The Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, which includes all of East River South Dakota, including Pierre, watched its new bishop be ordained and installed on Thursday, Feb. 13, in the Cathedral of St. Joseph.
Archbishop Bernard Hebda, head of the Saint Paul and Minneapolis archdiocese, presided at the ceremony which is believed to convey spiritually and physically the gifts of the first Christian apostles down through the ages. The ordination is similar to the one that made DeGrood a priest 23 years ago, but of a higher calling to higher duties representing the church in the diocese.
New Bishop Donald DeGrood turns 55 on Friday, Valentine’s Day, he told the Capital Journal in December after Pope Francis appointed him to succeed Bishop Paul Swain. At 76, Swain has been bishop in Sioux Falls since October 2006.
Bishops and priests from across South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota — the provinces of the Twin Cities-based archdiocese — appeared to take up one whole side of St. Joseph’s pews, while hundreds of lay people filled the other half. The ordination and installation service was live-streamed by the diocese.
The diocese was established by Pope Leo XIII in 1889, comprising all of South Dakota. Bishop Martin Marty was installed bishop of South Dakota in 1889 in Sioux Falls.
Since 1902, the diocese comprises all that is east of the Missouri River in the state. The Diocese of Rapid City covers West River, including Fort Pierre.
DeGrood’s new flock is made up of 125,000 baptized members in about 125 congregations, including Ss. Peter and Paul parish in Pierre.
Archbishop Hebda acknowledged during the ceremony that DeGrood “was the first bishop I’ve ever ordained,” and his easy manner added a jolly twinkle to the solemn ceremony. “Even Google couldn’t tell me how much oil was needed for anointing a bishop,” Hebda said, drawing quiet laughter from the congregation.
Hebda is from Pennsylvania and became archbishop in 2016.
But he knows DeGroot, who grew up in Minnesota and, as a priest, near and in the Twin Cities, and working as a top lieutenant to the archbishop. Hebda said DeGrood had proven himself by handling difficult situations without making it look difficult.
“He is a priest who is totally in love with Christ and committed to serve,” Hebda said.
DeGrood grew up on a farm near Faribault, south of the Twin Cities, attended Catholic schools and the University of St. Thomas. He worked for a time as a “feed specialist” for Land O’Lakes which grows turkeys, before going back to school for his seminary degree. He has served parishes in the Twin Cities area while also service as vicar for the clergy of the Archdiocese.
After he was ordained, DeGrood thanked the many people who played roles in his life and praised Swain’s work in the diocese, which included a renovation of St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
In a Catholic publication, Swain said of DeGrood last month: “The diocese will now have a discerning bishop who is well respected as a seasoned, prayerful, compassionate and upbeat priest who loves Christ and His Church.”