Catholic Herald staff
Going where he’s needed – serving his parish to the best of his abilities – is what Thomas Kroll has been trained to do.
Kroll will become a member of the clergy when he is ordained to the permanent diaconate Sunday, Aug. 26, at St. Patrick Church, Hudson.
It’s been four years since a permanent deacon was ordained in the Diocese of Superior. This year’s diaconate convocation– the annual gathering of diocesan deacons – will take place Aug. 25-26 in conjunction with Kroll’s ordination.
Originally from Eau Claire, Kroll was one of the first kids baptized at St. Olaf Catholic Church. There were nine children in his family; Kroll went to grade school at St. Olaf and graduated from Regis, a Catholic high school.
He’s been married to his wife, Susan, for 40 years, and the couple has three children: Kevin, 33, lives in Denver; James, 28, just moved back to Wisconsin from Denver; and Rebecca, 30, lives in Minneapolis.
Kroll works for NuFarm Americas, an Australian-based company with U.S. headquarters in Chicago. The company supplies agricultural chemicals, and Kroll does everything from research to sales.
“Chief cook and bottle washer,” he jokes, “mostly bottle washer.”
‘All about service’
Kroll was in his 40s when he realized he had a passion for doing some type of ministry, “whatever that may be.”
About 10 years ago, he had what he calls “a profound moment” that said, “Hey, step up to the plate … looks like the diaconate is the form of mission that you need to be on.”
So, he began the process of discerning and studying to become a permanent deacon.
After a year of servant leadership training with the Diocese of Superior, he entered the joint formation program with the Diocese of La Crosse. Following two years of discernment, he started his three years of candidacy.
“A lot of remedial training,” he said with a chuckle. “You get this old, you’ve got a lot of sins that need to be reversed.”
As a member of St. Patrick, he’s been involved in a number of projects – the choir, Knights of Columbus, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program, hospital and nursing home ministry.
Foreign missions are closest to his heart, but he’s been gratified by his work in all the various ministries.
“I love foreign mission, and I’m involved in foreign mission, but wherever I’m called to serve, I’m happy,” he added. “It doesn’t matter to me.”
“To me, it’s all about service,” Kroll said. “That’s our role. That’s our job.”
Although he doesn’t have a lot of time to indulge in his hobbies, Kroll likes riding his motorcycle and enjoys recreational activities – hiking, walking, jogging, fishing, etc.
Currently two years away from retirement, he’s hoping to someday have more leisure time.
“My goal for each summer has been to get to the point where I’m actually bored,” he said, “and it hasn’t happened for me.”
Kroll looks forward to serving the members of St. Patrick, a parish that includes a lot of young families.
“It’s a great parish,” he added.
For many parishioners, too, the challenge is finding time to devote to practicing their faith.
“People are so busy in their lives,” he said. “When do you catch them? You have to find time where they’re at.”