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June 2, 2017 /The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody - used with permission
What kind of a priest can St. Matthew Parish in Champaign expect when newly ordained Father Lee Brokaw arrives in a few days as parochial vicar?
Here are a few of the words that those who know him best-his parents and three sisters-used to describe him:
Dedicated. Conscientious. Caring. Self-giving. A leader who brings positive energy. Humble. And most especially, someone with a strong love for Christ.
"He'll do a good job serving the parish wherever he's at," predicted his mother, Brenda. "He loves people and he loves the Lord."
"Lee has a silly side to him, he can joke with you, but he knows when to be serious if he needs to be," added his sister Sarah.
The Brokaw family, members of St. Patrick Parish in Raritan, spoke with The Catholic Post during the reception that followed Father Brokaw's Mass of Ordination.
"He cares about other people and what kind of a job he does," said his father, Patrick, with whom Father Brokaw has worked closely on the family farm. He noted his son's interest in sports. Lee played football all four years at Stronghurst Southern High School and, like his father and grandfather, is a St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan.
The Brokaws each have a favorite memory from the ordination Mass. For Brenda, it was when Bishop Jenky and the priests of the diocese laid hands on his head during the Rite of Ordination.
His sister Mary Williams will remember when he received Jesus in the Eucharist surrounded by the bishop and nearly 100 priests at the cathedral altar. Another sister, Theresa, recalled when her brother received his vestments from Msgr. Thomas Mack and Msgr. Greg Ketcham. That Msgr. Ketcham, diagnosed a year ago with a brain tumor, was able to be present was especially meaningful.
"It meant a lot to Lee that (Msgr. Ketcham) could be here today," said Theresa. "He's been a huge part of his vocation from being at the University of Illinois and all through the seminary."
Father Brokaw's father was grateful to be able to bring up the offertory gifts with Brenda, who he repeatedly praised for being a good mother.
Father Brokaw offers a prayer of blessing for his parents, Patrick and Brenda Brokaw of St. Patrick Parish, Raritan, during a reception at the Spalding Pastoral Center in Peoria following the ordination Mass on May 27.
(The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)