POWAY, CA – Father Bradley David Easterbrooks, LTJG, USNR, a candidate for United States Military chaplaincy, was ordained a priest on Friday, June 24, 2022, at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Poway, CA. He hopes eventually to serve as an active-duty chaplain in the U.S. Navy with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS).
Coincidentally, the new priest’s father, Mr. David Easterbrooks, died of heart complications a few hours after the ordination. Father Easterbrooks, who had given his father his last communion on the Sunday of Corpus Christi, June 19, offered his first Mass for the repose of his soul.
Father Easterbrooks, 37, completed studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. His priestly ordination was celebrated at a 4:00 p.m. Mass through the laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop Robert W. McElroy. His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, concelebrated the ordination Mass.
In attendance were the new priest’s mother, Ms. Judith Easterbrooks, his brother, Mr. Mark Easterbrooks, an aunt, Ms. Ellen Greenhut, and other family members. His father, hospitalized, was unable to attend.
Father Easterbrooks is a 2007 graduate of Boston College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Political Science and History, and a 2012 graduate of Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law in California, where he earned a Juris Doctorate (J.D.). He also holds a Bachelor of Sacred Theology Degree (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
The new priest says he began to discern a priestly vocation while on active duty in the U.S. Navy, serving as an attorney in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). “I opened myself to the possibility of priesthood in prayer, and then God took it from there. Even though I was happy in my career as an attorney and Naval officer, God placed on my heart a desire to serve his Church as a priest and Naval chaplain. Since saying yes to the call, I have been filled with joy as I prepare to serve his people in uniform as a priest of Jesus Christ.”
Commenting on his priestly ordination, Father Easterbrooks said: “It is an untold blessing to be called to the priesthood. God invites priests to be missionaries of his love and mercy to the world. I am unworthy of the joy that has been given me in my new ministry as a priest of Jesus Christ, even if this joy comes at a time of much suffering for me. My earthly father opened me to faith in Christ. He passed away just moments after I became a spiritual father for Christ’s Church. It was a painful loss but I was surrounded by signs of God’s presence. As a priest, I am asked not only to preach the Gospel, but to live it. Pray for my perseverance.”
Father Easterbrooks celebrated his first Mass of Thanksgiving at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in San Diego. In his homily, he reflected on how “the sufferings of the members of Christ’s body are united to Christ’s own sufferings and therefore his resurrection, making us a communion in Christ under the mantle of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. Mary reveals the hearts of many – our hearts – to her Son, who raises them with him from the dead.”
Under the co-sponsorship agreement between the AMS and Father Easterbrooks’ home Diocese of San Diego, Father Easterbrooks will serve for three years in the Diocese of San Diego before returning to active duty in the Navy after completing a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) in dogmatic theology this upcoming academic year at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In his first assignment he will serve this summer as parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in El Cajon, CA.
In accordance with tradition, at Father Easterbrooks’ first Mass his mother received the maniturgium, the linen cloth used to wrap a newly ordained priest’s hands. The late Mr. Easterbrooks, a parishioner at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Worthington, OH, will be buried with the stole his son wore when he heard his first confession, hours after his father passed the threshold of this life.