Mount Marty and Diocese of Sioux Falls announce new appointment and growing partnership

January 28, 2021

Through a growing partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, Mount Marty University and the Most Reverend Donald E. DeGrood, Bishop of Sioux Falls, are pleased to announce the appointment of Father Grant Lacey as university chaplain and director of campus ministry at MMU.

"Father Lacey is a gifted priest with a unique ability to connect with young adults and those of all ages,” states Bishop DeGrood. “His earnest and sincere interest in others, joyful sharing of our faith from an authentically Catholic perspective and love of those he has been blessed to serve is inspiring.”

Fr. Lacey will begin his new post on July 1, 2021, replacing long time Mount Marty chaplain, Fr. Valerian Odermann, OSB. Fr. Valerian has been with the MMU community and the Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery for more than five years and has made a lasting impression on the entire campus community.

"We want to thank Fr. Valerian for all that he has done to build the spirituality on campus and at the Monastery,” says Sr. Maribeth Wentzlaff, Prioress of the Sacred Heart Monastery. “His Benedictine presence has been a welcomed gift. As we begin this collaboration with the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, we are eager to work with Fr. Lacey to explore different aspects of building the faith through our Campus Ministry program. The Sisters are looking forward to building new relationships with the parishes, priests, and the people of this Diocese."

Fr. Lacey was ordained to the priesthood nearly six years ago and will continue to serve his current parishes in Platte and Geddes, S.D until July 1, 2021. He is looking forward to joining the Mount Marty community in the next academic year.

“I am incredibly excited to be joining the Mount Marty team! Having been born and raised in South Dakota and ordained a priest of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, I have seen the spire of Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel rise above the horizon from many directions,” says Fr. Lacey. “As a priest, woodworker, potter and outdoorsman, I would like to think I have lived the motto of “Ora et Labora” etched above the chapel doors. I look forward to serving the people of God by being a faithful steward of the sacraments of the Church and by doing my part to bring the beauty of the Catholic Faith in the Benedictine tradition to the students, staff, faculty and sisters at Mount Marty University.”

This announcement follows last year’s appointment of Ashley Gullikson to the Catholic Community Foundation for Eastern South Dakota as a gift planning officer – a position dually shared by the Foundation and MMU. In this role, Gullickson helps parishioners leave a legacy of faith and love by sharing their gifts to help make a difference to the Church and to MMU.

“These connections are an integral part of a larger relationship focused on providing quality Catholic education and formation for all we serve,” says MMU President Marcus Long. “We look forward to continuing our strong and enduring relationship with the Diocese and other Catholic organizations as we work to strengthen our ministry founded 85 years ago by the Benedictine Sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery.”