The Rev. Brandon Paluch revels in role at St. Mary’s University 

Faith and Service
January 29, 2024

A prayer pal and more

by Nathaniel Miller 

Before he began to entertain thoughts about becoming a Marianist, the Rev. Brandon Paluch, S.M., was learning the foundations of ministry on the golf course.  

Starting in seventh grade and throughout high school, Paluch would work as a caddy at a local country club in the suburbs of Chicago, carrying bags and assisting golfers on the course as needed. During this time, and unbeknownst to him, he was forming the skills that would serve him in his role as Minister for Student Leadership Development at St. Mary’s University, and offering pastoral services to the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences as needed.  

The Rev. Brandon Paluch, S.M., stands in front of the Bell Tower.
The Rev. Brandon Paluch, S.M., was ordained as a priest in August 2020, and was first sent to St. Mary’s University’s neighbor, Holy Rosary Parish.

“I learned how to be a servant and I learned how to listen,” he said.  

Paluch is a member of the Society of Mary, a group of Catholic brothers, priests, sisters and lay people dedicated to emulating Mary as a model of faith. They’re commonly called Marianists. 

Every January, two of the order’s founders — Blessed William Joseph Chaminade and Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon, also known as Blessed Marie of the Conception — are recognized during Marianist Heritage Month. St. Mary’s also honors five members of the University’s community with Marianist Heritage Awards during this time, recognizing those who showcase faithfulness to the University’s Marianist heritage.  

Before educating in faith, Paluch’s first choice in his passion for service was to become a teacher.  

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and History from the University of Dayton in 2006, Paluch finally agreed to go on a retreat with the Marianist on campus to see if that pathway was for him.  

Already having an admiration of the Marianists on campus and seeing how their lives were not “cookie cutters” of what the priesthood could be, becoming a Marianist was always on his mind as he earned a master’s degree in Education while serving with the Loyola Marymount University Partners in a Catholic teacher service corps in Los Angeles. 

While teaching social studies and history to middle schoolers, Paluch said he knew it was time to finally decide his future. 

“During that time, I told myself, ‘You can only go on so many retreats and you can only read so many books before you have to take a risk and see whether this is where God is calling me,’” he said.  

Professing his first vows in 2012, Paluch was ordained as a priest in August 2020 and was sent to St. Mary’s University’s neighbor, Holy Rosary Parish, which included sacramental ministry at Marianist-sponsored locations. In 2021, he moved to a full-time role at St. Mary’s. 

The Rev. John Thompson, S.M., Ed.D., the University’s Vice President for Mission said Paluch formed Praying with the Marianists — an evening prayer held on campus six times a year; and Prayer Pals, through which the St. Mary’s community and alumni share prayer requests.

“I am so inspired by our students. In so many of them, I have seen goodness, kindness, hard work, a lack of entitlement, humility, sweetness and a love for God.” 

The Rev. Brandon Paluch, S.M.

Paluch also works with the Marianists Leadership Program — a faith-based leadership and service program that cultivates and nurtures family spirit — and uploads Sunday homilies to the podcast Filius Mariae, or “Son of Mary,” which launched during the coronavirus pandemic. 

He also participates in the Blessing of the Cars, an event at St. Mary’s where commuter students have their vehicles prayed over for safe travels.

Thompson praised Paluch’s work at St. Mary’s. 

“Father Brandon is one of the hardest workers I know,” Thompson said. “He gives his all for the mission, for the students and for the Marianists. Not only does he have a great attention to detail, but he also has a compassionate heart.” 

Paluch said, if given a choice, he would like to spend his entire career at St. Mary’s. He said the dedication to Catholic teachings and the student’s dedication to the Marianist mission make the campus a great place to work.  

“I am so inspired by our students,” he said. “In so many of them, I have seen goodness, kindness, hard work, a lack of entitlement, humility, sweetness and a love for God.” 

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