Five Ordained Holy Cross Priests in 2019

Five Ordained Holy Cross Priests in 2019


| by Angela Knight

    Rev. Brian Kennedy, C.S.C., Rev. Karl Romkema, C.S.C., Rev. Brogan Ryan, C.S.C., Rev. Michael Thomas, C.S.C., and Rev. Bryan Williams, C.S.C., were ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, April 27, 2019, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The Most Reverend William A. Wack, C.S.C., Bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders. 

    From left to right: Rev. Michael Thomas, C.S.C., Rev. Brogan Ryan, C.S.C., Rev. Brian Kennedy, C.S.C., Most Reverend William A. Wack, C.S.C., Rev. Karl Romkema, C.S.C., and Rev. Bryan Williams, C.S.C. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame; Copyright University of Notre Dame)

    On Aug. 25, 2018, Deacons Kennedy, Romkema, Ryan and Williams professed perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and committed themselves to the common life and apostolic work of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Deacon Thomas professed the same in Santiago, Chile, where he served at San Francisco de Sales Parish on Sept. 15, 2018 – the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows – the special patron of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

    As these men enter priesthood, they will live out the Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross in a richer, more meaningful way than ever before. Equal parts joy and heft are set before them in Constitution 1:3 and Constitution 2:14:

    We heard a summons to give over our lives in a more explicit way. It was a call to serve all people, believers and unbelievers alike. We would serve them out of our own faith that the Lord had loved us and died for us and risen for us and that He offers us a share in His life, a life more powerful and enduring than any sin or death.

    The mission is not simple, for the impoverishments we would relieve are not simple. There are networks of privilege, prejudice and power so commonplace that often neither oppressors nor victims are aware of them. We must be aware and also understanding by reason of fellowship with the impoverished and by reason of patient learning. For the kingdom to come in this world, disciples must have the competence to see and the courage to act.

    Rev. William M. Lies, C.S.C., the Provincial Superior of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross, reflected on the ordinations: “As these men are ordained as Holy Cross priests, there is great rejoicing in the vision they bring, the courage they demonstrate, the hope and the fervor they share, and the great joy and peace they will make known wherever they serve."

    Rev. Mr. Brian David Kennedy, C.S.C., is the second of three children of David and Christine Kennedy of Pequot Lakes, Minn. He entered formation with the Congregation in 2008 as an Old Collegian and professed First Vows on August 3, 2013.

    Brian served his diaconate year at St. John Vianney Parish Catholic Church and School, Goodyear, Ariz. Prior to his ordination as a transitional deacon, Brian served as a religious education catechist, Holy Cross Parish, South Bend, Ind. (postulant year); volunteer, Penrose-St. Francis Hospital, Sacred Heart Parish, Colorado (novitiate year); Church social action associate, Center for Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., (first year professed); marriage preparation at St. Pius X Parish, Granger, Ind., (second year of temporary vows); Catholic Peace Fellowship (third year of temporary vows); St. Ignatius Martyr Parish and School, Austin, TX (fourth year of temporary vows); RCIA, University of Notre Dame Campus Ministry, Notre Dame, Ind., (fifth year of temporary vows). Brian also served each summer from 2012 to 2017 in the following ministries: André House, Phoenix, Ariz. (2012), My Brother’s Keeper, South Easton, Mass. (2013), Holy Redeemer Parish, Portland, Ore. (2014), Parroquia Nuestra Madre Santísima de La Luz, Guadalupe, Nueva Leon, México (2015), Saint George’s College, Santiago, Chile (2016), The Farm at Stonehill College, Easton, Mass. (2017). Brian earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2012, and earned his M.Div. from the same in 2018.

    As he prepares for ordination day, Brian ponders how his understanding of the Holy Cross charism has grown over the last couple years. “As I have moved from being educated in the seminary to educating others – first in my pastoral year at St. Ignatius Martyr parish and school and now as a deacon and a teacher at St. John Vianney parish and school – I have noticed a strong correlation between being “educators in the faith” and “men with hope to bring,” said Brian. “If we are to not educate the mind at the expense of the heart, then it seems to me that we must bring something more than professional skills or expertise. Our mission demands a disciple’s hope, forged in the struggle of faithfully carrying the Cross.”

    Fr. Brian’s first Mass as a priest will be at 10:00 a.m. on April 28, 2019, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind.

    Rev. Mr. Karl Michael Romkema, Jr., C.S.C., is the second of nine children of Mike and Karen Romkema of Clarkston, Mich. Presently serving as a deacon at St. Ignatius Martyr Parish, Austin, Texas, Karl has formed a true sense of what it means to enter into priesthood, though it’s a continuous striving. “Become another Christ,” said Karl. “Several times in his Spiritual Exercises, Blessed Basil Moreau encourages us to become truly another Jesus Christ.  In this simple but power exhortation, he captures the essence of the Christian mystery - and the heart of our vocation. Each of the baptized are called and graced not only to follow Jesus, but to identify so closely with Him that there is no noticeable difference between Master and disciple.”

    During his formation, Karl served in the Strong Fathers Program at the Women’s Care Center, South Bend, Ind. (2014-15); teacher, Jinja, Uganda (Summer 2015); RCIA, University of Notre Dame Campus Ministry, Notre Dame, Ind. (2015-16); Holy Redeemer Parish, Portland, Ore. (Summer 2016); Basil Moreau Spiritual Exercise Groups (2016-17); assistant rector, O’Neill Family Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. (2017-18).

