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Prayer is food for a priest’s journey

braud    It has been an amazing journey ever since I entered seminary almost six years ago.
    I learned a lot about the church, prayer, the priesthood and myself – more than what I had previously thought possible. Being a deacon of the church these last few months, all of this has deepened.

    Spending five months in a parish during my internship at St. Joan of Arc in LaPlace – living in a rectory and serving others in different ways – has broadened my perspective of the ministerial aspect of the priesthood. There are three specific areas in which this has happened: liturgy, pastoral ministry and prayer.
    The liturgy is where the Body of Christ – the church – comes together to worship God. Serving Mass as a deacon, especially proclaiming the Gospel and preaching homilies, coupled with praying the Liturgy of the Hours five times a day, has shown me just how deeply rooted in the liturgy we are as Catholics.
    The liturgy affects how we view the world, like tint in a car window. We cannot help but act according to the liturgy and the liturgical seasons. During Advent, we feel this anticipation of awaiting the birth of Christ. During the Easter season, we are joyful because Christ is risen. The liturgy colors our perspective every day because it is where we encounter the person of Christ.
    As a deacon, I particularly encountered the liturgy in a unique way through preaching. Speaking in front of others is very nerve-wracking for me, but I was surprised at how quickly I learned to settle into that role.
    It must be the grace of orders, because many have told me that I do not seem nervous when preaching. If they only knew the fire storm churning inside! I really like the teaching aspect of preaching. Expounding on the mysteries of the faith and the spiritual life through the words of Scripture is at the same time humbling and exciting.
    During my internship, I also experienced the many ways in which the priest ministers outside of the church. Being in LaPlace during the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac thrust me into this. For several weeks I spent  time gutting houses and being present to those affected. Sometimes you need to get your hands dirty when in ministry. This aspect of the priesthood has been emphasized by Pope Francis, who has stated he wants his priests to have the smell of their sheep on them.
    The most important thing I learned is the importance of prayer as a priest. Praying the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours are very important, but personal prayer is the lifeblood of the priesthood. Priests are here to bring Christ to others in all that they do. They cannot give Christ to others if they are not receiving him daily through prayer. You cannot give what you have not received. Prayer is that personal encounter where Christ gazes into our hearts, and we gaze back at him. Please pray for my classmates and me as we prepare to enter into the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Age: 27
Birthplace: Metairie
Home Parish: St. Peter, Covington
Parents: Michael and Deborah Braud
Education: Kolbe Academy home school (2004); Louisiana State University (electrical engineering), before entering St. Joseph Seminary College;  entered Notre Dame Seminary in 2009.
Favorite Food: Anything seafood or Italian
Tell us something people don’t know about you: I have been brewing my own beer. My latest is a saison.
Favorite Saint: It’s a toss-up between St. Michael, Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati and St. Gemma Galgani. All three are unique.
Favorite Book (Religious and Non-religious): “The Spirit of the Liturgy,” by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI); “Lost in the Cosmos,” by Walker Percy.
Hobbies: Fishing, watching LSU and Saints football, movies.
Summer Internships: St. Mary Magdalen (2008) and St. Jerome (2010).
Diaconate Internship: St. Joan of Arc, LaPlace
First Mass: June 2, 5 p.m., St. Peter, Covington; June 9, 9:30 a.m., St. Mary Magdalen, Metairie; also, June 23, 10 a.m., St. Jerome, Kenner.
First Priestly Assignment: St. Margaret Mary, Slidell, July 1.

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