The mourners at the funeral mass of Mgr. John B. Brady Jr. reflected many of the key priorities of his priesthood and his life. People gathered to pray for him at this Mass on September 17 at St. Bartholomew Church in Bethesda, Maryland, comprising about two dozen priests, an equal number of uniformed Scout leaders, many people from the parishes in the area where he served and members of his family. .
Mgr. Brady, 92, died on September 9 after suffering health complications from COVID-19. During his 66 years as a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, he served as pastor in southern Maryland, Washington, DC, and suburban Maryland, and at the time of his death he was the oldest and longest in the archdiocese. priest on duty.
Known as the âFather of Catholic Scoutingâ in the Archdiocese of Washington, Mgr. Brady was a Scout Chaplain for over six decades. In 1971 he was appointed Archdiocesan Chaplain for Scouting, and his service in that ministry included 49 years as chaplain at Goshen Scout Camp in Virginia.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, was the main celebrant of Mgr. Brady’s Funeral Mass, and said they have come together to recommend to God “one of our beloved senior priests”.
In remarks after Communion, the cardinal noted that he had had a meeting with Mgr. Brady about a month after arriving as the new Archbishop in 2019, and the veteran priest had a spiritual program that he wanted the Archdiocese to embark on.
âHe didn’t want to talk about yesterday. He wanted to talk about tomorrow, âsaid Cardinal Gregory. âI think that’s one of the great tributes we can pay him. His priesthood was always turned towards the next day, which the Church could do for its future. Her heart was filled with joy for tomorrow, and we are filled with gratitude for her yesterday in the service of this local Church.
In his homily, Father Charles McCann, another retired priest who had served in recent years with Mgr. Brady at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Clinton, noted that their friendship spanned over five decades and began when he came to the Archdiocese of his native Ireland for his first mission, as parish vicar in Sanctuary of the Blessed Sacrament in Washington in 1969, and Mgr. Brady, who also held that role there, became his friend and mentor.
Father McCann recalled how, when he received his first call to anoint a dying person, Mgr. Brady accompanied him and anointed the man, demonstrating a prayer and spirituality that Father McCann said he had witnessed in his fellow priest on several occasions over the years.
âEverything he did he did for the Lord,â said Father McCann.
Noting Mgr. Brady’s long devotion to scouting, said the homilist: âHe felt it was a wonderful opportunity to influence the minds of young boys at an important age.
The retired priest also underlined how Mgr. Brady, whether he chaplains in a Scout camp, travels to a foreign country or on a canoe adventure near the Arctic Circle, “always brought his mass kit with him and offered mass every day. “.
Father Jaime HernÃ¡ndez, now pastor of St. Gabriel Parish in Washington, who in recent years has served as pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Clinton where he served with Msgr. Brady, offered words of homage to the priest in Spanish during the funeral mass. In St. John’s, Mgr. Brady was taking Spanish lessons so he could serve the growing Hispanic community in that parish.
Mass concelebrants included Washington Auxiliary Bishops Mario Dorsonville and Roy Campbell Jr .; Father Mark Knestout, parish priest of Saint-BarthÃ©lemy; and Father Mario Majano, the new parish priest of St. John the Evangelist.
After his priestly ordination in 1955, Father Brady’s first assignment at the time was as Parish Vicar at Holy Redeemer Parish in Kensington. There he began serving as a Scout Chaplain and was also a Chaplain at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. From 1966 to 1971, he was parish vicar at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington.
For more than three decades, Mgr. Brady served as a pastor in Southern Maryland from 1974 to 1985 at St. Joseph in Pomfret, then until 1994 as a pastor of St. John Vianney in Prince Frederick, then at Holy Angels in Avenue until his retirement in 2005 .
âHe knew what his priorities were as a priest,â said Sister Marian Brady, a Providence sister and older sister who now lives at Bartholomew House in Bethesda.
Mgr. Brady’s survivors include his three siblings, Sister Marian Brady, former president of Immaculata College in Washington and former professor in the theology department of the Catholic University of America; Rubert Brady of Bethesda, a retired patent and trademark attorney; and Therese Brady Donohue of Amherst, Massachusetts, founder and former director of the Amherst Ballet Company. He is also survived by 10 nieces and nephews, 17 great-nieces and nephews and a great-great-nephew.
The son of the late John B. Brady and Mary Rupert Brady, Msgr. Brady grew up as a member of St. Anne’s Parish in Washington, where he was baptized, received his First Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation, and celebrated his First Mass, and where, in his youth, he became member of Scout Troop 4, later becoming an Eagle Scout and Master Scout with this troop.
While parish priest of Saint-Joseph in Pomfret, Mgr. Brady recorded and sold tapes of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s speeches to raise funds for the rebuilding of the historic church in this parish. At St. John Vianney in Prince Frederick, he oversaw the planning, fundraising and construction of the new parish center. Then, at Holy Angels in Avenue, he led the effort to renovate the church hall and school building. At Holy Angels, he founded a parish group of Sea Scouts.
The priest has also undertaken several notable adventures over the years, including a canoe trip in the summer of 1970 on the rivers of Canada’s upper Northwest Territories to the Arctic Circle, and he then retraced the route of the Gold Rush to Alaska from Canada’s Yukon Territory. .
The scout leaders present at Mgr. Brady’s funeral mass included Dick Stevick, a member of St. Mary of the Mills parish in Laurel who serves as the lay coordinator for the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Committee on Scouting, and Chris Murray, a member of St. Raphael in Rockville who serves as the Scout chair for this committee.
Stevick, who shared a copy of a booklet written by Mgr. Brady, âHigher Than Eagles,â who offered interfaith meditations for Scouts, noted that the priest was dedicated to Scouts and their chaplain celebrated Masses for them in small camps and at large Jamborees.
âNo matter where he was, he was connecting with young people,â Stevick said. “They would always remember him, and they always wanted to help him and serve with him on the altar.”
This point was echoed by Murray, who said: âHe was always there. Whenever you needed a priest, he was there.
Over the years, Mgr. Brady celebrated Masses for Boy Scouts at camps and retreats beside nearby lakes, rivers, forests and mountains, and he had the honor of serving as chaplain at National Jamborees.
âIt’s (Scouting) really a vocations program,â he said in an interview. âIt helps young people figure out what to do with their lives.
Each year, the Archdiocese of Washington Youth Ministry Office honors someone for outstanding service in Catholic Scouting by introducing them to Mgr. John Brady Award nominated for the priest.