“I am grateful for all who have shared their lives with me on this journey.”
By Marj Oleske
On a family drive through the Black Hills near his hometown of Sturgis, five year old Bryan Sorensen was asked the usual question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I want to be a priest,” answered Bryan. That answer remained the same in the years to come. Following High School in Sturgis, he entered the seminary. Sorensen spent four years studying at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona, Minn., followed by four years of schooling at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. After earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy, Master of Divinity, and Master of Arts in Systematic Theology, Sorensen returned home for ordination.
On June 9, of 1988, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City, Bryan Sorensen became the Reverend Bryan Sorensen, or as many have come to know him, Father Bryan. He was ordained along with Fr. Gary Oreshoski, who currently serves the Presho-Murdo area.
It is now the 25th anniversary of Fr. Bryan’s ordination. After 25 years of ministry, Fr. Bryan reflected, “What I love is watching what God does in people’s lives. I am in a unique position to do that. Sharing the moments, praying with and for God’s people, teaching, providing spiritual direction and counseling mean so much to me.” One of the great joys of his priesthood has been hearing confessions. “I get to witness God’s work in each soul. That’s where you meet the saints,” he replied quietly.
His first station was Parochial Vicar for the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Chaplain to the Catholic Schools and Newman Center. He has served as Pastor in Bonesteel, Fairfax, and Ponca Creek; then as Pastor in Custer and Hill City. After a sabbatical, he became an Associate Pastor at St. Therese of the Little Flower, Rapid City, Chaplain for the Rapid City Regional Hospital, and Administrator at St. Therese Parish.
Sorensen then came to serve as Pastor of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Martin, and Our Lady of Victory, in Kadoka, in July of 2004.
“Throughout all my life I have always been attracted to Eucharistic Adoration. I was very involved with parish activities during my middle and high school years,” Fr. Bryan shared. “I had wonderful preachers as examples while growing up.”
Along with his duties of two parishes, Fr. Bryan also serves as Dean of the region from the Pine Ridge Reservation to Wall, Philip and Kadoka area. He communicates with area priests to keep them informed through the Diocese, and works for their welfare as well.
When he isn’t attending to his duties, or traveling down the highway between them, he enjoys hiking and traveling. He played paintball in his younger days. His laugh gives away his enthusiasm for the sport.
Fr. Bryan’s family includes his father, Merl Sorensen, who lives in Cody, Wyo., and his late mother, Thelma. His brothers, David and Kevin Sorensen, reside in Sheridan, Wyo., and his sister, Valerie Meirose, lives in Sturgis.
Fr. Bryan was honored for his anniversary on Sunday, June 9, in conjunction with the Year of Faith Event held at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Martin.
Fr. Bryan added “I love being a priest. I am grateful for all who have shared their lives with me on this journey. I have learned so much from each on how to walk with the Lord. I am truly blessed.”
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