Our Priests, Deacon & Religious Sisters
Father Donald DeGrood, Pastor
Father DeGrood grew up in a farm family of five boys on the rolling hills outside of Faribault, MN, overlooking Cannon Lake. Life was great as a farm boy. He sensed a call to priesthood around the age of seven which eventually would lead him to the St. Paul Seminary to complete his priestly formation. He was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of St. Paul on May 31, 1997. His prior assignments include being a Parochial Vicar at All Saints in Lakeville, Spiritual Director at St. John Vianney College Seminary, Pastor of St. Peter's in Forest Lake, Pastor of Blessed Sacrament in St. Paul, and Vicar for Clergy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis before being named Pastor of St. John the Baptist in Savage on July 1, 2017.
St. John's is a "dream come true" sort of parish for him. He loves the down to earth and humble parishioners and staff. He appreciates the various opportunities St. John's provides for educational, pastoral, and spiritual development of those St. John's serves. He also loves that we have no parish debt! The large rectory provides space for priests and seminarians to reside, pray, and share good fellowship in the Lord. And, he also enjoys having two priests serve in our community and now we are blessed to have the good religious sisters of Pro Ecclesia Sancta. He says, "Life is great for me as Pastor of St. John's!"
Father MICHAEL BARSNESS, Parochial Vicar
Father Michael joined the St. John the Baptist parish community in July 2019. Father Barsness grew up in Northfield, MN and went to college in Nebraska. Father Barsness had a conversion experience in college where he found the Lord seeking him and followed the call into conversion, and later into vocation. Father enjoys biking, disc golf, board games, Twins games, music, craft brews, and other "normal" things as the list goes on. May we grow together in our journey to heaven here at St. John's.
Deacon Bob Durham
Deacon Bob and his wife, Mary Beth, have been parishioners at St. John's since 1996. Bob was ordained to the permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in September of 2004. The “call” to the Diaconate occurred over a period of time, without any earth shattering or “Paul on the way to Damascus” events. Rather, it was more the Lord calling in “a tiny whispering sound” like we read in 1 Kings 19:12. Deacon Bob’s favorite thing about St. John’s is the community! He says, "This wonderful group of parishioners have allowed me into their lives, into their worship, the baptisms of their children, weddings, and yes, even the deaths of their loved ones. The St. John’s community remains a powerful witness to the love of God."
We have been extremely fortunate to establish a relationship with the Religious Sisters from the Pro Ecclesia Sancta Order located in Bloomington, MN. The sisters come to work collectively at our parish and school to serve a variety of ways. They are most often seen in pairs and can be found working with adults, at our parish and school events, with all ages of youth, and helping with Religious Education.
You can see more about the mission of the Sisters of Pro Ecclesia Sancta by checking out this great VIDEO.