Remembering Father Paul T. Brouillette, and the Parable of the Mustard Seed

Father Paul T. Brouillette, vested to preach or preside at the altar, playing the guitar

The Rev. Paul T. Brouillette of Des Plaines

The visitation for Rev. Paul T. Brouillette, 68, will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at Oehler Funeral Home, Des Plaines Chapel, 2099 Miner St. (Northwest Highway/Route 14 at Rand Road), Des Plaines.

The funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church, 1072 Ridge Ave., Elk Grove Village. Please meet at the church.

Born April 12, 1944, in Chicago, he died Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, at University of Chicago. He was a graduate of Divine Word Mission Seminary and was assisting priest at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church.

There was so much more to Father Paul than can fit on a page, or even in a book. He was not only a priest, he was a musician. He was a runner. He was passionate for social justice. He was steadfast, patient, kind, and always ready to lend a hand.

Here Father Manny, Neal Setchell, and Father Paul (back to camera) in the pre-remodel “kitchen/office” discuss the coming remodel project.

Here Father Paul is discussing some of the arrangements and “to-dos” with church handyman David Taylor before the visit of the Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts-Schori in 2008. Fr. Paul looks horrified, it’s probably to do with some sort of repair project David had in mind.

Here, Father Paul assists at Father Manny’s installation, with the Bishop of Chicago presiding. It was a joyful day for all of us at St Nicholas.

But many of us will remember Father Paul’s preaching and musicianship (sometimes they were the same thing).

Remember The Mustard Seed

Remember The Mustard Seed by GinnyRED57, on Flickr

This is the bottle of mustard seeds that Father Manny placed on the altar Sunday (yesterday) – it had been used to illustrate one of Father Paul’s favorite scriptures to preach from, the Parable of the Mustard Seed. Manny was overcome with emotion as he explained its significance, and it was a deeply moving moment.

The wake for Father Paul will be tomorrow evening as noted in the obituary above. The funeral Mass will be Wednesday at 10am, with the Rt. Rev Jeffrey D Lee, Bishop of Chicago, presiding. There will be a number of special hymns and musical pieces that were either requested by Father Paul or his family; the choir will sing Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus,” which was a favorite of his.

Father Paul’s last time preaching and singing at St Nick’s was at the recent “Fourth of July” celebration at St Nicholas, when he sang a duet with choirmistress Mary Fletcher-Gomez. Memorably (and appropriately), they did “This Land Is Your Land,” with Fr. Paul (I think) playing his Pete Seeger model banjo.

He was a mighty priest, preacher, and singer. He will be greatly, deeply missed – he will be remembered in our prayers always.

And we will remember the mustard seed, as well.

Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Mark 4:26-34

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