Bishop Medley’s Lenten Message: The Light is on for you

I shared this on my Facebook wall a couple of weeks ago, and thought that I would share it here as well. The Light is on for You is a great opportunity that our Diocese has been participating in during the penitential season of Lent. It is an open invitation and opportunity, to go to confession, and receive God’s mercy and grace. We are bound by the church law to confess our sins only once per year, during the Lenten season. Why not go more, though? The graces that we receive from the Sacrament of Confession and reconciliation are immense.They bestow grace upon us and help us to live our lives more faithfully to the Gospel.
When we sin, our sin does not just affect our relationship with god, rather it also affects our relationship with the community and the church. Sin, is selfish by nature. It does not focus on the good of ourselves and others, rather it focus on temporal moments of pleasure for ourselves, most of the time the results then hurt others, directly or indirectly. We, as Catholics confess our sins to the priest, for multiple reasons. One, it is private, very few people would ever want to go in front of their whole church and tell them their list of sins, it’s embarrassing. Telling our sins to a priest helps make it easier, yet, because we are sharing, we are vulnerable and it takes some humility to bear our sins to another. Secondly, the priest represents the power of the church, to whom Christ gave the power to forgive sins. (Remember when he gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom? He said: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”) Thirdly, the priest represents the community. He stands as the leader of the local church, and is able to represent them. So when we confess our sins to a priest, we receive forgiveness through the power of the church, confess in secret, making it something that we feel comfortable doing, and we bear witness to the community, through the priest standing in their place.

At the end of time, we are judged twice. Once at the moment of death, when we receive Heaven or Hell, and lastly at the end of time where we bear witness to our sins before the whole body of people in the world.

Try to go to confession at least once a month. Reconcile your soul to God, his church, and the community. Make this Lent a good one. Come home!

My Vocation Story

The following is my Vocation Story up to this point. Why do I say  up to this point? Because, it is a never ending process. Until the day I die I will always be seeking to discover and discern where/to what God is calling me to next. The following are just specific points along the way

All three of us in the Fall of 2013.

All three of us in the Fall of 2013.

that have stood out to me. Pray for me, that I may discern well, you are all in my prayers daily!

Growing up I was always encouraged to do whatever God wanted me to do. And no matter what my “ideal” job was in my mind my Mom used to always say that I should keep my options open incase God wanted me to be a Priest. Going through my life up until the 5th grade I wanted to be everything from a Construction Worker to a Veterinarian, but the thought of a being a priest was never that high on the list.

A little background before I start: I was born a triplet in the town of Quincy, IL to my parents Larry and Sue. I have one triplet brother, Brody, one triplet sister, Emily, and two older brothers: Adam and Nathan. (Both of whom are married with children now) In Quincy my family and I attended St. Peter’s which is where Servant of God Fr. Augustus Tolton, the first black priest in America was baptized and did some of his first ministry.(Because of our connection, I have a devotion to him.) My grandparents attend St. Francis Solanus in Quincy, which has had a big impact on my vocation, particularly through several of the Franciscans there.

My vocation story  really starts out in the little town of Beatrice, NE. We had moved to

Our family in Nebraska

Our family in Nebraska

Nebraska when I was in the second grade. My Dad had just got a job there and we moved to be with him. We made many friends, particularly ones from church. We attended St. Joseph’s and were blessed with two great priests. The then Fr. Mark Seiker and Fr. Finnian, who was a priest from Africa. Our faith really began to take off in Beatrice, not that we weren’t Catholic in Quincy or such, but too me it seemed to really take off. Mom was involved with the Ladies Sodality at the parish, which was blessing not only for her, but also for our family as it helped deepen our prayer life. My dad was involved with the Men’s group and we three kids went faithfully to CCD, and Mass with my parents. There is something unique thought about our time spent in Beatrice. I distinctly remember going to Holy Hours throughout the week. If memory serves, it seemed like we went each Saturday before Mass, as well as different points throughout the week. I remember Mom taking us there with her to pray, since Mom was a teacher she knew the value of good books and we were blessed to always have good Catholic books to read during adoration. We were particularly fond of books about the saints. They had a statue of the Infant of Prague in an alcove, with a basket of saint books under, that we would always peruse.

