First Mass preaching as a transitional deacon: 10 a.m. Mass Sunday, May 8, at Immaculate Conception Parish in Union
Family: Parents, Michael and Maureen; siblings, Darrel, Anna and Rachel
Home parish: Immaculate Conception in Union
Education: Homeschool, East Central College, Missouri S&T, Kenrick-Glennon Pre-Theology Program, bachelor’s in philosophy
The call: Homeschooled from first grade through high school, Braun’s vocation story started at an early age. “I remember being 7 or 8 years old, serving daily Mass for the first time,” he recalled. “I remember being enamored by the liturgy. I loved being up there serving, and the priest there was very holy and prayerful.”
Witnessing great examples of the priesthood throughout his childhood, Braun said the desire for the priesthood grew. But as high school came, so too came a shift in discerning marriage and family.
A student of engineering at Missouri S&T, he began to realize that he was attempting to fulfill his happiness, but within his own means. “It got to the point where I realized I can’t do that,” he said. “I felt an invitation at that time, not necessarily to the seminary, but back to God.” He began to frequent the sacraments more often.
While he inquired with the Vocations Office about the seminary application process, he began praying that God would give him a concrete sign of what to do. While attending Mass at his home parish, Immaculate Conception in Union, the visiting priest said at the end of Mass: “If anyone is looking for a sign they should enter seminary, this is it,” Braun recalled. “My jaw dropped and my face turned red.”
Since entering the seminary, he’s discovered that it’s not just one big sign from God that’s supposed to convince him toward the priesthood. “It’s had to be a continual commitment,” he said “It’s had to be something I renew constantly. The challenges change, the difficulties that weren’t there before arise, and it’s only there where I realize I can’t handle all these things. I realize I have to rely on God.”