Welcome! I'm Brandon, and I am the Director of Catholic Campus Ministry here at the Blessed John Newman Univesity Parish at Arkansas State University.
My faith has made me who I am and I'm happy to share my journey!
I was born in 1972 in Little Rock, AR, at St. Vincent’s Catholic Hospital to my Assembly of God parents.
I was in store for a faith ride that very few Catholic have the opportunity to experience. With parent’s separating at 3 years of age, I was being groomed by God for a wonderful childhood experience that would later give me wisdom and insights for the gifts God had given me.
Growing up, I attended Catholic School during the day and went to Mass on Sunday, but on Sunday night I attended a charismatic Catholic prayer group with my parents. On Wednesday nights, I also attended Royal Rangers at the Assembly of God Church.
Like most Catholic children I learned the Catholic prayers, the liturgical prayers, the rosary etc. I learned how hard core the nuns were and even ran home from school one day with the Principal, Sister Gervase, hot on my heals with the yardstick. I learned about Advent, Mary, Lent, and days of fasting from meat--which was exceptionally hard since my stepdad owned a meat market.
I noticed that something was different about my childhood when I was working on my Bible award for Royal Rangers at the Assembly of God church. I had to do reports on an Old Testament book, New Testament book, and one of my choice. I decided to do a report on Job, Acts, and Wisdom. I liked Acts because of the power of the Holy Spirit, Job because God zapped 1000 cows and conversed with Satan, and Wisdom because it had really cool sayings.
Little did I know that Wisdom wasn’t in the Leaders Bibles and they had to borrow a Catholic Bible and read the book to know if the report was correct or not. This is when I noticed that God had given me a gift to be able to minister in a way that most did not have the opportunity to.
I grew up with the best of both worlds. I grew to love the Traditions of the Catholic Faith through Catholic School and The Sacraments. Things like the Crucifix in the Church, the Stations of the Cross, the light on the confessional, were familiar and embedded in me. While on Sunday nights I received the wisdom of the use of the gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit and the church, while attending the Catholic charismatic prayer group. While on Wednesday nights, I continued to learn leadership, and the personal and relational side of my faith. Through Royal Rangers and Church Camp I learned how to pray for each other by building strong relationships.
By High School, I realized that something was missing in our Catholic Faith. Youth Ministry in the Catholic Church was no more than raising money, serving at parish events, and having fun. I quickly realized that if there was to be a change it had to start with me using the gifts that God had given me. I got a group of friends together and we asked my mother and a friend to start a Youth Group that focused on building relationships and prayer together. We wanted to experience our faith not just learn about it.
Life changed after finding my lifelong friend and wife. She was a cradle Catholic from the North that had no knowledge of the Charismatic Renewal or what life was like living as a Catholic in the Bible Belt. After a few months of marriage I was asked to be the Youth Directors of the City Wide Youth Program and Direct the Charismatic Conference Youth Conference. I directed the Conference for 10 years and ministered to 1000’s of youth during my time.
After buying a house and moving to another city I was asked to be Volunteer Youth Directors at the new church the first weekend we attended Mass. This was the beginning of God calling me out of the corporate world and to use my gifts in the Church to grow the seeds that he had planted early in my life.
Our priest sent me to The Theology Institute offered by our Diocese to better understand our faith teachings. In 1994, I began my Full Time Ministry Career in Hot Springs attending all the training I could find and building a leadership team to minister to the needs of the parish youth.
I began serving on the Diocesan Adult Advisory Council for the Diocese of Little Rock and began the multimedia committee. I presented workshops at the Diocesan Convention, Region X Convention, and facilitated Leadership retreats and workshops for parishes in the state.