November 3, 2023

2023 Vocations Awareness Supplement

New role brings full-circle moments in Father Brockmeier’s vocational story

Father James Brockmeier, chaplain to the Catholic students of Butler University in Indianapolis, speaks with Butler student Stephanie Gonzalez on Oct. 25 on Butler’s campus. (Submitted photo)

Father James Brockmeier, chaplain to the Catholic students of Butler University in Indianapolis, speaks with Butler student Stephanie Gonzalez on Oct. 25 on Butler’s campus. (Submitted photo)

By Natalie Hoefer

In an article published just weeks before his June 25, 2016, ordination, then-transitional Deacon James Brockmeier expressed to The Criterion his desire for his priestly vocation.

“I just think Christ is so much closer to our lives than people think sometimes,” he said in the article. “I want to help them see that closeness.”

Since being appointed as director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship this summer, Father Brockmeier is in a unique position to fulfill his desire.

“I get to focus on helping parishes in the archdiocese, and the archdiocese as a whole, reflect on our worship, and to help serve as we worship the Lord well,” he says.

“And I’m still blessed to be a parish priest as rector of the Cathedral [of

SS. Peter and Paul in Indianapolis] and a chaplain at Butler University,” Father Brockmeier adds.

In this article, he shares more about his new role—and how those duties bring him full circle in his vocational journey.

It’s that ‘encounter with Christ’

One of those full-circle moments involves the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC).

Father Brockmeier’s first experience with NCYC was in Atlanta, Ga., in 2005, when he was 14. Looking back, he calls the event “really great.”

His second NCYC experience had a much more profound impact on him as a transitional deacon less than a year away from his priestly ordination.

At that NCYC in 2015, he was honored to proclaim the Gospel to 26,000 youths during the conference’s closing Mass in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

“In the midst of this huge celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus is giving himself to us for the whole Church,” Father Brockmeier said in the 2016 article. “But he’s also calling each person to receive the Eucharist and be close to him.

“It was my prayer that [the NCYC participants] could feel that kind of closeness to the Church—that the Church is huge and they’re part of it.”

Now, as director of the Office of Worship, Father Brockmeier will play a much larger role for the closing NCYC liturgy in Lucas Oil Stadium on Nov. 18. (This year’s NCYC gathering takes place in Indianapolis on Nov. 16-18).

“I’ve been [at NCYC] as a participant, as a transitional deacon, and now [in this new role] I get to coordinate the closing Mass,” he notes.

“People come away from the whole conference as a beautiful experience.

“But many people point to worshipping at Mass with thousands of other youths—all worshipping the Lord, all in prayer together—as the highlight. It’s that experience of not being alone and the encounter with Christ that they have.

“I’m excited about facilitating that experience for so many people.”

Father Brockmeier will have a similar experience in January. For the first time, the Mass prior to the Indiana March for Life will take place in the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, due to the high number of participants expected from dioceses throughout the state.

But the largest Mass he will play a role in assisting will come during next year’s National Eucharistic Congress on July 17-21 in Indianapolis.

Since planning for the nationwide event has been going on for some time, Father Patrick Beidelman (Father Brockmeier’s predecessor in the Office of Worship) is coordinating its liturgies and eucharistic procession. Father Brockmeier says he is “really excited” about assisting him.

‘That’s a really great part of my week’

Another full-circle aspect in his new role hearkens back to a moment of awe in Sainte-Chapelle (“Holy Chapel”) in Paris, one stop on a pilgrimage Father Brockmeier took as a seminarian.

He was struck by the chapel’s stunning stained-glass windows—15 of them, each about 50 feet tall, portraying 1,113 scenes from the Bible.

“The theology of the space is that the light of Christ reaches us in the Scriptures,” then-transitional Deacon Brockmeier explained in the 2016 article before his ordination. “We sit in the midst of the word of God, and God’s light shines through these stories.

“It really communicated the beauty of the word of God. And it’s inspiring to look at the potential of the Church to create a place in the world where the light of the Gospel can shine. We’re called to create this beautiful thing in the world.”

Illuminating the Gospels through liturgy and worship is Father Brockmeier’s mission in his new role.

“The Office of Worship serves the parishes of the archdiocese in the way that we worship as the people of God, as the Church,” he explains.

That service comes in many forms. The office fields questions form parishes regarding the celebration of the Mass and other sacraments. It also coordinates preparations with parishes when the archbishop comes to celebrate Mass.

“I’m also more involved in the bigger liturgies that happen at the cathedral—ordinations, the chrism Mass, Rites of Election,” Father Brockmeier says. “There are a lot of moving parts in those Masses.”

He particularly enjoys educating Catholics about the liturgy.

“Sometimes I’ll be invited by parishes to come and give presentations about the Mass,” he said. “And I’m preparing right now for a day of formation for our permanent deacons about their role in the liturgy.”

Then there’s the blessing of his continued role as a parish priest. He’s rector of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, and also serves as chaplain to the Catholic students at Butler University in Indianapolis.

“My role there is very similar to a parish priest, but on a college campus,” Father Brockmeier explains.

Each Sunday, he celebrates Mass and enjoys dinner with the students, and offers Mass and adoration on Wednesdays.

“Every Wednesday, I also spend a couple hours in the afternoon out on campus making confessions available,” says Father Brockmeier. “I just have a bench in the middle of campus where I sit, and I send something out to all the Catholic students signed up on our text list and say, ‘Hey, I’m out in the middle of campus. I’m available to talk or hear confessions. Come stop by.’

“That’s a really great part of my week, for sure.”

‘The most important thing we do as Catholics’

Heading the Office of Worship in the midst of the National Eucharistic Revival is inspiring for Father Brockmeier, both in his new role and in his vocation as a priest.

“Especially at this time, we’re reflecting on the Eucharist and the celebration of the Eucharist being at the heart of the Christian life, the source and summit of the Christian life,” he says.

“I’ve been trying to keep that focus at the heart of my work, that our worship of God and the Eucharist is the most important thing that we do as Catholics, and all the little details that are a part of my work all go to serving our worship as the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.”

And they go toward fulfilling his vocational desire to “help people see the closeness” of Christ.

(For more information on a vocation to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, visit

Read more stories from our 2023 Vocations Awareness Supplement

Local site Links: