By The Message staff
Name: Garrett Braun
Randy and Judy Braun
St. John the Baptist in Newburgh
What kinds of ministries were you involved in at your parish? What kinds of Diocesan retreats/events have you attended that have been helpful?
Growing up I was an altar server and was involved with my parish youth group. Since becoming a seminarian, I have attended the Source + Summit and TEC retreats as a team member. Both have been extremely fruitful and an amazing way to further connect with the young people of the diocese.
When did you start thinking of priesthood? What made you think of it?
I started thinking about the priesthood in 2nd grade when my older sisters began to joke that I should become a priest someday. The seed they planted slowly began to grow. At times the priesthood seemed an inevitability, and at other times it was the furthest thing from my mind. Despite moments of clarity, I didn't really begin to trust that God knew what He was doing with my vocation until college.
What aspect of priestly ministry is most attractive to you? Why?
Accompanying people in both the struggles and joys that life inevitably provides. Christ's own ministry was one of leading those He encountered back to the Father by first walking with them. In a particular way through the grace of ordination, Christ asks his priests to continue this ministry of presence today.
What gives you hope for the Catholic Church today?
The amazing witness of communities of young people gathering for prayer and fellowship at retreats and Monday night holy hours; families that have made me feel as welcome in their lives as their own kids; and the strength of the brotherhood I experience every day at seminary.
What Scripture passage hits home with you the most these days? Why?
1 John 4:9-10 - "In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love another."
The entirety of the Christian life is summed up in God's reckless love for us. What could be greater? It is because of this love that Christ comes to restore our relationship with the Father, and it is this love that calls us to be Christ for each other.
What things do you find life-giving? (Reading? If so, what have you read? Movies? If so, what movies have you enjoyed? Music? If so, what music moves you? Hiking, exercising? Explain why.)
Riding my road bike and reading. Years of prayer, discernment, study, and self-reflection can sometimes feel like running in sand. On my bike, I can simply go faster by pedaling harder. It's exhausting and clears my head all at the same time. Over the last year I've been reading a lot of WWII historical fiction. I love the way a novel can bring history to life by telling a story.
What is the hardest part of going to seminary? What are you most excited about this year for seminary?
Realizing that discernment doesn't end with going to seminary, but actually begins there. For years just going to seminary seemed like throwing caution to the wind, and I fell into the trap of thinking that giving seminary a shot would mean I had to become a priest. In reality that commitment takes place after spending years at a place that will only make you into a better Catholic man.