Name: Father Ernie Braida
Years ordained: 45
Current assignment: Retired
How did you know you were being called to priesthood?
There is a long history of priests in the Braida family. We even have one archbishop! My grandmother would tell stories about some of them and from early on I thought I’d like to be a priest, too. When our parish started a Catholic school when I was in fifth grade, we had Sisters who would encourage the boys to think about being a priest. With the Sisters’ encouragement, I knew that I wanted to be a priest.
Aside from your ordination Mass, what was your most memorable Mass?
In the mid-1990s I visited my cousins in Italy and was able to offer Mass in the chapel adjacent to our family home. Over 40 members of my family crowded into that small chapel to participate in the Mass with me. I was able to do parts of the Mass in Italian and one of my cousins translated the homily since my Italian wasn’t that good. It was a joyous occasion. The furnishings in the chapel were all donated by the priests of our family and I really felt a close connection with them. After the Mass we all went to our family home and had brunch.
What is most rewarding about being a priest?
In 1971 I was assigned to the Religious Education Office of the Diocese of Davenport. It was an exciting time with all the changes happening in the church. Going to graduate school was a little challenging, but I enjoyed the work for the first year. During my second year I began to miss parish life and ministering to people on a regular basis. In July of 1973 I was assigned to Melcher and Bauer. Once I got back to parish work I knew that was what I wanted to do most in my priesthood.
What is most challenging about being a priest?
I think my greatest challenge was attending meetings and administration of the parish.
What is your favorite Scripture passage?
My favorite Scripture changes from time to time. Now that I am retired I can reflect on my priesthood and see the Lord’s hand present, even in the tough times. I like the passage from the Book of Lamentations, “The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; they are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.” Yes, this is so true.
What is your hobby?
I have several hobbies that keep me busy. For several years I have been transcribing data for GenWeb, a genealogical Web page. I am currently working on the 1925 census for Marion County, Iowa. This is a huge project but very valuable to genealogy.
When I was pastor of Sacred Heart in Melcher I made the remark from the altar “that I would learn to do all the things that were going on in the parish.” At the time we were replacing the electrical wiring in the rectory and doing some repair work in the basement. These are the things I had in mind when I made the remark. The ladies in the Mission Guild didn’t see it that way. When I joined them for lunch they gave me a needle and told me to learn to quilt! I couldn’t get out of it so I learned to quilt. This has been a very relaxing hobby and I still do it almost daily.
I also like to cook and bake so a couple of months ago I started baking pies and cakes for sale. Recently I added egg noodles to my products. The money I make in this project is given to charity.