Bishop Emeritus Tod Brown recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. To mark the occasion, his home parish, Holy Family in Orange, gathered to celebrate and honor this soft-spoken prelate who led the relatively young Diocese through some very turbulent times.
BISHOP EMERITUS TOD BROWN RECENTLY CELEBRATED THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD AND HIS HOME PARISH, HOLY FAMILY IN ORANGE, GATHERED TO CELEBRATE ON MAY 13. PHOTOS BY COLIN HORAN/DIOCESE OF ORANGE
In 1998, Bishop Brown had been serving the people of Boise, Idaho, for 10 years when St. Pope John Paul II appointed him to a new position as the third Bishop of the Diocese of Orange following the retirement of Bishop Norman McFarland.
Coming to Southern California from Idaho was a bit like returning home. Bishop Brown was raised in the “Steinbeck Country” in the San Francisco Bay area. As a young man, he worked for a time as a social worker among the poor. Although he had a good experience—his mother was also a social worker—he felt he could best serve the people of God as a priest. He was ordained on May 1, 1963.
Leadership is the word that often surfaces to describe this humble and generous man. “I have had the privilege of knowing Bishop Brown for 25 years,” said Fr. Sy Nguyen, pastor of Holy Family. “He is a good shepherd to the people and all the priests. He is courageous and cares for his flock, especially those suffering. We all knew he loved his priests and was a good father to them.”
Parishioners for more than 35 years, Janet and Joe Henry know Bishop Brown well and echo the love and respect shown by so many.
“I appreciated his leadership and guidance,” recalled Janet. “I liked how he was so proactive, forthcoming and under him, the Diocese flourished because of his leadership.”
Bishop Brown always saw himself as a parish priest, but his superiors also recognized that he could be both pastoral and an effective administrator. He held several important positions in the Diocese of Monterey before his episcopal appointment and transfer to Boise. “I am so blessed to have the call to the priesthood and 60 years of service,” said Bishop Brown. “I am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported me along the way.”
As part of the celebration, Bishop Brown officiated at Mass and gave a typically short but very poignant homily. He asked the congregation to “Imagine God lives in us, you and me. How powerful that is! And with the Holy Spirit, he will remain with us always. This is the message of Easter – God lives in us.”