Proclaiming the gospel

New transitional deacon serving at Holy Redeemer Church

AP Photo Shawn Polman is a new transitional deacon at Holy Redeemer Church. He said he will be ordained a priest next June.

MARSHALL — Shawn Polman, a new transitional deacon at Holy Redeemer, knew he wanted to be a deacon since third grade after altar serving as a boy.

“I was kind of bored at Sunday Mass. I wanted to do something to get out of the pews and so altar serving gave me something to do on Sundays when we went to church,” Polman said.

Polman’s parish when growing up, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, had the Rev. Craig Timmerman serve there when he was transitional deacon.

“He taught me how to altar serve, I began altar serving and I fell in love with Mass. I’ve wanted to do this my whole life,” Polman said.

Polman was ordained with deacon John Hayes by Bishop John LeVoir this past June. Polman is now serving until the end of August at the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Marshall. Hayes is assigned to serve at the Church of St. Catherine in Redwood Falls for the summer.

“I’ve known Deacon John Hayes since high school. We kind of got to know each other through discerning and deciding whether to go to seminary. There’s a special brotherhood, that a lot of people don’t always recognize,” said Polman.

Polman said he serves in the area so he could be in Marshall, Tracy, Green Valley or Cottonwood on any given day.

“I think a lot of people always think of them (deacons) as praying in a church all day, but that’s not what I do,” Polman said. “A few weeks ago we had a vacation bible school and I joined the kids for their recess. One of the kids mentioned to me that they never thought of deacons as people who like to have fun and that was kind of funny cause we’re human, too.”

Polman graduated from St. Thomas in 2016 with his undergraduate degree in philosophy. Polman is now attending the St. Paul Seminary for theology. In August, Polman will be going back to finish his schooling at the St. Paul Seminary. Polman said in June of next year he will ordained to be a priest.

“I am looking forward to it. A priest can say Mass and hear confessions and give anointings of the sick,” Polman said.

Polman said he is excited to be a transitional deacon because he is able to proclaim the gospel, preach at Mass, and preside at baptisms, weddings and funerals.

“To be in those most intimate moments with those families is really beautiful,” Polman said.

Polman said recently he had joined a priest to anoint a woman who was sick with her daughter there.

“It was just a really beautiful experience for me to see that anointing because as the priest was praying the final prayers over this woman. The daughter was there joining in with us with the prayers. I was moved by that,” he said.

Polman has already done a couple baptisms, weddings and funerals this summer and said baptisms are his favorite.

“Whenever a baptism is being done a new member is entering our family, the family of God,” he said. “It’s beautiful because the whole family comes together and they celebrate this new baptism.”


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