Local News

Nathan Brunn ordained a deacon on way to priesthood

By Katrina Genereux/Staff Writer, OND

Moorhead – Nathan Brunn, a seminarian for the Diocese of Crookston, took another step toward the priesthood as he was ordained a deacon.

“Through my studies and discernment, I have come to a place of peace, love and joy as I accept the role of deacon and eventually priesthood,” Brunn said.

Friends and family as well as deacons of the diocese gathered at St. Joseph’s, Moorhead, on May 20 for Brunn’s ordination.

Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner presided at the Mass which was concelebrated by Bishop Emeritus Victor H. Balke, and priests of the diocese.

During his homily, Bishop Hoeppner provided instruction on the role of a deacon.

“These three, word, altar and service are really one,” Bishop Hoeppner said. “All three are essential, all three are required, and all three are the criteria by which the credibility of the deacon’s ministry will be judged. With the help of God, a deacon is to go about his duties in such a way that all will clearly recognize him as a disciple of the one who came not to be served, but to serve.”

Brunn looks forward to his role as an ordained servant of God. He will spend the summer at St. Philip’s, Bemidji, before returning to St. Meinrad Seminary for his final year of study.

“I am looking forward to being able to serve the people of God in another way: standing with the family as they have their child baptized, receiving the vows of a couple as they enter into marriage, and being at the bedside of someone about to die,” he said. “I look forward to being able to journey with people through life’s major moments and the mundane moments. I look forward to carrying out ministry at the nursing homes and at the hospitals, at Sunday Mass and at daily Mass, at the food banks and at the grocery stores.”

“It was a beautiful day just to watch the radiant look on his face,” said Mildred Brunn, Deacon Brunn’s mother. “That’s the way he lives his life too. He does everything fully enjoying it … he has looked forward to this day for a long time.”

Brunn’s father, Leonard, also attended the ordination.

“He really grew tremendously at St. Joe’s and in this diocese,” said Leonard.

Mildred and Leonard live near St. Cloud and belong to St. Wendelin’s in Luxemburg, Minn.

Leonard said when Nathan was a young altar server, he was very reverent, and enjoyed being near the altar.

“He helped us in our faith more than I think we helped him,” Leonard said.

“He led us in a lot of things,” Mildred said. “When he had something that he believed in, he was willing to step out.”

She remembers a time when Nathan was a senior in high school and a health crisis came up in the family.

“He sat us down at the table and we prayed, but he led it,” Mildred said. “That was really when we could see what was coming.”

Sister Bernardone Rock, a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist, attended the ordination as a representative of St. Meinrad Seminary. She is an Adjunct Instructor of Liturgical Music.

Sister Bernardone said his way with people and management skills really stand out.

“He is a wonderful, gentle, understanding young man … and his way of dealing with people is just remarkable,” Sister Bernardone said. “It’s going to be a wonderful thing to imagine him as a priest.”

Deacon Brunn has enjoyed his time at St. Meinrad. He said the distance between the diocese and the seminary has been a challenge and a blessing.

“It has been a challenge because I have not been able to spend as much time as I would like in the diocese,” he said. “The blessing has also been that I have been able to enter into seminary formation at an incredible school. St. Meinrad Seminary has forever changed my life for the better as they have helped the Church and me discern a call to the priesthood.”

Deacon Brunn said he greatly appreciates the support he has received during his years at seminary.

“Whether it has been by a timely letter, or a word of encouragement, or a phone call or a card, or a prayer, I was always reminded of God’s presence and his will for my life. For that, I am thankful, grateful and humbled,” he said.