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​Father Len Brown praised for devotion to the mission of Christ, life of service to God’s people

October 06, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press, Vocations, Breaking News

Father Len Brown praised for devotion to the mission of Christ, life of service to God’s people

“As opposed to wishing or simply desiring, hoping transforms and configures one’s life, and that was the obvious case in Father Len’s life,” Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, emphasized at the funeral Mass for Father Len Brown, CMF, held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on September 20.

The Claretian priest died September 10 from a heart condition impacted by COVID-19. His ministry at Mexican American Catholic College, as its vice president and director of Diaconal Studies, in Campus Ministry, and Formation; his instrumental collaboration helping to lead the archdiocesan diaconate program – one of the largest in the country – in addition to the multiple responsibilities he undertook throughout his religious life, including his service as provincial superior, pastor, member of the General Council on the Economy, Prefect of Spirituality on the Provincial Council, his roles in college Campus Ministry and as a teacher, among others, are testament to his relentless hope.

“He was -- and remains -- a missionary of hope. Eternal life is not a wish; it is our firmly rooted hope,” the archbishop explained. “It is not a self-centered longing, but one that constantly strives to be self-less for the sake of the life that the Holy Spirit gives to the world.” He then quoted from Philippians: “Christ died for our sins, calling us to join in his sacrifice, dying to self for the greater glory of God through the service of His people.”

The San Antonio prelate told listeners that they were celebrating their brother Len’s life in the same hope that he witnessed during his life, and particularly throughout his decades of ministry. “His legacy is a testament to the depths of our existence. There is something in us that does not conform to the mortal, temporary and limited condition that the evanescent present provides us,” Archbishop Gustavo said. “As he loved, he did not build for death; as he dreamt or planned for the future, he did not build for death. Death surprised him along the way and he had to hand over his unfinished achievements, because they were meant to continue communicating the life that we hope he now enjoys.”

The Missionary of the Holy Spirit expressed his condolences to Father Len’s sisters, Darlene Lawson and Glirma Guerra, and brothers Leigh and Frank Harper Brown, as well as his brother Claretians, who presently suffer his loss, but he stressed that the Church is here with them to offer the consolation of the Holy Spirit.

“A deep hope beats inside us to live forever; although, at times, it remains camouflaged behind a tremendous urge to hurry and enjoy the present,” the archbishop acknowledged. “Today we bring in our souls the anxiety and pain of those who stumble before the wall of death, but which cannot extinguish the hope in a Life that is written with capital letters and whose longing we experience in many ways.”

Pope Francis has said: “We can and must hope, because God is faithful. He did not abandon us; he visited us and entered into our situations of pain, anguish and death. His light dispelled the darkness of the tomb: today he wants that light to penetrate even to the darkest corners of our lives. Dear sister, dear brother, even if in your heart you have buried hope, do not give up: God is greater. Darkness and death do not have the last word. Be strong, for with God nothing is lost!”

“Death does not have the last word because God is God,” Archbishop Gustavo exclaimed. “Father Len dedicated his life to the Living God, so we can only begin to imagine for him a life that is far beyond our imagination and expectations.”

The archbishop concluded by telling attendees that together with our brother (Father Len), we will dwell in the house of the Lord for endless days. “May God give him eternal life and give us the strength to never stop nourishing ourselves with the food that leads to eternity,” he closed. “And may the Mother of God -- through whom Len followed the hope of eternal life to the end -- also lead us to her Son.”

Father Brown was interred at Cordi-Marian Resurrection Cemetery in a private ceremony attended by family members.