The Rev. Bryan Heyer, 43, is probably the most visible sports fan in Shiner this season.
The Rev. Bryan Heyer, 43, watches the game [ from the St. Paul sidelines during the Sacred Heart game on October 21, 2016 at Comanche Stadium ].
[ click photo to enlarge ]
photo by Bonnie Arbittier, Victoria Advocate
Heyer is the new priest at Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church in Shiner since July. He was previously at Palacios for six years.
"It's wonderful," Heyer said. "The fact that we have a pre-K to 12th-grade school and a public school is fantastic."
Heyer makes appearances at the home games for the St. Paul Cardinals and Shiner Comanches in support of the area youth.
Every Friday, he gives a special blessing at the Catholic school's lunchroom for all the sports teams and leads the prayer in the football locker room before they take the field.
Heyer's prayer includes the team's performance, sportsmanship, respect and safe travel for their family and loved ones, he said.
Friday he also prays with the Shiner public school students who choose to go to the church before the game.
"It's an additional blessing to be able to share in those moments," Heyer said.
Though he attends all games, he is able to be on the field for the St. Paul Cardinals.
"When I'm on the field and act like a raving lunatic, I'm a coach, but when I'm in the stands, I'm a raving lunatic," Heyer said.
He said he enjoys the opportunity because he gets to offer encouragement to the team.
"They are going to make mistakes," Heyer said. "However, it may be I can build them up so that they can play the game they love."
Pope Francis was his inspiration for taking the field because he said to meet the people where they are, Heyer said.
"Right now, their world is football," he said. "To meet them where they are, to walk in their door and experience invites them to realize God is with them."
He said Jesus Christ was another person to speak about meeting the people, and this aspect is important to him as a pastor.
"It just so happens that on Friday here, Christ would be at the football game," he said, laughing.
He said there is a certain amount of football fan in him at the game and another part that enjoys the sport again.
It is important people support the character-building that participating in high school sports instills, he said.
"We have to see it as a way to build them up as they discover who they are and what they will be," he said.
Heyer graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1991, where he played football for four years.
"I learned regardless of what you do in life, you will always be successful if you do it together," he said.
If a person believes and trusts their teammates, that is what it means to be a team, he said.
"The more they are united and don't get down on each other, the better they do," he said. "If they win this, regardless, they win no matter what the scoreboard says."
|Gabriella Canales is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. Contact her at 361-580-6588 or firstname.lastname@example.org|
Bonnie Arbittier is a photography intern for the Victoria Advocate.
Contact her at 361-574-1222 or email@example.com