I remember even then looking at saints and praying about who I should choose as my confirmation saint down the road. (It was between John Bosco, Nicholas of Myra, and Francis of Assisi (Francis won, though I hold the others as patrons as well)) There was a statue of St. Theresé of Liseuix off to the left of the church in an alcove near the confessional, and for some reason I have always had a devotion to her since then. I remember dealing as a child with nightmares of hell, demons, etc. One time in particular I remember being at my grandparents and hearing a terrible voice saying that it was going to get me and that I was a sinner and that I was doomed to Hell. I ran out to the garage crying where my Grandma was and told her about it. Her words of advice have always stuck with me, she prayed a Hail Mary with me and told me if I ever heard the voice again to pray and ask Mary to defend me with the help of my guardian angel. Back in Beatrice I remember thinking about it and looking over at St. Theresé and seeing the shape of someone kneeling in front of it, facing toward the tabernacle, and they were shining with a white light. I asked Mom who it was and she didn’t see anything. I always took it as either a sign of my guardian angel showing that it too prayed with me and was there with me, or it was the trick on the eyes of a child, whatever it was it certainly deepened my faith.

I remember sitting and praying there in the church during the time, reading about the saints and falling in love with the Eucharist. My siblings and I received our First Holy Communion there by intinction. (sort of a neat fact) It was either at our First Communion, or our First Confession that I remember getting to sing the Alleluia and Alleluia verse prior to Fr. Finnian reading the Gospel. (I never thought that one day I would be leading the community as I intoned it at seminary years later!) The year we spent living in Nebraska was one of much peace, love, and happiness for my siblings and I. Sadly, I know my Mom and Dad struggled more than we did with being so far away from our family in Quincy, but I would have never known it.

Christmas came, and because all of our decorations were boxed up in storage, my Mom had the great idea to do an “old-fashioned” Christmas, decorating our real tree (I have yet to have a fake tree for Christmas!) with popcorn, apples, oranges, etc. I remember learning to ride our bikes in the park down the road without training wheels, the pet cemetery, the nature reserve across from our apartment where we got in trouble for catching grass hoppers for a class project. (If they hopped across to our side of the road we could keep them, go figure!) It was a time of much joy, spiritual growth, relying on Jesus in the Eucharist to console us as we missed our family and where I believe my vocation story really began. Thanks to my Mom, my siblings and I all have a great love, devotion, and sense of reverence to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and love to make Holy Hours.

After our year in Beatrice, we said good bye to our friends and apartment as we moved yet again to Marion, Kentucky where Dad had got a different job. I have lived in Marion ever since then, and while not having a Walmart or Kohls is a slight drawback, I wouldn’t change it for anything. It didn’t take long for us to get active in Marion, make friends and we had started attending St. William’s Catholic church down the road. Mom would still have us pray a family rosary, and during Lent/Advent my siblings and I got to choose devotions to do as a family each night.

Life was good and after one year of living there it came time to get a dog. We had a had

Maggie and the triplets

Maggie and the triplets

animals growing up in Quincy and because we had to put our Golden down shortly after we moved to Nebraska, Mom had promised that we would get a dog once we had lived in Kentucky for one year. So in May of 2003, my Grandma came for a visit and all of us went to Fancy Farm, Kentucky to look at Labrador Retrievers. One month later we returned to Fancy Farm and then home, this time with a growing yellow ball of fur who we named Magnolia (Maggie). Maggie was my joy, even though she had her temperamental qualities like nibbling on your back if you weren’t paying her attention, or digging up moles, wounding them, then leaving me to finish killing them. She was my best friend growing up, but I’ll continue on:

Later during the month of June St. William’s received a new pastor; Fr. Richard Cash. My family always went to the Saturday morning Mass at St. William’s and my brother and I had started serving for Fr. Bruce Fogle. Fr. Bruce is such a genuine man who really welcomed my family into the parish and was one of the first to show me that priests can have fun. (My siblings and I would have snowball fights with Father in the parking Lot after we left Mass on Saturdays.)

