Ziggy Gross

Ziggy GrossParish: Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton

Birth Date: January 18

Seminary: Mundelein Seminary

Seminary Address:
1000 E. Maple Avenue
Mundelein IL 60060-1967

Theology II

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Patron: St. Alphonsus Ligouri


Are you a dog person or a cat person?
While training for cross country my junior year of high school, I was bit by a dog. So I am partial to cats. They are more chill.

Tell us about a great experience you had during the summer of 2018.
The 4th of July in Texas was a bit different from years past. I joined my friend and his relatives this year in San Antonio. We ate a big dinner, played some cards, and then headed for the front yard. As we began lighting off fire crackers and Roman candles, I noticed the neighbors were firing off mortars from their driveway. It was the first time I was standing directly underneath the explosions of the fireworks. The neighborhood became smoke-filled with almost every other house lighting off massive explosives into the air. It was awesome.

Who influenced you the most to think about priesthood?
Of course it goes without saying that God and his stewards—my parents Tom and Therese—helped lay a foundation of faith early on, though I had not considered the priesthood until after college. And even then it is hard to pinpoint one particular person who influenced me to think about the priesthood; there were a few. I was working in Florida and had help from a priest, a spiritual director, who was very generous with his time and guided me in my discernment. I also recall going to daily Mass in Jacksonville, FL, and being struck in fascination at the sight of a priest who would hear confessions then pray the Mass, and after Mass, he begin assisting people with their needs in whatever way he could. It seemed like a very radical and challenging, and yet peaceful, vocation. I also began reading about the saints and entered into dialogue with them in prayer as well. They encouraged me a lot.

Pope Francis recently wrote a document entitled Gaudete et Exsultate on holiness. What does holiness look like to you?
The short answer is holiness looks like a person who has sat with and seeks to live out chapters 5-7 of Matthew’s Gospel—the marching orders of the Christian life. For the longer answer, holiness looks like Jesus. Though the only way to find out what Jesus looks like is to read the Gospels and read them daily. So holiness looks like a person sitting down and reading the Gospels to learn who Jesus is and follow his example. One thing Jesus does is commune with his heavenly Father through prayer. By talking with God the Father, Jesus knows who He is. He knows Himself as God the Son. Holiness looks like a person who prays to (talks with) God and becomes confidently rooted in who they are — as a son or daughter of God in Jesus Christ. This identity propels the entire life of a person. And even though Jesus was continually talking with his Father, He lived a busy life. He walked about preaching, healing, sleeping, weeping, eating, admonishing, and many others things. Like Jesus, our life can be hectic and challenging, but must always be rooted in our identity which comes from prayer. Holiness then is a person who speaks with God in meditating on Scripture and then chooses to live out in daily life all that Jesus taught and did. Their actions will flow from their identity as a son or daughter of God, and from this will flow peace, joy, and a freeing confidence in God.

What is your dream car?
A light blue 2007 BMW 325i. To me this car has a clean and classy look. The 2007 model was a good year before this model turned too sporty-looking, in my opinion. Though this car was a childhood dream car, I do not have a desire for this car now.

What aspect of your home parish is the most meaningful for you?
Good Shepherd Parish in Chilton is the home of a perpetual adoration chapel. It has been a source of strength for me in my spiritual life beginning in high school and continuing until now. I have met many awesome parishioners and visitors by going to the chapel. It’s cool to consider that for over 20 years, there have been people going to that chapel to sit in the Real Presence of Jesus.