Seminarian Matthew Browne '11 Serves at Justice Scalia's Funeral Mass

Mar 01 2016
Matt Browne '11 serving as acolyte to the right of the cross-bearer.

Matt Browne ’11 serving as acolyte to the right of the cross-bearer.

Article by Matt Browne ’11:

Being a seminarian (a man in formation for the priesthood), I have had so many amazing and unforgettable opportunities. I recently had the opportunity serve the Funeral Mass for Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. It was an honor to have been able to assist at this liturgy that worthily honored the faith filled life of a good and holy man. I walked away from that liturgy feeling both proud to be an American and proud to be a Catholic. Unfortunately, we don’t have many opportunities to say that these days.

I would highly recommend that if you weren’t able to hear the homily given by Justice Scalia’s son, Fr. Paul Scalia, that you would find it online and either watch it or read the text to it. It was certainly one of the finest funeral homilies that I have ever heard. During his homily, Fr. Scalia emphasized his father’s life in Christ. While Fr. Scalia was speaking about his father and all of the different things that he had done in his life, he said, “God blessed him [Justice Scalia] with a desire to be the country’s good servant, because he was God’s first.”

That statement really struck home for me. Isn’t this exactly what the Gospel stresses over and over again? We must serve God first- through prayer and through being faithful to the Sacraments- before we can serve others. We ourselves must develop a deep and intimate relationship with the Lord in order to be good servants to others. God empowers us to live up to our full potential in life because he created us and knows us better than anyone else, and it’s only with him that anything possible.

Matt Browne '11 turning to process out of the basilica at the conclusion of the Mass of Christian Burial.

Matt Browne ’11 turning to process out of the basilica at the conclusion of the Mass of Christian Burial.

Kellenberg Memorial High School is a place that gives their students an atmosphere to grow and reach their full potential in life, and be good servants to the world. Having been a student there for six years, I cannot say that I would be where I am today without Kellenberg. I speak on behalf of the other five seminarians and the many religious out there who are graduates of Kellenberg when I say that Kellenberg gave us exactly the atmosphere that we needed in high school to discern and live out our vocations.

Service to God and to others is at the heart of any religious vocation. In most instances, the two are actually one; there is no divide between service to God and service to others. Kellenberg, very evidently from the number of vocations that have come from there and from the many faithful young men and women who have come from there, has done and continues to do an exceptional job at creating no divide between both service to God and service to others. As a student of Kellenberg one begins to see, love, and serve the world as God does.

Justice Antonin Scalia was a man who was unabashedly Catholic in the public sphere. He loved both his Church and his country in the way that the Gospel calls us to do so. Kellenberg has provided and continues to provide an atmosphere that brings the Gospel to its students in a way that empowers them to go out and be good servants to the world because they are God’s first.