    He graduated with a B.A. in philosophy and theology from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2013, where he also earned his M.Div. in 2018. He entered Holy Cross in 2009 as an Old Collegian. He made his First Profession of Vows on August 2, 2014.

    Fr. Romkema will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 10:15 a.m. on April 28, 2019, at Sacred Heart Chapel, Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind. Fr. Karl will also celebrate Mass at Our Lady of the Lakes Church, Waterford, Mich., on May 5, 2019 at 9:30 a.m., with a reception following, as well as at St. Ignatius Martyr, Austin, Texas, on May 11, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.

    Rev. Mr. Brogan Christopher Ryan, C.S.C., is the sixth of eleven children of Robert and Mary Ginn Ryan of Columbus, Ohio, and has a younger brother, Michael, who is a Holy Cross Novice. Presently serving his diaconate as a rector of Keough Hall at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., Brogan is excited for his ordination as it approaches.

    “Discernment and formation has been a long process for me,” said Brogan. “I am grateful that it is leading to ordination and excited to be able to share in the day with many family and friends. These have also been difficult days for the Church, so I also feel humbled in my vocation and energized to be a good and holy priest.”

    Prior to his diaconate year, Brogan served as an RCIA team member at Christ the King Parish, South Bend, Ind. (Aug. 2012-May 2013); in the Tax Assistance Program at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. (Spring 2013); Holy Redeemer Parish, Portland, Ore. (Summer 2013); Penrose-Saint Francis Medical Center, chaplain, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Aug. 2013-July 2014); Catholic Worker, South Bend, Ind. (Aug. 2014-May 2015); Holy Cross Missions, Uganda (Summer 2015); Holy Cross General Chapter, technology and logistics, Rome, Italy (Summer 2016); assistant director, Old College Undergraduate Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind. (2016-2017); Family Theater Productions, intern, Hollywood, Calif. (Summer 2017); assistant rector, Keough Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. (2017-2018).

    Brogan graduated with a B.B.A. in accounting and minor in theology from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2008 and earned his M.Ed. (ACE) from the Univesity in 2010, and his M.Div. in 2018. He entered Holy Cross in August 2012 as a postulant, and made his First Profession of Vows on August 2, 2014.

    Fr. Brogan will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 11:45 a.m. on April 28, 2019, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind. He will also celebrate Mass at the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Keough Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., at 10:00 p.m. on April 28, 2019, and Saint Catharine of Siena in Columbus, Ohio on May 26, 2019 at 11:00 a.m.

    Rev. Mr. Michael Scott Thomas, C.S.C., is the oldest of two children of Wayne and Karin Thomas of Lakeville, Ind. Presently serving his diaconate at St. George’s College, Santiago, Chile, Michael speaks of the community life in Holy Cross that has enriched his formation and the brotherhood that he will now share in even more richly. “Brotherhood in Holy Cross is at the heart of our charism and mission. Some of my closest friends are my brothers in Holy Cross, and I would never have been able to discover my vocation and to follow God without their accompaniment and friendship. Community life is the hearth of joy and energy that warms us to head back out into ministry. Belonging to the community of Holy Cross is how God asks me to belong to his Church and how God asks me to love the world.”

    Prior to his diaconate year, Michael assisted Holy Cross ministries in Monterrey, México (Taman and San Luis Potosí, Summer 2013); Holy Redeemer Parish, Portland, Ore. (Winter 2014); St. George’s College, Santiago, Chile (Summer 2015); General Chapter, Rome, Italy (Summer 2016); St. Adalbert’s/St. Casimir Parishes, South Bend, Ind. (Summer 2017-2018).          

    Michael earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in 2012, and earned his M.Div. from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind. in 2018. He entered Holy Cross in August 2012 as a postulant, and made his First Profession of Vows on August 2, 2014.

    Fr. Michael will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 9:30 a.m. on April 28, 2019, at St. Casimir Parish, South Bend, Ind. Fr. Michael will also celebrate Mass at St. Adalbert’s Parish, South Bend, Ind., at 1:00 p.m. on April 28, 2019.

    Rev. Mr. Bryan Alan Williams, C.S.C., is the eldest of three children of Warren and Melanie Williams of Sugar Land, Texas. Presently serving his diaconate at Stonehill College, North Easton, Mass., Bryan shares his excitement over the array of possibilities in ministry he might have to look forward to throughout his priestly future in Holy Cross.

    “What I love about Holy Cross is the diversity of ministries in which we serve,” said Bryan. “Some serve at colleges or universities in residence life or teaching, some serve in parish ministry all over the country, others bring the Gospel to other countries. I have had the opportunity to see Holy Cross in each of these settings and can honestly say that I would be happy to serve in any of them.”

    Prior to his diaconate year, Bryan served at St. Adalbert’s/St. Casimir Parishes (First Communion class during his postulant year) in South Bend, Ind.; Center for the Homeless, tutor, South Bend, Ind.; Parroquia Nuestra Madre Santísima de La Luz, Guadalupe, Nueva Leon, México (Summer 2015); M.Div. intern, Multicultural Student Ministries, Campus Ministry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.; Colegio Fe y Alegría #25 and Rosario en Familia in Lima, Peru (Summer 2016); facilitator, Satellite Theological Education Program (STEP), University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.; assistant, St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal, Canada (Summer 2017); assistant director, Old College, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.

    Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2013, and earned his M.Div. from the University in 2018. He entered Holy Cross in August 2009 as an Old Collegian. He made his First Profession of Vows on August 2, 2014.

    Fr. Bryan will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at 8:30 a.m. on April 28, 2019, at Sacred Heart Chapel, Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame, Ind.




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