Brennan


With the Laying on of Hands and with Prayer

By Fr. John Bostwick, O. Praem.

Fr. John Bostwick, O. Praem.

Fr. John Bostwick, O. Praem.

The ritual for ordaining a priest in the Catholic Church is a ceremony rich in symbolism. Most people seem to be drawn to two elements: the dramatic gesture of the Litany of the Saints being sung as the ordinand lies prostrate before the altar, and the moment following when the ordaining bishop and all the other attending priests prayerfully lay hands on the head of the person being ordained, and with that the solemn prayer of consecration. The sight of the ordinand lying on the floor before the altar while the gathered assembly invokes the saints and heavenly powers is certainly a powerful moment in the ritual.

But it is the laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration that is the core of the sacramental action; everything else leads up to it and flows from it. I never fail to be moved by this simple ritual, the more so as I know the man being ordained. But one ordination stands out and has influenced me ever since.

Jim was a student at a Norbertine high school, a hockey player. He attended college out East. While he was a good man, a little on the wild side, we wouldn’t have pegged him for the priesthood. But as a college senior Jim had a profound conversion experience. After college he joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. We were friends from high school through college and his religious formation. So on May 27, 2000, I found myself participating in his priestly ordination in Baltimore.

… it is the laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration that is the core of the sacramental action …

—Fr. John Bostwick, O. Praem.

Perhaps because Jim’s ordination was my first outside the Norbertine community, I was more aware of what I was doing. It was a transcendent moment. I was deeply conscious this was not simply about the priesthood we all shared, but that in my heart it also represented the nearly 900-year tradition of Norbertine priesthood.

Fr. John Bostwick, O. Praem., imposes hands upon the ordinand: Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., who was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 2015.

Fr. John Bostwick, O. Praem., imposes hands upon the ordinand: Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., who was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 2015.

Well, a priest is a priest is a priest … right?

Yes—and no. There is a distinctive quality to this particular tradition that is challenging to put into words. It is a nuance, a Spirit, perhaps a particular way of exercising the priesthood of Christ that we all share.

Just as the whole Church, the Body of Christ, is a Royal Priesthood, so each Norbertine community is a priestly community. This embraces lay members, brothers (and sisters), as well as ordained members. The community as community offers a priestly service in the “sacrifice of praise” of the Liturgy of the Hours and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, as well as the ministry of service to the local Church and to the world around us. The service of Norbertine priests, flowing from this priestly community, is a corporate ministry. We are not “lone rangers,” even when we find ourselves “alone” in a parish or classroom or other setting. We act—certainly in the name of Jesus—but also in the name and with the support of the entire brotherhood.

So in laying hands prayerfully on the head of Michael Brennan, O. Praem., on May 27, we not only pass on through Bishop David Ricken the ministry of Christ—our true and only Priest—but we also share with Michael the unique gift and orientation of this particular priestly community.

May 2017 Norbertine Ordination Celebration at St. Norbert Abbey

May 19, 2017

I hope my achievements shall be these:

  • that I will have fought for what was right and fair,
  • that I will have risked for that which mattered,
  • that I will have given drink to the thirsty,
  • that I will have welcomed the stranger,
  • that I will have clothed the naked,
  • that I will have cared for the ill,
  • that I will have visited the imprisoned,
  • that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I’ve been.
—Adapted from Matthew 25 and C. Hoppe

On Saturday, May 27, 2017, Rev. Frater Michael J. Brennan, O. Praem., will be ordained to the priesthood. The Mass of Ordination will be celebrated by Most Rev. David L. Ricken, DD, JCL, Bishop of Green Bay, at 2:30 p.m. in the church of St. Norbert Abbey.

On Sunday, May 28, 2017, the Solemnity of the Ascension of our Lord, Rev. Brennan will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 10 a.m. in the church of St. Norbert Abbey.


In the News

Faith calendar for May 20
May 20, 2017
South Bend Tribune


May 27, 2017 — Mass of Priesthood Ordination of Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo


May 28, 2017 — Mass of Thanksgiving (Homily) of Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo


Rev. Frater Michael Joseph Brennan, O. Praem.

Ordination to the Priesthood

Statue of St. Norbert of Xanten (1080-1134) | St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin | Sculptor: Paul T. Granlund

Statue of St. Norbert of Xanten (1080-1134) | St. Norbert College, De Pere, Wisconsin | Sculptor: Paul T. Granlund

Deacon Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

Deacon Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

Deacon Brennan, 39, is the son of Michael and Dorothy Brennan of Michigan City, Indiana, and a son of Queen of All Saints Catholic Church in Michigan City. His parents now belong to St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, Indiana.

Deacon Brennan was vested in the white Norbertine habit in August 2011 and professed Simple Vows in August 2013. He professed Solemn Vows on August 28, 2016, the Solemnity of St. Augustine, and was ordained to the diaconate the following day.

A 1995 graduate of Marquette Catholic High School, Michigan City, Deacon Brennan graduated from St. Norbert College (SNC), De Pere, in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology and a minor in religious studies.

In 2001 he received a Master of Education degree from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He was also named Teacher of the Year at Our Lady of Prompt Succor, White Castle, Louisiana (1999-2000), and at Ascension Catholic Middle School, Donaldsonville, Louisiana (2001-2002), and received the Young Alumni Award from SNC (2005).

Deacon Brennan completed his Masters of Divinity in May 2017 and anticipates completing an M.A. in Scripture in the fall of 2017. Both degrees are granted by Catholic Theological Union, Chicago.

After his priestly ordination, Fr. Brennan will be assigned to SNC, where he will serve in sacramental, teaching and vocation ministries.

Read More

Upcoming Events with Deacon Brennan

at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality at St. Norbert Abbey

May 24 | Coffee and Conversation with Deacon Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

September 29-October 1 | Beside Restful Waters: A Retreat for Men at Morgan Lake
Facilitated by (soon-to-be) Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem., and Tony Pichler

December 16 | Advent Series: Hear God’s Voice in the Deserts of Our Lives
Presented by (soon-to-be) Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

March 8-17, 2018 | A Pilgrimage to the Holy Land
With spiritual host (soon-to-be) Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

Ongoing Program: Sunrise Scripture
Facilitated by (soon-to-be) Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem., Fr. David Komatz, O. Praem., Tony Pichler, and Kathie Tilot

Deacon Brennan Receives Faculty Choice Award

May 10, 2017

Deacon Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

In May 2017, Deacon Michael Brennan, O. Praem., received the Paul Bechtold Library’s Faculty Choice Award for his article, “Matthew’s Fifth Antithesis and Domestic Violence” at the symposium for Theophilus: The Student Journal of Catholic Theological Union (CTU), Chicago.

Also in May, Deacon Brennan completed his Masters of Divinity and anticipates completing an M.A. in Scripture in December 2017. Both degrees are granted by CTU.

In the News

Matthew’s Fifth Antithesis and Domestic Violence
Vol 4, No 1 (May 2, 2017)
Theophilus: The Student Journal of Catholic Theological Union (CTU)

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