Newly ordained Dcn. Jeffrey Strom did not think of becoming a deacon until in recent years, when in the course of a month three different people suggested the role to him. This caught his attention and he started taking steps toward this ordained ministry and the Lord kept opening doors.
“All these things led me to the journey of diaconate discernment and formation accompanied by increasing peace and joy,” wrote Dcn. Strom about his journey, that included his wife’s support and discernment, in his brief biography which he passed on to the Sun.
Dcn. Strom was ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Phoenix Nov. 3, along with five other men. Married to his wife Laurie for almost 32 years, the new deacon joins the exclusive group of men who are on track to receive all seven sacraments of the Lord. Dcn. Strom is also a father of a son and daughter and serves at his home parish of Blessed Sacrament in Scottsdale.
EN ESPAÑOL: Saluda al Diácono Jeffrey Strom
Dcn. Strom grew up in Ohio in a family where his parents, Tom and Aileen, sacrificed to ensure all four of their children could attend Catholic schools. “My simple service to the Church began in the second grade playing guitar at Mass when the guitar was as big as me,” he wrote.
Years later he would meet Laurie at a work study program at NASA. In order for a married man to become a permanent deacon, his wife must accompany him through the journey with her blessing. Dcn. Strom said that he needed 200 percent support from his wife or the deacon endeavor would not work.
A foundational time for Dcn. Strom was when he and Laurie enrolled in the diocese’s Kino Catechetical Institute to deepen their faith. Within the span of a month, he heard three people suggesting or referencing him becoming a deacon: a fellow Kino student, someone from his parish Bible study and his own godmother. After two years with Kino, he continued with another five years of formation on the road to being a permanent deacon.
Part of the process of deepening his faith included further developing his prayer life, including silent prayer.
“I’ve come to learn and appreciate the power of silence,” said Dcn. Strom.
In the week leading up to his ordination, Dcn. Strom said he felt humbled, honored, excited and “completely blessed.”
In regards, to what excites him about being a deacon?
“Just being able to touch that many lives in different ways: Baptisms, funerals, vigils, serving at Mass certainly, the various ministries within the parish,” Dcn. Storm said.
Dcn. Strom is also working to be a board certified hospital chaplain, which builds on his previous chaplaincy experience. He will also be a chaplain mentor to new candidates and coordinate the various deacon retreats for the diocese, drawing on his business experience.