By Barb Arland-Fye
DAVENPORT — Eighty-six-year-old Father Maynard Brothersen describes himself as a “priest jock” who loves to follow Assumption High School sports. He’s been the school’s unofficial chaplain for years and presides at Mass on Fridays and before varsity football and basketball games.
Because of his dedication and the approaching 62nd anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood (March 19, Feast of St. Joseph), students, faculty and staff honored Fr. Brothersen at last week’s State Pep Assembly for the AHS Boy’s Basketball team. The boys went on to win third place at the Iowa High School Athletic Association 2010 State Class 3A Basketball Tournament.
“We wanted to thank him for 62 years of priesthood, but specifically because he’s watched Assumption as it was built and has grown,” said Dan Huber, a teacher and spiritual director at Assumption. Fr. Brothersen follows nearly every sport at the high school and says Mass in the school chapel on Friday mornings. “Without being the official chaplain, he’s serving as chaplain. We wanted to publicly say thank you for that,” Huber said.
Fr. Brothersen is on the “injured reserve list” at the present time because of a compression fracture and appeared at the rally with a walker, but still cheered on the team with exuberance.
“I go to all home games — boys and girls basketball — all football, and soccer games. I’m a priest jock. It’s something to do,” he said.
He hopes to make a good recovery and return to his ministry at Assumption. But, he jokes: “I’m like an old John Deere combine — the outside looks good, but all the parts are worn out.”
It’s the heart that counts.
“The kids just love him,” said Beth Blough, whose son, John, is a senior on the team.