…it is written in the law of the Lord: Every [first-born] male shall be called holy to the Lord… Luke 2:23
I had a brother who was a priest! Thomas Vincent Brody was the first born in our Irish Catholic family of 10 kids. Our parents, Tom Brody Sr. and Jennie McKee Brody, came to the United States from County Clare, met in Chicago and married. We kids all went to Catholic grammar school and Catholic high school. How my parents ever raised us 7 girls and 3 boys during the Depression had to be a miracle. They instilled in us the old Catholic traditions, and I have passed them on to my family as well.
My father never called us boys by our first names, always by our middle name. So my brother was called Vincent, Vin or just “V”. We as kids had trouble pronouncing his name. One of us found it much easier to just call him “B” – for what reason I’ll never know. Well, the nickname stuck. So the rest of his life that’s what we called him. He was Father Tom to everyone else, but to my kids he was Uncle B.
“B” was born January 22, 1910 and received his training for the priesthood at Quigley Preparatory Seminary and St Mary’s of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. There were 50 young men in his ordination class. WOW!!
I can remember going to visit my brother when he was studying at Mundelein. I was about 7 or 8 years old at the time. It was during the Depression when money and food were hard to come by. We didn’t own a car and so had to rely on friends, relatives and neighbors who had cars to take us out to visit my brother. And they were very strict at the Seminary; you could only visit once a month. Oh, how I remember that day he was ordained to the priesthood – April 7, 1934. How proud we all were of him!
He served as an assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church in Riverside, Illinois and St. Theodore’s in Chicago. During World War II, Father Tom spent nearly four years as a Naval Chaplain assigned to the 4th Marine Division. He was wounded on Tinian and received the Presidential Unit Citation and Purple Heart.
He returned to Illinois to be an assistant at St. Peter Canisius in Chicago, and spent 13 years at St. Athanasius in Evanston before becoming founding Pastor at St. Patricia’s in Hickory Hills.
What a great Irish personality he had. He was loved by everyone who came in contact with him. I surely looked up to him. What a fine example he was. I miss him terribly and loved him dearly.
About the image: Catholic chaplain Rev. Thomas V. Brody offering communion in vestments made from a captured Japanese parachute. The silk of the parachute was made into vestments.
-USMC- OFFICIAL U.S. MARINE CORPS PHOTO