On the Saturday that I first met Fr. Cash I remember Mom and Dad were gone somewhere for something and an older couple from the parish who we called Grandpa Mike and Grandma Annie picked us up to take us to church. I remember Grandpa Mike pulling up in his white pickup, Brody and I sat in the bed with their dog Jake, Emily rode with them in the cab and we went to church early, so that we could welcome our new pastor.  I remember this “old man” driving up and getting out of the car and walking over to talk with all of us. Little did I know that Father was not “old,” rather he was in his 40’s and his hair was just turning grey. We all introduced ourselves and he asked if Brody and I were going to serve. We said yes, and proceeded to help him carry his things into the church. One of the things he handed us was a pillow that he told us to sit behind the Altar. Confused, my brother asked what it was for, Father replied: “Incase I get sleepy and want to take a nap during Mass.” (I later learned that Father used pillows as bookrests for the missal on the Altar.)

That day was the start of a great friendship between my family and Father Cash, one that has had a huge impact on my life. Father would come over with Aaron our organist at church to eat Easter dinner with us or come to our Mardi Gras birthday party for our grandma. He was a great role model and one whom I looked up to immensely. He taught my brother and I how to serve with the help of another dear friend: Jim Butler. Our Liturgies at the tri-parishes (of which St. William’s was a member) were always beautiful and steeped in tradition. We used incense, and torches for the procession and Consecration, we wore Cassock and Surplice, and we learned the proper ways to ring bells and polish the metal in the church.

Life was good. Then one day Fr. Cash announced that he was being moved. I remember going home and my whole family seemed sad. We knew that we would still keep in touch with Father, but we were definitely going to miss him. One of his last Sunday’s after Mass the five of us young boys who always served Mass, reverenced the cross, gave Father hand shakes for a job well done and then listened to him tell us some advice. It was in this moment that I learned so much respect for the priesthood and how to be humble. Father said something along the lines of: “Promise me that when you all get your new pastor, you will treat him with the same love and respect that you do me. He might not do everything that I do at Mass, and he may celebrate Mass differently, but instead of arguing or being angry I want you all to always remember to say “Yes Father” and do it. Every priest is different and that is good, he will bring new things that will help St. William’s to grow and you all will get to witness it, so keep serving, stay close to Christ, and thank you for always serving! You guys are the best!” These words have stuck with me and I have always remembered that even if I don’t agree with a priest he is still a priest and deserves my respect. Whenever I was asked to do something at Mass or to help the parish I would always say; “yes Father” and give glory to God.

During a Confirmation class at my Parish one day in 5th grade I had a talk with Fr. Cash about my plans in life, he said that after knowing me for awhile he thought that I might have some qualities that would be good in a Priest and encouraged me to ask God what he wanted me to do with my life. From that moment I began to have that question in the back of my mind saying: What would your life be like if you became a Priest? Throughout the years since I have always tried to ask God what he wanted me to do with my life whether it be with a secular job as a husband and father or as a Priest.

My family continued to attend St. William’s in Marion during this time until my 8th grade year, when we changed parishes to go to St. Ann which was located 45 minutes away. People always seem shocked with how far we drive to church each Sunday, driving 45 minutes, vs 5 minutes down the road, but moving to St. Ann was one of the best things we did for the spiritual health of my family and for my own vocation. (Note: When I’m home over break, I still go to St. William’s for Thursday Mass and still keep in contact with those there, as they are where I first felt called to the priesthood.)

Our pastor at St. Ann was Fr. Gerald Baker. Fr. Baker and Fr. Cash both have a love for beautiful Liturgy, something that I have inherited from them. A major part of my vocation story is from serving at the Altar and getting to interact with so many holy priests within the Liturgy. St. Ann not only had beautiful Liturgy, but they also had Perpetual Adoration. If you remember my family has a love for adoration, which started back in Nebraska when my Mom would bring us, continued to our weekly Holy Hour on Saturdays at St. William’s and continues to making time for it today at St. Ann.

I started serving at St. Ann with my brother and got to know Fr. Baker and the then associate, Fr. James Walling CPM. Fr. James and Fr. Baker loved Christ and preached his love from the pulpit each day. They increased our faith in the real presence, preached God’s mercy in confession and truly helped us to blossom and grow. My sophomore year in High School, Fr. Cash was named as our associate at St. Ann, so my family got to have both of our favorite priests under one roof.

