Praising the Press: On Seminary and Ordinations

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Earlier this week I finally decided to try a project I’d thought about for many years. It’s what I’m calling, “Praising the Press.” Looking at well done stories by secular press about the Catholic Church.

This edition comes from the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel:

Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend’s large priest ordination class part of a growing interest by young people in religious life

In my reading, there two parts to this article. The first on the state of vocations, why young people are joining the priesthood today. The second speaks to the seminary process by which one becomes a priest.

As regards the first point what I appreciate about the article is that the reporter takes time to listen to the arguments made by the priest regarding some of the factors leading to an increase in vocations. There have been other examples, this very week of reporters who rather chose to stick to their own storyline or narrative regarding the vocations crisis, instead of listening to those on the front lines.

To the second part of the article about the formation process, I believe there are a few points worth commending. The first is just the fact that the process is outlined and explained. So many reporters seem to skip over this as if priests just fell from the sky. Furthermore, the depth of explaining the process particularly in regards to the scrutinies and evaluations is valuable information to be included. Those kinds of details show some of the steps the Church is taking towards developing a healthier, holier next generation of priests.

If you see any other good articles in the secular press about the Catholic Church, please send them my way.

Vocation story published

A month ago I was contacted by a former colleague from my first stint at CNS as an intern. At the time she was an assistant editor, now she is busy raising her young family and works part time with Peanut Butter & Grace.

Peanut Butter & Grace is a web site and social media conglomerate seeking to provide parents with practical ways to pass on the faith to their children.

Later this week, they will be releasing my first video as a part of a new series “Brick by Brick with Father Brooke.”

In anticipation of the release of the series and on the occasion of the the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, I also shared my vocation story on their Web site.

Unlike my column with Catholic News Service in the fall, which also provided practical tips for promoting a culture of vocations, this article is exclusively my vocation story.

What’s the Relationship of A Bishop With His Priests and Deacons?

Continuing my diocese’s catechetical series on the nature and role of a bishop, I now share the second video.

This video deals with the question:

  1. What’s the Relationship of A Bishop With His Priests and Deacons?

The video is done by Fr. Daniel Merz, a former professor and good friend and mentor of mine, he even preached at my first Mass as a priest. His advanced studies are in the area of liturgy.



CNS Column on Vocations

This Web site was initially launched in the summer of 2008, when I was an intern at Catholic News Service. I created the site to post the articles I was writing for Catholic News Service as they were published in various Catholic news sources around the world.

Several years later, I’m grateful that the good folks at CNS have asked me to begin writing for them again. I’ve started to write columns on occasion for them.

My first contribution was written back in November on vocations. (I apologize for not posting this sooner.)

I recently wrote another column on confession. I can’t link to it until I find it published in digital form of one of the many diocesan newspapers around the country. When that happens, I’ll add a link here.

Daily Reflection: 6 April 2017

Today’s readings can be found here.

At the ordination of priests the Psalm typically sung at the Mass is Psalm 110, which reminds us, “You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.” That is to say that we believe that once a man is ordained, he remains a priest forever, for eternity. The Catechism, citing the Council of Trent and Vatican II, reminds us that the sacrament of Holy Orders, leaves an, “indelible spiritual character and cannot be repeated or conferred temporarily.” (CCC 1582).

While one’s ordination is eternal, every year, throughout the entire world, priests gather with their bishop to celebrate the Chrism Mass, in which they publicly renew their priestly commitment to serve to the people of God. It is in this way that the priests can particularly live out the command found in today’s first reading, “On your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.”

In our diocese, the Diocese of Jefferson City, the Chrism Mass is tonight at 5:30 at the Cathedral, all are invited to come and join us. If you live elsewhere, “check your local listings.”

Wherever you may be, please pray for us priests, God knows we need all the help and support we can get. Thank you for all that you do.


You’re Invited to the Chrism Mass

This coming Thursday April 6th at 5:30 pm in the Cathedral, the Diocese of Jefferson City will host it’s annual “Chrism Mass.” Bishop John R. Gaydos will be the celebrant, joined by all the priests serving in the diocese. The Chrism Mass is held in every diocese around the world in the days leading up to the Triduum. Traditionally it is done on Thursday morning of Holy Week. While this works well in urban dioceses, in large, spread-out, rural dioceses such as ours, it is not practical. Some of our priests live over 3 hours away from the Cathedral and could never make it back in time for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening.

