From the Pulpit: Hand of God

Father Andrew Young, Risen Savior Catholic Parish

Ever since moving to Brandon to serve as the priest at Risen Savior Catholic Church, I have been inspired by one event that happens each year within our Brandon community, which includes our public school and many youths of BV – the Brandon Area Prayer Breakfast. This prayerful event takes place every August prior to the start of the school year. Three years ago, I attended for the very first time and was truly shocked that in this day and age we are still able to gather together as a community to worship God, especially while doing so in a public place. The morning begins early with breakfast followed by praise and worship music, prayers from different members of the community and then a keynote speaker. That all happens before 8 a.m.! The number of youths that attend is truly an inspiration. I know that they enjoy the free breakfast that they receive through donors in the community; however, after speaking to many of the youths who attended, breakfast is not the reason they attend. It is the coming together of our community, which includes not just believers of all different denominations, but also youths that want to find something to believe in.

This year’s keynote speaker was John Stiegelmeier, the South Dakota State Football National Championship Coach. I was anticipating listening to him tell us about all his accolades, the years of struggle forming a national championship team and then see the pride ooze through the way as he gave the account of that crowning moment winning in Frisco, Texas last year. To my surprise, none of that was mentioned. Nothing!  What he spoke about was his journey of faith. He spoke of a life without faith – empty. He then spoke of a life with faith and the different people in his life that encouraged, taught and walked with him to become a believer that not simply had faith, but lived it. In his faith journey, he also brought others along with him as he became the witness to them – coached them not just in football but in being disciples. As Coach spoke, you could have heard a pin drop as he captured everyone’s attention. He challenged those in attendance to remember the people in their own lives who showed them the path of faith, and also to look back at our own “bean fields” to see whom we have picked up along the way and guided to God. He asked us to see the hand of God at work in our lives.

For me, the most striking comment Coach made, though, was at the beginning of this talk. Again, he is a national championship coach, who has been invited all over the state of South Dakota to be hailed as a rock star, bringing the National Championship trophy home for the first time. He has spoken in nearly every town and high school across our state. He mentioned that every one of those schools he spoke at had reasons to be proud. Maybe it is because of the legacy of their athletic program, their nationally acclaimed marching band or remarkable performing arts. Every school has something to be proud of. He continued by saying that the one thing that Brandon Valley should be proud of, most proud of, was this event – the Brandon Area Prayer Breakfast. It is one morning of sharing a meal, gathering in prayer and committing to being the image and likeness of God who we were each created to be.

Mark your calendars for next August to attend – both youth and adults. Thank you again for the Brandon Area Prayer Breakfast Committee for their humble service to this community event, where we can see the hand of God truly at work! Go Lynx.



The Brandon Valley Journal


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