By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Deacon Nicholas John Brown will be ordained to the priesthood of the Archdiocese of Louisville Saturday, May 25, at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth Street. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will celebrate the presbyteral ordination.
Deacon Brown’s path to the priesthood began while he was enrolled in Scripture classes at the Southern Baptist Seminary. He was 23 years old at the time and hadn’t been to Mass in nearly a decade.
Deacon Brown grew up at St. Barnabas Church and attended the parish school there. Following graduation from Waggener High School in 2000, Deacon Brown studied at Jefferson Community & Technical College.
A few years later, after taking some time away from his studies, Deacon Brown knew he wanted to go back to school and “out of the blue” developed an
interest in the person of Christ, he said in an interview May 14.
“I was taking intro classes at Southern Baptist Seminary and everything I remembered as a kid, being Catholic, flooded back to my mind,” he said. “It hit me real strong.”
Shortly afterward, he began attending Mass again at St. Barnabas and spending time with then-pastor Father Wayne Jenkins. As that year went on, Deacon Brown had the first inklings of his call to serve the church. And Father Jenkins encouraged him to talk to the vocations director.
“I didn’t know what kind of calling that would be,” Deacon Brown noted. “In giving myself over to do that, I remember feeling very confident. At the time I was ready to at least give it the opportunity it deserved.”
He entered a Catholic college seminary and continued his vocation discernment. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary at Marian University in Indianapolis, Ind., in 2009.
He then entered St. Meinrad School of Theology to continue his formation for priesthood.
After his first year at St. Meinrad, Deacon Brown experienced a turning point, one that he said solidified his decision to become a priest. It was his summer assignment with Father John R. Burke at Good Shepherd Church in the Portland neighborhood.
“That experience was a big determining factor that this was the ministry I wanted to be involved in. He (Father Burke) had a lot to do with that, and the Portland neighborhood” did too, he recalled.
Deacon Brown said he has learned a great deal from priests in the archdiocese throughout his formation.
“The priests in the presbyterate that I’ve gotten to know in the course of my life have been the most influential factors,” he said.
Specifically, Deacon Brown acknowledged Fathers J. Ronald Knott, Dale Cieslik, Matthew Hardesty, Paul Beach, Wayne Jenkins and Gary Davis.
In his priestly service, Deacon Brown is looking forward to continuing hospital and nursing home ministries, two ministries he’s come to appreciate. He also enjoys going to prisons and detention centers where he ministers to inmates.
Deacon Brown said he believes he has a special gift in ministering to the elderly and “those that feel like no one else is there.”
Deacon Brown has been assigned as associate pastor of St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., St. Ambrose Church in Cecilia, Ky., and St. Ignatius Church in White Mills, Ky.
His first Mass of Thanksgiving will be May 26 at St. Barnabas Church, 3042 Hikes Lane, at 11 a.m.