Deacon Benjamin Grothouse anticipates May 18 priestly ordination

North Texas Catholic
(May 3, 2024) Local

Deacon Benjamin Grothouse smiles after he is vested during the ordination at St. Philip the Apostle Church in Flower Mound on March 25, 2023. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

As Benjamin Grothouse prepares for his ordination to the priesthood on May 18 in Fort Worth’s St. Patrick Cathedral, the 28-year-old stays focused on one objective: to be an example of Jesus Christ to every person he meets.

“The kind of priest I want to be is the kind of priest Jesus Christ wants me to be,” the transitional deacon mused. “I want to let the Spirit flow through me and bring Jesus Christ to all people.”

As he completes his studies at the Theological College at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he is earning a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology and master’s degree in divinity, Dcn. Grothouse continues assisting with Masses and other responsibilities at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — the largest Roman Catholic Church in North America.

Benjamin Grothouse hugs a fellow deacon during his ordination with Eric Flores at Mass celebrated by during the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church in Flower Mound, Saturday March 25, 2023. (NTC/Rodger Mallison)

“I’ve gotten to work with people and gain hands-on experience,” explained the former St. Maria Goretti parishioner. “I’m also working with my spiritual director to ensure I have the full understanding of what it means to be a priest.”

The son of Tom Grothouse and La Dawn Everette began seriously discerning a religious vocation during high school and entered St. Joseph Seminary in 2015. Nine years later, the deacon will become the first man in his extended family ordained to the priesthood.

“Most of my family is not Catholic,” Dcn. Grothouse pointed out. “As a kid, my mentor was Father Jim Gigliotti, TOR, [former pastor] at St. Maria Goretti. I had a wonderful experience with so many of the priests there. Through them, I got to see a love of service and ministry that really spoke to me.”

During his time in the seminary, he cites Vicar General Father Jonathan Wallis, the director of theologian seminarian formation, and Father Ray McDaniel, pastor at St.Philip the Apostle Parish, as influential role models. The soon-to-be priest spent his pastoral year at the Flower Mound parish where he observed firsthand the operation of parish ministries.

“They are two of the greatest men I’ve ever met,” the deacon enthused. “They’ve been very formative and helped me grow. I hope to be a priest like them someday.”

Both priests will vest Dcn. Grothouse with the visible sign of his new office —the stole and chasuble — at ordination.

Seminary formation is long and challenging, and “At the end, you’re just ready to be out in the world and start ministry,” the Arlington native added.

The lone setback during his final year of classes stems from injuries sustained in a serious car accident last November — an event that strengthened him spiritually.

“I’m on the mend now,” he insisted, disclosing the health concerns came with a revelation. “As you get closer to the big moments in life, the devil will throw obstacles in your way you don’t expect. By the grace of God, you persevere, and He puts friends and people in your path who give support and lessen the load.”

Deacon Grothouse and Deacon Flores join Bishop Olson on March 29, 2024, as Bishop Olson leads the faithful in the 39th Annual Good Friday Rosary Vigil for Life on the sidewalks before a Planned Parenthood in Fort Worth, TX. (NTC/Matthew Redden)

Much of the emotional and practical help Dcn. Grothouse received came from North Texas parishioners. Every seminarian is given financial assistance from the diocese, along with continuing prayer. Benefactors include the St. John Paul II Shepherd’s Guild, Serra Club, contributors to the Annual Diocesan Appeal, and individual gifts of Mass, cards, and friendship.

“The seminary is a long journey fraught with many little dangers,” he said. “The support and care we receive from people back in the diocese — parishioners, friends, and family — helps us get through it and forms us into priests so we can serve you.”

Seminarians look forward to returning to the diocese during summers and breaks to be with the people in the pews.

“Without them and the grace of God, we can’t make it. Without the support of people back home, it’s not possible,” Dcn. Grothouse observed from personal experience. “You make us the priests you want us to be.”

Deacon Ben Grothouse smiles during the ordination of Isaac McCracken to the transitional diaconate on March 19, 2023 at St. Maria Goretti Church in Arlington. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

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