David T. Brzoska is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Brzoska of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry at the Pennsylvania State University. His home parish is St. Aloysius in Hickory, North Carolina. He received a master of arts degree from Saint Vincent Seminary, with highest honors, in 1999 and the Judge Bernard F. Scherer Award. In 2000 he earned the master of divinity degree, with highest honors. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 3, 2000 by Bishop William G. Curlin. He is parochial vicar at St. Mark Church in Huntersville.
This story is from the April 21, 2000 Catholic News and Herald of the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Reprinted with permission.
By Joann S. Keane
Rev. Mr. Dave Brzoska sees the church as a place for people to share their faith, find support and encounter a sense of life in their faith. It wasn’t all that long ago when he, too, found himself looking for those very elements.
Brzoska grew up outside Philadelphia, where, he says, Mass was much like a production line. Move ‘em in, fill the parish, get ready for another Mass. It was a delivery of the sacraments, but there wasn’t much life to it. He drifted away.
When Brzoska’s job transferred him to Newton, a small hamlet near Hickory a dozen years back, he got reacquainted with his faith. He found St. Aloysius in Hickory. More significantly, he discovered the peaceful prayerful manner of then-pastor Father Wilbur Thomas. “It gave me a new perspective on the Mass,” says Brzoska. “Going to church on Sunday was something I really started looking forward to.”
While enjoying the success of his job, it was at the expense of stress and pressure, and little life outside the work environment. He became involved in parish ministries, and found relief and satisfaction in his volunteer efforts.
The idea of priesthood and a future of service drifted through his mind. The thought of priesthood was dismissed about as quickly as it popped into his head. Dismissed, but not forgotten. Time passed and he broached the idea with Father Thomas.
“I had no clue about what would be involved,” says Brzoska. Father Thomas listened, encouraged his vocation and connected him with then-Director of Vocations, Father Frank O’Rourke. “And the process went from there, and here I am, six years later, “ he says.
In those intermediary years, he felt at times as thought he’d been plucked from his friends and family, and went through a natural progression of ‘what am I doing here.’ But seminary is discernment, and a time of learning more about yourself. It’s a time of, “trying to come to grips with yourself and recognizing gifts, talents and weaknesses. And learning to improve them,” says Brzoska. Further, he says, “it is a time of becoming aware of how God works in yourself and others.”
This past year has been one of practical experience, with his assignment to assist a nearby parish on weekends. As a transitional deacon, Rev. Mr. Brzoska can celebrate sacraments such as matrimony and baptisms. In St. Bernard parish, he also preaches at a couple of the weekend Masses. It’s invaluable, he says, “Learning to preach and how to effectively express Scripture and the church’s teachings for the people to make it practical in their lives.”
Today, Rev. Mr. Brzoska is much more comfortable with himself and the growth of his own spirituality. “More specifically, in relationships with others . . . and taking an active role in bringing expression to God’s presence in those relationships.”
It wasn’t all that long ago when he set out on a journey for those very elements.