Two new associates arrived in Dyersville July 9 to begin serving the people of the Spires of Faith Cluster and the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier. The Rev. Jim Goerend and the Rev. Tyler Raymond are not only new associates but also new priests of the Archdiocese, ordained May 25 at St. Raphael’s Cathedral in Dubuque.

Though both are newly ordained, they took extremely different paths to their ordinations. Goerend was born and raised in St. Lucas and attended Turkey Valley. After high school, he went to Loras College for three years, half of that time in the college seminary. But after those three years, he dropped out and said no to the priesthood. “I felt like I wanted to explore the world a little,” he said.

Explore he did. “I went to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, did odd jobs, ran a Boy Scout Camp and ended up night manager in a 24-hour Village Inn in El Paso, Texas. That was a big culture shock for me — El Paso was about 95% Hispanic and I was for the first time in my life a minority. It was extremely eye-opening. The restaurant catered to the railroad for the most part, as well as firemen, police, night people. My co-workers taught me some rudimentary Spanish though I found out that much of it was not used in polite company,” Goerend smiled.

The experiences convinced him to return to school where he completed a history degree in 1995. He became an aquisition/relocation agent for the state of Minnesota for four years, dealing with residents who were searching for places to be re-located after government contracts required their lands for roads and building projects.

In 2000, his father died and he moved back to Iowa again to be closer to his mom. Deciding that much of the most enjoyable times of his career had involved teaching, he went to the University of Northern Iowa and acquired a teaching degree in 2005. He taught until “God called me back and I re-entered the seminary, this time at Mundelein in Chicago. My journey to becoming a priest took over 22 years, but now I feel it’s so worth it.”

Raymond’s route was much more direct and much shorter. Originally from Marion, he attended Linn-Mar and was very involved in the church while growing up. He attended the University of Iowa after graduation and became involved with the Newman Center there. He played saxophone and used that talent while a member of the Newman Singers and “met a whole lot of other kids who were on fire in their Catholic faith. That included some other guys who were tossing around the idea of becoming priests,” he said.

After three years at Iowa, he felt compelled to change course and went to Loras to join the seminary, completing a degree in philosophy. From there he traveled to Mundelein as well and graduated with a master’s in philosophy, ready to be ordained May 25.

Two varied paths brought both men to Dyersville, where, in the words of Raymond, “I think I am most excited to continually meet new people and learn how everything works in Dyersville.”

Both said Dyersville already feels like home to them and they are excited to see what God has in store.