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A conversation with Father Gregory Crane

After being ordained into priesthood in June 2019, Father Gregory Crane was named Chaplain of Bishop Ryan Catholic School. Crane also teaches at Ryan and supports the Lions in their athletic endeavors.

The MDN spoke with Crane recently. He spoke on several different topics, including why he is one of the Lions’ biggest fans.

Some responses are edited for brevity and clarity.

MDN: What does it mean to represent the Bishop Ryan community?

GC: It’s an honor to be affiliated with Bishop Ryan. The school is filled with great families, great teachers and great students.

MDN: When did you develop a passion for sports?

GC: I’ve always enjoyed sports. I played baseball and football with my brothers in the backyard. In high school I ran cross country, skied cross country and ran track. Before I became a priest, I coached track at a school in Bismarck. Sports builds character, brings people together, and is a full mind-body activity. It’s just great.

MDN: Why do you enjoy teaching?

GC: I enjoy conveying truth to others and watching them get it and get excited about it. Teaching religion is particularly satisfying when I see the students discover the truth underlying the faith. I became way more active in the faith once I began to understand it better. I like helping others see how faith actually makes all of life make sense.

MDN: What have the students taught you?

GC: Many of them are super-virtuous, resilient, docile and mature. They have many virtues that I struggle with. I’m impressed how they pick each other up and work hard to overcome struggles.

MDN: What’s it like to watch your students compete?

GC: Inspiring and lots of fun. It’s always fun to watch someone compete after you’ve only seen them in the classroom. Many people have talents on the field or court that you never knew they had. It always makes me proud when they can play in a mentally tough way and a way that exemplifies good sportsmanship and virtuous life. Sports isn’t just about winning, though winning is great. It’s a real test of character.

MDN: Any favorite memories from this athletic season?

GC: Making it to state for football and wrestling.

MDN: Specifically, what was it like to watch the Lions make history and make the football state tournament?

GC: I was very proud of the guys for making it there and they were so much fun to watch all season. The final game, of course, didn’t turn out the way that we would have liked but even getting there was a huge moment for us. We’re looking forward to next season.

MDN: What lessons have learned from your time in North Dakota?

GC: It’s hard to put in just a few words. Many of the people I’ve met in North Dakota are very solid, honest people. Also, it’s a more agrarian society than the one in which I was raised. The connection to nature via the farms and the outdoor activities really helps to ground people, and I think it makes them more open to seeing God’s providence in their lives. I really like that.

MDN: How do you like to spend your spare time? Any hobbies?

GC: I hang out with the two other priests I live with. In the summers we especially enjoy having a drink around the fire in the backyard. I also enjoy Netflix and Amazon Prime. Just got done with Band of Brothers and Jack Ryan. I like listening to pretty much any kind of music. Right now it’s Mandolin Orange, Johnny Cash and classical music.

MDN: If your life was a movie, who would play your role?

GC: Russell Crowe. It’s a pretty epic life.

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.

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