Name: Joseph (Joe) T. Rohret
Family: Wife: Tammy; daughters, Lea Kleinmeyer and Katie Petersen; five grandchildren.
Occupation: Retired pilot from the Air Force after 26 years, in the rank of Colonel. Retired from Rockwell Collins.
Ordination date: July 8, 2017.
Parish assignment: St. Peter, Cosgrove and St. Mary, Oxford.
Describe your diocesan deacon assignment: Visiting Catholic children at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. It’s an amazing assignment where I visit the children who are receiving treatments for a myriad of ailments. I pray with them and their families, but I have to admit that I receive so much more from the children and their families than I give them. Their faith, their bravery, their humor and the lessons they show me (and their families and caregivers) on how to suffer in a Christian way is simply amazing. I can’t wait to get back to the hospital to visit the children and their families. I’m very blessed to have been given this assignment.
How did you know you were being called to the diaconate? It was a very long process, which began before I joined the Air Force, and continued throughout my career. Following retirement from the Air Force, I contacted Deacon Frank Agnoli to discuss the process for formation. A lot of prayer followed, and discussions with Tammy and my pastor Father Ed Dunn. Finally, I felt at peace to begin the process, not knowing how it would eventually end, but always trusting in God. Thanks be to God it ended in ordination to the permanent diaconate in July 2017. It was an amazing experience during formation and now in serving the people in my parishes and throughout the diocese.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a deacon? Serving the people of my parishes and the children at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital. To serve them in both the good times in their lives and the tough times of their lives. Serving at the altar is another experience where the graces I receive can’t be counted. It’s a humbling experience every time I serve.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a deacon? Ministering to people when they are experiencing grief. Trying to listen, and not talk, which can be difficult in stressful situations. I’ve learned a lot about how to minister to those in grief, but I have so much more to learn in this very special and vital ministry.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Luke 23: 39-43. The “Repentant Thief” passage. It gives me such hope in the mercy of God.