'Brother Gramps' Honored, Eager to Minister in New Mission Counties
By Brother Craig Digmann
After completing my academic studies at Brescia University in May 2010, I was pleased to have the opportunity to spend the next year in Glenmary's Houston, Miss., mission before making my Final Oath on May 28, 2011. This Oath marked the last stage of my journey to Glenmary brotherhood.
During my year in Mississippi, I assisted Sister Pat Hinton, the pastoral associate at the Houston mission, with faith formation, maintenance and various other needs. I also spent much of my time doing outreach ministry in the Houston area, especially working with the African-American community. My efforts included nursing home visits, day care reading programs, volunteer work at the Boys and Girls Club, prison ministry, and involvement with Mission Mississippi.
At the Boys and Girls Club I assisted with activities, helped kids with their homework, and performed some building and equipment maintenance. Mission Mississippi, with local chapters in many towns throughout the state, is an organization in which blacks and whites strive to better understand each other and become more unified through communication.
My time in various missions has taught me that Glenmary is very much about "connections" with people. One relationship leads to other relationships, and often, good fruit comes forth from these encounters.
I am now working at my first full-time mission assignment in East Tennessee. Father Steve Pawelk, Brother Joe Steen and I are working in two counties—Union and Grainger—that have never had a resident Catholic Church presence. I am very excited about this new adventure, and I'm sure it will be challenging. It is an honor for me to help establish new Catholic faith communities and serve the other residents in these counties.
I was raised on a farm in northeast Iowa, the second oldest of five children. I was previously married and have raised two boys. My son Tony is now married, and he and his wife recently had a baby. Some folks now refer to me as "Brother Gramps." My son Kyle is studying to become a priest. In Tony's words, "I have a father who is a brother, and a brother who'll be a father." God sure works in interesting ways!