Posted by: fvbcdm | May 6, 2017

Feast of Saint Judith (5 May 2017)

Today I would like to talk to you about two men, one of whom I have known very well, the other not at all.  The one I knew was Father William Brenda, one of our Dominican friars who lived here at Holy Rosary parish in Houston for about eighteen years, five of them with me.  He was seven years older than I; a native of Detroit, of Polish ancestry.  His nickname among his confreres was “Boley” because once, in the seminary, he took the part of a Polish man whose name was Bolinkowitz.

Boley didn’t want to come here; he was very content at our parish in Hammond, Louisiana.  But there was a need for him here, so he came as any obedient friar would.  Shortly after he got here, he came to my room (we were three priests in the house) and said to me, “I think I’m having a panic attack.”  I didn’t know what a panic attack was, so I called one of our priests elsewhere who had some experience in emotional problems, and he told me what to do.  We brought Father Brenda to a therapy center where he remained for about three weeks, and returned feeling fine.  From then on, it was a great joy to live and work with Boley; I learned a great deal from him.  Perhaps the most important thing I learned from him was the beauty and value of perseverance even in adverse conditions.

Boley was not a good preacher; everyone was aware of that.  But the sad thing was that HE was painfully aware of it, too.  He had been a priest for about forty years and had preached and taught very faithfully for all those years, knowing that he was not a good preacher and yet unable to do anything about it.  He heard other priests being congratulated on their preaching, but not himself.  People can be inadvertently cruel by praising others, but not the person they’re talking to.  Boley was sadly accustomed to that.  I remember one day, as he was going into the church to preach, he said under his breath, “Well, here goes nothing” or some self-disparaging comment like that.  My heart went out to him; I have always had the advantage of positive feedback about my preaching.  He evidently seldom did.  But it was his duty, so he did it, year after year after year.  And despite his long and repetitive sermons and homilies, people came to love him and admire him just as I did.  Boley died on May 5, 2008.   Now when you mention his name, those who knew him smile and remember him with affection and delight.  God grant him eternal rest, and thanks be to our God for giving him and his fine example to us for the years that he was with us.

The other man I’d like to mention today is about 30 years old.  I’ve never met him, but have been asked to pray for him, and to ask others to do so too.  So today, I’m asking you to pray for him.  His name is Josh.  He is the product of a broken home, an abusive father and an enabling mother.  His younger brother, whom I do know, has written to me and asked for prayers.  They are not a Catholic family, but the younger brother is a good, God-fearing young man, very concerned about his older brother who is now “on drugs” and making a mess of his life.  That tells you enough to deserve your prayers for Josh.  I leave the rest to you.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.  Please pray for the souls of the faithful departed, including Father Brown.


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