Fr. Brokaw tells the story of his chalice that was blessed at ordination vigil

During a vigil service on May 26, the eve of Father Lee Brokaw's ordination to the priesthood, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, consecrates the chalice the new priest will use at his Masses. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

While he completed his studies for the priesthood at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, Father Lee Brokaw served as a deacon at St. Benedict Parish in Baltimore. Not only did he gain experience he needed for his priestly ministry there, but he found the chalice and paten to use at the Masses that are at the center of his priestly life.

“The chalice was actually going to be disposed of. I think it was a gift to the parish,” Father Brokaw told The Catholic Post in the days before his ordination on May 27.

St. Benedict is served by the Benedictines of St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and the chalice had belonged a monk of that monastery. While the history has been lost over the years, Father Paschal Morlino, OSB, pastor, told the Peoria seminarian that the sterling silver Gorham chalice probably dates back to the 1930s.

“I had asked around the diocese and hadn’t found one that was available,” Father Brokaw said. “When I saw (Father Paschal) bring out this chalice, which he hadn’t used all year, I thought, ‘That’s exactly what I want.’”

Designed in the St. Michael style, the chalice has scenes from the life of Christ on the base and clasps holding the upper cup.

Father Paschal allowed Patrick and Brenda Brokaw of Raritan to purchase the chalice and paten for their son. They had the liturgical vessels re-plated in gold and carried them into the sanctuary of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria for Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, to consecrate with sacred chrism during the Vigil for the Ordination of Priests on May 26.

The vigil included a Holy Hour, with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a rosary led by newly ordained Deacon Andru O’Brien, and Benediction.

REMINDER TO MAINTAIN BALANCE

The Benedictine origin of the vessels makes them even more special to Father Brokaw. He served as a missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. The school was also founded by the Latrobe Benedictines.

He said he can relate to the Benedictine charism of “Ora et Labora” — Latin for “prayer and work.”

“As a farm kid that is really important because without prayer you don’t understand the true meaning of your work or what we’re made for,” Father Brokaw said. “It brings us back to the source of all of our life, which is God.

“Obviously we’re made to work on earth, to provide. We can’t get away from work,” he acknowledged. “But it’s this balance between prayer and work that’s always been influential.”

Father Brokaw also received a chalice from the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in Carthagena, Ohio. While doing an agriculture internship in the area during his junior year at the University of Illinois, he prayed in the community’s churches “to stay grounded.”

His parents also had that chalice re-plated and added a Celtic cross, a nod to his home parish of St. Patrick in Raritan. “That will probably be my daily chalice,” he said.

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