Mass celebrates jubilees of four priests

Father Gary Padgett offered the homily at the annual Jubilee Mass for priests May 14 at the cathedral. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

Likening today’s priests to Christ’s first apostles, Father Gary T. Padgett offered encouragement to the Archdiocese of Louisville’s presbyterate at an annual Mass to recognize priest jubilees May 14.

Father Padgett is celebrating 25 years of priesthood this year and Father Benedict J.F. Brown is celebrating his golden jubilee. Father Robert Osborne is celebrating 70 years as a priest and Father James T. Mudd is marking his 60th anniversary in 2024.

They concelebrated the liturgy at the Cathedral of the Assumption with Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre. The seats were occupied primarily by their brother priests.

Archbishop Fabre welcomed the priests to the liturgy and recognized the jubilarians, whom, he said, “have blessed this archdiocese with service.”

Father Padgett offered the homily, focusing on the day’s reading from the Gospel of John, chapter 15, verses 9 to 17. In the Gospel, Matthias is chosen after the resurrection to join the other apostles as they begin to establish the early church.

Father Benedict Brown, celebrating 50 years of priesthood, concelebrated a special jubilee Mass May 14 at the Cathedral of the Assumption. He was joined, from left, by Father Robert Osborne, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre, Father Gary Padgett and Father James Mudd. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

“The reality was, the apostles were sent out to establish a church with no educational background, no instruction manual. … You wonder, without the gifts of the Holy Spirit, how the church ever got off the ground.”

“All they ever saw was failure,” he said, noting that many of them were eventually martyred. “They had to wonder what was going to become of their fledging church.”

“What an apt description for modern priesthood,” he said, drawing chuckles from the priests in attendance.

In today’s church, when something unusual comes up and the priest needs to respond, he often hears, “Didn’t they teach you in seminary, dot, dot, dot.”

The answer to that is: “No they did not.”

Priests applauded the jubilarians at the annual Jubilee Mass for priests May 14 at the Cathedral. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

Sometimes confusion rules the day, chaos reigns, he noted. 

“More often than not, we’re left to our own devices, more often than not, we do not feel up to the task,” he said.

“That’s what it was like to be an apostle; that’s what it is like to be a priest,” he said. It can be tempting to think someone else would do it better, he noted. “Every one of us is subject to failure; every one of us questions whether we did the right thing. … In our darkest moments, every one of us wonders, ‘Did I make a mistake … was I really supposed to be a priest?’ ”

Today’s Gospel, he said, provides the answer: “We were chosen,” said Father Padgett. “We did not choose.”

“After 25 years I can share with you something I think we all share together. We make mistakes, sometimes big ones, sometimes little ones; we have regrets … we question,” he added. “It’s OK that we’re not perfect. Sometimes we make the most colossal of blunders. It has nothing to do with our fitness for priesthood since it was God who chose us. Through mysteries only God understands, it bears fruit and it bears fruit abundantly.”

Following is a listing of the jubilarians and a sketch of their ministries:

25 Years

Father Gary Padgett

Father Gary Padgett, a Louisville native, was ordained on June 5, 1999, after attending St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind. He served initially as the associate pastor of Holy Spirit Church. He was assigned to Ascension Church in 2001, serving as pastor until 2014.  He currently serves as pastor of St. James and St. Brigid churches in the Highlands, where he has served since 2014. He has also served as a chaplain at Sacred Heart Academy and St. Xavier High School. 

50 Years

Father Benedict J.F. Brown

Father Benedict J.F. Brown, a native of Louisville, was ordained on May 25, 1974, after attending St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind. He served early on as director of the archdiocese’s Vocation Office and ministered as associate pastor at St. James Church in Elizabethtown, Ky., St. Leonard Church and St. Peter the Apostle Church. He served as a sacramental moderator for Holy Rosary Church in Springfield, Ky., and as pastor St. Thomas Church in Bardstown, Ky. 

Father Brown became a chaplain in the U.S. Navy in 1990 and began active duty in 1993. He served as a commander in the Chaplain Corps with active duty service attached to the U.S. Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and foreign combat deployments. He earned a Bronze Star Medal for service in the war in Iraq. He retired from the Navy in 2009. And then served as a chaplain for Veteran Affairs Hospitals in Lexington, Ky., and Dayton, Ohio.

He retired in 2016 and has since then served as administrator of St. Ambrose Church in Cecilia, Ky., and St. Ignatius Church in White Mills, Ky., and has the care of St. Clare Oratory. He also currently volunteers in a military honor guard.

60 Years

Father James T. Mudd

Father James T. Mudd, a Louisville native, was ordained on May 23, 1964. He attended St. Thomas Seminary and St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore. 

He began his ministry as a teacher at Trinity High School. He served as an associate pastor at St. Bernard Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Campbellsville, Ky., St. Margaret Mary Church, Christ the King Church and St. Gabriel Church. He served as a pastor of Our Lady of the Hills Church in Finley, Ky., Incarnation Church and Our Lady of Mercy Church in Hodgenville. He served as administrator of St. Ann Church in Howardstown, Ky. 

He also served as a spiritual director to divorced Catholics. Father Mudd retired in 2007 and served as a senior associate at St. Gabriel until 2015.

70 Years

Father Robert E. Osborne

Father Robert E. Osborne, a Louisville native, was ordained on May 8, 1954. He attended St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind. He taught at Trinity High School from 1957 to 1970 and served as an associate pastor of St. Benedict Church, St. Barnabas Church, the Cathedral of the Assumption, St. Martha Church and Our Lady of Lourdes Church. He served as pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church, St. Lawrence Church and Our Lady of Lourdes. He retired in 1998 and served for a time as a senior associate of St. Patrick Church. He resides at Nazareth Home.

Marnie McAllister
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Marnie McAllister
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