They are thoughtful and enthusiastic about learning about their faith.
Dr. Knight: Do you think/feel that the use of social media in our parishes can assist young people to think about knowing/loving/serving God through their ‘cyber-neighbor’?
Deacon Strom: There are two things about social media: one it is helpful in communicating with people very important issues quickly. The hard thing is that we use social media too much. We sometimes need to stop and have a conversation.
Dr. Knight: Could you tell us about the training/education necessary to be a deacon?
Deacon Strom: The program now is 5 years with the last year being a year of discernment. I was in the process of discerning for priesthood when I had family concerns so I discerned to be a deacon. I am a celibate deacon. I’ve never married. I taught at Morgan Park High School.
Dr. Knight: What other issues do you have as a priority for our work as a society?
Deacon Strom: Stay close to the Lord. It is changing rapidly and people have a great deal of stress trying to keep up.
Dr. Knight: What do you like best about serving at Holy Name?
Deacon Strom: This is the parish I’ve worked in for over 40 years. I have worked in every aspect of it and I enjoy all I do. The priests and the staff have been supportive and encouraging. I often preach for Msgr. Boland and Father Fajardo.
Dr. Knight: Thank you so much for your dedication to the Church and specifically Holy Name Cathedral.