By Katrina Genereux/Staff Writer, OND
Six years of prayer and formation came to fruition as Nate Brunn was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner on June 9 at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Crookston.
“My friends, how wonderfully God blesses us this day. He blesses mother Church, he blesses this local Church, the Diocese of Crookston, he blesses you Nate Brunn as by the power of the Holy Spirit you are configured more closely to Christ as you are consecrated in Holy Orders,” said Bishop Hoeppner, at the beginning of the ordination Mass.
Father Brunn’s father, Leonard, remembers when Nate came home from teaching at St. Joseph’s School in Moorhead for Easter break six years ago and told his parents about his desire to pursue the priesthood.
“I said ‘oh, six years, that’s a long time’, but here today it came to a flourishing,” said Leonard.
Mildred, “Millie”, Father Brunn’s mother, was overjoyed. “This is really a dream that has been years and years in the making and to see that dream happen is … I don’t know what to do.”
She said the highlight of the ordination Mass was receiving the Eucharist from her son, and the realization that he had been part of consecrating it.
Millie said during his pastoral ministry training, her son struggled with not being able to provide the sacraments to people he encountered.
“The hard part was he was not ordained, so he couldn’t provide for patients what he really wanted to. Now he can. I’ll be happy for him to be able to hear confessions and to be able to consecrate [the Eucharist],” Millie said.
Father Peter Marshall, Director of Spiritual Formation, represented Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology at the ordination.
“After six years, I’m just happy to see that Nate has reached the end of his beginning formation and is beginning now with what God has grown in him like a seed, and it’s so beautiful to see that seed flowering and taking off now,” he said.
Father Marshall was struck by the portion of the Rite of Ordination where the bishop places a chalice and paten in the new priest’s hands, saying “receive the oblation of the people of God.” The items are then taken to the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
“I thought that is, in many ways, how I see Father Nate. He cares so much about people and he is able to see in them their gifts and bring those to God in a unique and new way. I think that really will be the hallmark of his pastoral ministry,” said Father Marshall.
Prior to his ordination, Father Brunn said he looked forward to the anointing of his hands with Sacred Chrism. During the Rite of Ordination, the bishop uses the holy oil to consecrate the new priest’s hands for offering sacrifice to God.
“My hands will be used to bring about the sacraments,” Father Brunn said. “I look forward to allowing the Lord to use my hands to sanctify his people and the world.”
Father Brunn’s road to the priesthood was paved with many people’s prayers and encouragement.
“It was difficult to make the initial decision to enter seminary, but once I moved, once I tried it on, I knew that this is what the Lord was calling me to,” said Father Brunn. “Continue to pray for the Lord’s will to be done in your life and take a step!”
His parents echoed his advice.
“I hope anybody who is considering a vocation or having an inkling gives it a second thought and gives it a try,” said Millie.
They said the most important thing a parent can do is offer support and prayer for a son considering a vocation to the priesthood.
“He just needed the encouragement, not just from his parents, but grandparents, people in the parish, uncles, neighbors, everybody,” Millie said.
To view additional images from Fr. Brunn's ordination to priesthood CLICK HERE.