SAN DIEGO — For the Holgrens, serving the Church is a family affair.
Father Daniel Holgren was ordained to the priesthood June 11 at St. Michael Parish in Poway. His father, Deacon Bob Holgren, has been a permanent deacon since 2009. Because ordination to the transitional diaconate is a precursor to priestly ordination, that meant that for a span of eight months, both father and son were ordained deacons.
Bishop Robert McElroy acknowledged the unique situation near the start of Father Holgren’s priestly ordination Mass, at which the older Holgren stood at the bishop’s right hand as the deacon for the Mass. The bishop called the younger Holgren to join them briefly in the sanctuary.
“I could not stand to go without one last moment of the two Holgren deacons (together),” the bishop said.
Reflecting on the ordination Mass, the younger Holgren said it was “definitely special” standing in the sanctuary with his father, first as “deacon and deacon” and subsequently as “priest and deacon.” He said it was particularly meaningful that his father had the ceremonial role of presenting him to the bishop as a candidate for priestly ordination.
“It is fitting that the man who is responsible for consecrating my life to the Lord and for raising me would call me forward for the last step of giving my whole life to God,” Father Holgren said.
Last fall, the younger Holgren reflected on the important role his parents, Deacon Bob and Julie Holgren, had played in his spiritual and vocational journey – especially through the power of their example.
“My parents have always been my biggest fans and my greatest support,” he said. “Both of my parents were instrumental in raising me in the Catholic faith and showing me how to be a Christian by how they lived their lives.
“I watched my dad give himself to the Church at his ordination in 2009,” he continued, “and his selflessness in the Church and in his marriage have helped teach me how to give of myself.”
As a newly ordained priest, Father Holgren is now a spiritual father. He suspects that his current situation is akin to that experienced by first-time dads.
“Being a priest does seem like what I imagine new dads go through, with the unknowns and the fact there always feels like more preparing could have been done,” he said. “But the day came and I just have to do my best and try to learn as fast as I can.”