[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]MENASHA — While Russ Brumm has been Catholic his whole life, he had what he considers a real conversion experience 15 years ago. “I used to hope there was a God and had some faith, but I was not convinced there was really a God,” said Brumm.
At the time he was experiencing issues at work and started attending eucharistic adoration during the 2 a.m. Saturday morning shift at the Twin Cities Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, located at St. Margaret Mary Church in Neenah. During his adoration hours, he would read some of the many books that were available there.
“I started reading a book by Wayne Weible (author of “Medjugorje: The Message”). Mary talked to him and said, ‘You have to go to Medjugorje,’ so he quit his job and did that. It was like Mary grabbed me by the ear and said, ‘Come this way.’ So now I try to say the rosary every day in thanksgiving for what happened to me at that time and it made me want to go to Mass as often as I could.”
Brumm is the coordinator of the midnight to 5 a.m. eucharistic adoration shift at the Twin Cities adoration chapel. “This is the only adoration chapel incorporating all five parishes in Neenah/Menasha — St. Margaret Mary, St. Gabriel, St. Patrick, St. John and St. Mary. When we’re in between finding people, I have to either find somebody or do the adoration on that shift myself,” Brumm noted.
For Brumm, his week starts out with 2 a.m. adoration on Monday mornings, then he gets a few hours sleep before heading off to his job as a research scientist at Kimberly-Clark Corp. He attends 6:30 p.m. Mass at Sacred Heart Parish in Appleton on Mondays. He is lector at 5:15 p.m. Mass at St. Margaret Mary in Neenah on Tuesdays. If his schedule permits, he goes to 6:30 p.m. Mass at St. Margaret Mary on Wednesdays and Thursdays and is back to the adoration chapel at 2 a.m. Friday mornings.
On Saturday mornings, he and his wife Kathy, a former Lutheran who joined the Catholic Church 38 years into their marriage, attend 8 a.m. Mass at St. Pius X in Appleton. Sunday morning Mass is at his home parish and he can usually be found either lectoring, ushering or distributing Communion.
Although he spends a fair amount of time at church each week, Brumm, who has three grown children, feels that his calling in life right now is youth evangelization.
“I’ve been coordinating some youth ministry events at St. Mary’s/St. John’s for a couple of years,” he said. “Last year, we held two lock-ins, made a trip to the Our Lady of Good Help Shrine and took some kids to Lifest.”
This year has featured one lock-in event with another one on the schedule, along with another trip to Lifest. “For four Sunday evenings in Lent, we had a different group of faith formation kids make a dinner for the Homeless Connections shelter in Appleton,” he said.
For 30 years, Brumm, a past grand Knight for the Menasha-Neenah KC council 1838, has been teaching religious education. He was on the St. Mary Parish Pastoral Council for more than 20 years and served as the social concerns chairperson. Other activities have included coordinating the monthly meal his parish provides for Homeless Connections; membership in the men’s prayer group called The Uncles of Philomena, who pray for their relatives; and pro-life activities such as 40 Days for Life and the Life Chain.
While Brumm manages to get a lot done in a week, the heart of everything for him is still attending Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. He makes it a point to dress up every time he goes to church or the adoration chapel. His reasoning: if you were going to meet the president or attend the Academy Awards, you would certainly dress up, why wouldn’t you dress up if you are going to be in the presence of Christ?
“There’s a book called ‘The Incredible Catholic Mass,’ written about 300 years ago,” said Brumm. He suggests that every Catholic read it. “If people understood what really happens in Mass, our churches would be packed. I would go to Mass every day if I could, I try whenever I can. I know that Jesus is really there and what he did for us defies our ability to even understand it.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”rounded”]Your Catholic Neighbor
Name: Russ Brumm
Parish: St. Mary, Menasha
Favorite saint: Mary and Philomena
Words to live by: “Help me, Lord. I’m trying.”[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]