The Chrism Mass serves two important purposes. 

The first is that the priests renew their commitment and promises to service of God’s people. Certainly, our vows or promises made at ordination are life-long, but it’s good to gather and publicly renew that commitment every year. This is done at the Chrism Mass because, it is associated with Holy Thursday, which is considered to be the day that Christ instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper. If you’ve never been to a Chrism Mass or an Ordination, it can be pretty impressive to see 70+ priests gathered together.

The second purpose is the blessing of Holy Oils, hence the term, “Chrism Mass.” The Holy Oils: the Oil of the Sick, Oil of Catechumens, and Sacred Chrism will all be blessed by the bishop during a special ritual. These oils are then to be used throughout the diocese in all of the parishes for the next year. After they are blessed at the Chrism Mass, they will be presented to our parishes during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday.

So when one of you or a loved one is sick and/or dying and receives anointing in the next year, the oil used by the priest will have been blessed at this Chrism Mass. When one of your children is baptized, they will be anointed with the Oil of Catechumens and Sacred Chrism blessed at the Chrism Mass. When RCIA candidates receive the sacraments at the Easter Vigil, they will anointed with these same oils. When the Bishop travels around the diocese to give some of our young people the sacrament of Confirmation, they will be anointed with the Sacred Chrism.

While we as priests will be in Jefferson City all day for a Day of Recollection with our brother priests, all of the faithful are invited and encouraged to attend this important Mass. So let this be your invitation to join us in this beautiful celebration of our Catholic and sacramental faith at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Jefferson City at 5:30 PM on Thursday April 6, 2017.

N.B – If you’re reading this and you don’t live in the Diocese of Jefferson City, then I highly encourage you check your local diocesan web site to find out the details of their Chrism Mass.

March 30, 2017 Presentation Slides – Priesthood

Smaller crowd last night with the college students off on spring break, but still a quality discussion nonetheless. The topic was about the Priesthood, we also talked about married and women priests as well. For those that couldn’t make it, the readings can be found here. The presentation slides are below.

March 30, 2017 Presentation Slides

There will be no class next week due to the Chrism Mass. Our next class will be on Monday, April 10, 2017.

Priesthood: Adult Ed Resources – 30 March 2017

Due to various scheduling issues, especially spring break for the college students, this week we will be shifting gears from talking about faith & science, and we will talk about the priesthood. On the balloting, I listed two different topics; the priesthood, and “married/women priests.” This week I will combine both into the one session.

Here are the readings for this week, you will note that I have listed the paragraph numbers in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The reason for only listing them instead of adding them here has to do with the formatting and citations. Frankly, it would take me quite a bit of time. So if you have a hard copy of the Catechism you can crack it open, or you can go to this link on the Vatican web site.

Priesthood: Reading Packet

The readings this week come from:

  • The Council of Nicaea I (325)
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
  • Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (1994)
  • Homily of Pope Francis (2013)

For past week’s topics and resources visit the main class page.

For any questions, comments or concerns, contact me.

Adult Education Programming Update

First of all let me say how pleased I have been with the quality of conversation taking place every Thursday night at, “The Church in the Modern World” Adult Education class that I’ve been offering for about a month now here in Columbia, Mo.

One of the best things has been to see men and women from college age all the way through retirees gather in one place and seek to learn and dialogue together about their Catholic faith. Certainly, there are an abundance of professional and academic fields represented in the group, such a variety of experiences both presents it’s challenges but also enriches the experience. Personally, on a philosophical and pedagogical level, I enjoy the challenge of trying to weave the group together. I ask patience and forgiveness for any failures in that regard.

After conducting some balloting in the first few sessions, last week, when discussing revelation etc., I announced the upcoming topics. I failed to connect a few dots regarding the timing of spring break for the college students as well as Holy Week. After further discussion last night, I have decided on the following schedule for the upcoming weeks. I wanted to post an update so that all can have it written down and avoid confusion.

Thursday, March 30 (Spring Break) – Priesthood

Monday, April 10 (Holy Week) – The Mass & the Eucharist

Thursday, April 20 – Sexuality & Theology of the Body

Thursday, April 27 – Contraception

Thursday, May 4 – LGBT Issues & the Church’s Response

Thursday, May 11 – Reconciliation

Stay tuned for further updates.

If you are looking for information from past topics, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact me.