Fr. Michael Briese is pastor at St. Mary Parish in a rural part of Charles County, Maryland. The parish has about 220 families. Fr. Briese went to the parish in an effort to rebuild St. Mary Parish as many families had left and were going to different Catholic parishes or, sadly, some stopped attending Mass. St. Mary’s has seen its Mass attendance steadily increase: from about 150 to now about 190 – with over 200 attendees on some Sundays. In just three months here there have been 10 Baptisms with another 4 now scheduled.
In Fr. Briese’s efforts to rebuild St Mary Parish, he realized that no priest can rebuild a parish by himself–it takes the parishioners. On his first Sunday at all Masses, he reminded parishioners that through Baptism and Confirmation they have a share in the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ, and that we are called by Christ to live out our vibrant faith by putting our faith into action–through our words and deeds. The parishioners’ responses have been great. Though early, they have many planned activities and new people joining ministries. Fr. Briese shares this with you to let you know that building up the parish, the Church is a paramount concern for him. What he brings to the table is a genuine concern for building up, renewing, and strengthening our Church.