Throughout High School, I was blessed to have several great teachers, who even though they were protestant they encouraged me in discerning seminary and the priesthood. My Ag Advisor, Larry Duvall always taught us his students what it meant to be a man of virtue, to give to others freely, and always help those in need. It was through my time in the FFA, that I gained so many valuable leadership skills and experience in leading others. Our Systems Engineer for the district Technology office, Don Winters became a close friend as I worked with him in STLP and running the school help desk in the mornings. His own ministry as a youth minister inspired me to seek to do more. Carol West, our librarian was always there ready to talk to us and encourage us to follow God’s calling. And lastly, all of my English

My new niece Winnie!

My new niece Winnie!

teachers, Mrs. Gavin, Quertermous, McCord, and Lacy always inspired me, as they read my English writings, several of which discussed what I was thinking of doing. Mrs. Quertermous even proof-read my application for seminary for me! I was blessed to go to a fantastic high school, which even though it was public, still retained it’s Christian roots and morals. The staff was always so supportive of each student in achieving our dreams.

Fr. Cash was moved my Senior year, but prior to that he helped me set up an appointment with Dr. Litke, the new Associate Director of Vocations for the Diocese and he had helped me in Spiritual Direction as well. I applied for Seminary the Fall of my senior year and was accepted right after graduation. I always joked about how it took almost 5 months to get my results back from my psychological evaluation. I would walk in the sacristy to serve Sunday Mass and Fr. Baker would alway say: “Well, Mr. Bruns have you found out if you’re crazy yet?” To which I would respond: ‘Well, I already know that!”

Pictures of myself and Fr. Cash and Fr. Baker, as well as my brother Brody.

Pictures of myself and Fr. Cash and Fr. Baker, as well as my brother Brody.

I graduated from high school as Senior Class President and the Vice President for the FFA, STLP, and Beta Club. Life was good. I drove up to seminary in August of 2012 and the rest is recorded on random posts throughout this blog. My vocation story is still developing. I am still discovering what direction Christ is calling me toward. I feel that I am called to be a priest, and that I am in the right spot for now in my life. I am engaging in spiritual and human formation and striving to become the man God created me to be. Whatever direction Christ takes me in my life, I know that he is always there watching, guiding, and guarding. I have had so many people who have walked alongside me in life thus far, and I know that there will be many more. God has blessed me abundantly and continues to do so each day, as he constantly converts my heart and calls me to himself. This is only fraction of my Vocation Story, there is a lot more to it, as well as a lot more people who have played a part. If I were to go in to everything, it would probably take triple the length of this post. So I will spare you the length!!

When was the last time that you thought about your vocation? When was the last time that you invited a young man to consider a vocation to the priesthood? When was the last time that you said yes to God’s will in your life and followed his lead? I encourage you to go, invite that

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young man at your parish to think of seminary! Pray for Vocations! Inspire Vocations by your own life and ministry! The Harvest is abundant but the laborers are few!

Pray, encourage, and invite others to think  about their vocations. Pray for them and please, please in your kindness pray for me!

 

 

 

The above piece, is one of my favorite musical pieces. Enjoy!

Happy 205th Birthday to the Catholic Church in Kentucky!

Happy 205th Birthday today to the ArchDiocese of Louisville, KY. The Diocese of Bardstown was created on this date in 1808 along with New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. These were the first diocese’s created in America. Bardstown gave birth to many of the churches in Western Kentucky, through the work of several missionary priests like Fr. Elisha Durbin. Fr. Durbin founded my own church of St. Ann in Morganfield, KY. After the church in Western Kentucky was started and built up, the Holy See issued a Papal Bull in 1937 establishing the Diocese of Owensboro, by separating the 32 counties of Western Kentucky from what was the the Diocese of Louisville. And the Diocese of Louisville was elevated to an Archdiocese.

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The translation of the Papal Bull establishing the Diocese of Owensboro is:

English translation:

Pius, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God, for the Perpetual Memory of this Act

From the Diocese of Louisville we separate that part of its territory comprising the civil counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman, Fulton, McCracken, Graves, Livingston, Marshall, Calloway, Trigg, Lyon, Crittenden, Caldwell, Christian, Hopkins, Webster, Union, Henderson, Daviess, Hancock, McLean, Ohio, Muhlenberg, Butler, Todd, Logan, Breckinridge, Grayson, Edmonson, Warren, Simpson, Allen and from it, we erect a new and distinct diocese, and we will and declare that this diocese be called that of Owensboro from the city of that name, restricting this much the boundaries of the Diocese of Louisville, decreeing further that the seat of the new diocese be fixed in the city of Owensboro, which therefore we elevate to the rank of an episcopal city and to it we grant the rights and privileges which other episcopal cities enjoy; the throne of the Bishop we fix in the parish church of St. Stephen in that same city and we elevate it to the rank and dignity of a Cathedral Church, and to it and its incumbent Bishops, we grant all the rights, privileges, honors, insignia, favors, and prerogatives which other Cathedral Churches and their Bishops by common law possess and enjoy, and we bind them to the same duties and obligations.

