FORT SMITH — Deacon Brad Brown, a new deacon and grandfather of Trinity Catholic School graduates, is taking on a new role in the Catholic school.
Brown, who currently ministers to St. Boniface Church, was recently assigned by Bishop Anthony B. Taylor as the new administrator and spiritual advisor of Trinity Catholic School, replacing Father John Antony, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church and Our Lady of the Ozarks in Winslow.
A lifelong resident of Fort Smith, Brown graduated from St. Boniface School and St. Anne Academy. His children attended Immaculate Conception School, and five of his grandchildren are Trinity Catholic School graduates. He has two more grandchildren who will begin attending Trinity next August.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the influence of my Catholic education,” Brown said. “I give glory and praise to God for the education I had, for my 37 years in sales with Kraft Foods and for the opportunity to become a deacon and to give back any way I can. I look forward to working with Zach (Edwards, principal) and the staff and students. Of course, it’s hard to follow a legend like Father John (Antony).”
His experience working with middle school-age children includes 10 years of volunteer work at Camp Subiaco, lifeguarding and transporting campers by minibus to different field locations. At St. Boniface, he has given talks to First Communion and confirmation students. He said that middle school students’ high energy and spirits are a joyful blessing of retirement.
Brown’s principal responsibility as administrator is serving as a liaison to Bishop Taylor.
“The role of administrator is similar to being pastor of a parish in that he’s the bishop’s representative to the school,” Father Antony said.
Brown’s role as spiritual advisor is similar to Father Antony’s former role as chaplain, except that he will not say Mass or hear confessions. He will schedule local priests to celebrate Mass each Wednesday and holy days and serve as deacon beside them on the altar. He looks forward to working with Trinity’s administration and faculty to help wherever he is needed and listening to the Spirit as he becomes more familiar with his new role.
Father Antony said he is excited about Trinity’s first deacon-administrator.
“While it’s unconventional and unusual that we don’t have a priest as administrator, it’s providential. Since Vatican II, the Church has tried to highlight different roles in the Church. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit to have an administrator who is a deacon since the permanent diaconate is a rank in the threefold rank of holy orders. Dc. Brad is not only a blessing to Trinity because he has a wealth of life experience and love of Catholic schools but because his presence highlights the importance of the diaconate. Priests will still be at Trinity regularly to celebrate Mass and hear confessions.”
“Bishop Taylor said he had the utmost confidence that I would do a great job at Trinity,” Brown said, “and I laughed, ‘Well, that makes one of us.’”
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