Center Dedicated to Former Pastor
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 26, 2022
SOUTH BELOIT—Rare to any parish, it was a unanimous decision to dedicate the new St. Peter Pastoral Center to its former pastor, the late Msgr. Thomas Brady who served the parish from November 1989 to July 2004.
“The question of the name came up at the dining room table in the parish center,” recalls parishioner Jeanne Pulkrabek. “I happened to be there and suggested we name the building Brady Hall. Everyone at the table was in agreement, (and) after listening to Father Brady stories, Father (Romeo) Pavino was on board.”
The idea went to the Parish Council, which voted unanimously to call the former school St. Peter Pastoral Center and dedicate it to Msgr. Brady.
The decision was to have “a plaque in the entry of the building in honor of him,” Pulkrabek says, adding, “I feel this is what Msgr. Brady would have liked. Nothing flashy.“
The plaque was up on the wall with prints of a few of Msgr. Brady’s paintings as a ribbon was cut and the former school blessed in his honor after the 7:30 a.m. Mass on May 22. An open house then ran from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
Current pastor Father Pavino, along with Pulkrabek and parishioner Junie Pospischil, presented a smaller version of the parish center plaque to four of Msgr. Brady’s nieces and nephews after the 11 a.m. Mass now held at the new parish center to make Sunday Mass more accessible to parishioners.
The Brady siblings came to the parish from as far away as Missouri (Deborah Venable), and as close as their hometown of Harvard (David Brady and Laurie Wilkening) and nearby Poplar Grove (Colleen Calhoun). They thought the event was “wonderful,” and happily reminisced about “Msgr. Tom” who had inspired them all. 
“Today summed it up perfectly,” they agreed, pointing in particular to the Gospel and Father Pavino’s homily, which was about love. They recalled their priest uncle emphasizing love as “the most important thing,” and added that two other qualities their father learned from his brother were also mentioned: “humility and wisdom.”
They laughed together about Msgr. Brady’s sense of humor, love of all things Ireland and his talent for slipping into an Irish brogue, especially when telling Irish jokes.
“He was a hoot,” they all concluded.
Over several weeks in parish bulletins, St. Peter parishioners had shared their memories of Msgr. Brady.
Parish deacons Ignacio Badillo and Steven Pulkrabek credited Msgr. Brady’s influence and encouragement of their calls to the permanent diaconate. Deacon Badillo noted Msgr. Brady’s “unforgettable advice … ‘learn to listen with your heart in order to understand the unconditional love of Jesus.’” Deacon Pulkrabek noted Msgr. Brady’s “welcoming, compassionate, encouraging and listening heart. He conveyed the need to develop a personal relation(ship) with Christ.”
Clara Fragozo recalled how Msgr. Brady welcomed her with open arms when she first met him and that she misses his “tender hug” and smile.
Carol Muehlenbein shared how Msgr. Brady came to anoint her mother who had dementia, talking to her in an Irish brogue as he anointed her. “Mom had the biggest smile on her face, and you could feel peace entering her,” she said.
Mike Witte enjoyed his pastor’s affection for trains and called Msgr. Brady “a wonderful and holy priest and a dear friend. He was a humble man, even with all of his accomplishments … he was the best!”
Msgr. Brady’s “love for God was evident as he quietly set the example of assisting God in His greatest work, the salvation of souls,” said Pauline Wergin.
Kate Elliot recalled how the Holy Spirit was evident in Msgr. Brady’s work with the Diocesan Charismatic Renewal and said, “His favorite saying was, ‘If God is God what else matters?’ He certainly lived that out in his life and helped many others, myself included, to make God the source and center of our own lives and to let the power of the Holy Spirit shine through us.”
The dedication marked a new chapter for this parish, whose school closed in 2020 after 57 years.
“St. Peter School formed and educated the children of our parish and will always be fondly remembered along with the principals and teachers that taught them,” says a note from a past parish bulletin, which added, “The Pastoral Center will be made available for parishioners for meetings and to gather and learn as a parish family.”
In the dedication booklet, Father Pavino noted, “This will be a center of our parish activities and place where we may come to know one another and give witness to our faith in Christ. Here the young will learn of their Catholic faith and adults will deepen their commitment to live as Christ has taught us. 
“We pray that the Word of God may always echo from its walls.”
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