We constitute this Diocese of Owensboro a suffragan of the Church of Louisville, which Our Most Holy Lord, Pope Pius XI, now gloriously reigning, by his Letters Quo christifidelium regimen, written on the tenth day of December last, decreed to be elevated to Metropolitan; therefore we subject the Bishops of Owensboro to the metropolitan jurisdiction of the Archbishops of Louisville.

So Happy 205th Anniversary to the Catholic Church in Kentucky! Ad Multos Annos!

This day in history (For you Southern History buffs!)

This day in history (For you Southern History buffs!)

On this day in US History Jefferson Davis took control of the Confederacy as he became the “provisional president of the Confederacy” This was an important point in our history as a nation, and I thought that I would share it. You can visit the link if you’d like, but I copied the text from History.com for your reading pleasure below. Though I am from up North I have always found that historic battle sites and the history from around this era to be quite fascinating, especially the stories of the south. Thankfully though, our Nation was restored to being one of unity and not divided North & South. So enjoy reading the article, which is a glimpse in to our American History!

From History.com:

On this day in 1861, Jefferson Davis, a veteran of the Black Hawk and Mexican-American Wars, begins his term as provisional president of the Confederate States of America. As it turned out, Davis was both the first and last president of the ill-fated Confederacy, as both his term and the Confederacy ended with the Union’s 1865 victory in the Civil War.

Born in Kentucky and raised in Mississippi, Davis graduated from West Point in 1828. In 1824, at the age of 26, he married his first wife, Sarah, the 16-year-old daughter of then-Colonel Zachary Taylor, against Taylor’s wishes. The marriage ended after only three months when Sarah died of malaria. Davis remarried at age 37 in 1845, this time to a prominent 17-year-old Southern socialite and budding author named Varnia Howell.

Upon his election to the House of Representatives in 1844, Davis immediately put his pro-slavery vote into action, opposing the Compromise of 1850 and other policies that would have limited the expansion of slavery into new American territories. He interrupted his political service in 1851 to fight in the Mexican-American War, during which his bravery and success prompted then-General Taylor to declare My daughter, sir, was a better judge of men than I was.

Following the war, Davis accepted an appointment to fill a suddenly vacant Mississippi seat in the U.S. Senate, but resigned after only a year to launch an unsuccessful bid for the governorship of Mississippi. Davis then campaigned for Franklin Pierce‘s presidential campaign; upon winning, Pierce rewarded him with the post of secretary of war in 1853. In this capacity, Davis proved instrumental in advocating for the development of atranscontinental railroad. When Pierce lost his presidential reelection bid, Davis ran for a Senate seat and won.

Although a staunch supporter of slavery, Davis vigorously opposed the secessionist movement until 1860 when Abraham Lincoln came to power. Davis’ attempts to solidify states’ rights failed repeatedly and, disillusioned, he decided to resign from the Senate. On January 10, 1861, Davis led Mississippi in following South Carolina‘s example and seceding from the Union. The following month, he was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America. (Davis was referred to as the provisional president because he had been appointed by the Confederate Congress rather than elected by the populace.) He moved his family to the southern White House in Richmond, Virginia, and prepared for a six-year presidential term.

Davis’ refusal to appoint a general commander of southern forces and his attempt to manage the Southern army and government at the same time is thought to have contributed to the South’s defeat. After the fall of Atlanta in 1865, he was captured inGeorgia, clapped in irons and indicted for treason. After two years, he was finally released on bail; charges against him were not dropped until 1869. While in prison he staved off financial ruin by selling his Mississippi estate to a former slave. A rebel to the end, Davis refused to swear an oath of allegiance that would have reinstated his U.S. citizenship even after his release from prison. The time spent incarcerated impacted his health, and on December 6, 1889, Davis died in New Orleans.