Father Brian Eckrich is the parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Sioux Falls. He was ordained to the priesthood June 2, 2017, and spent the first two years of his priesthood as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Watertown.
This month, we learn a bit more about this witty, thoughtful priest.
Q. Tell us a bit about your family and where you grew up.
A. I grew up in Aberdeen and graduated from Aberdeen Roncalli. I have a younger brother who’s married and lives in Sioux Falls.
Q. How did you get your call to the priesthood?
A. God called me to the priesthood through my involvement in the Pius XII Newman Center at SDSU and within that, FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students). Both of these taught me the importance of prayer, that is, spending time in quiet and stillness so that we may hear God speak to us.
Q. Is there a particular part of Catholicism that really fascinates you? (liturgy, history, spirituality, etc.)
A. I have an interest in dogmatic theology; in other terms, understanding the fundamental truths (doctrines and dogmas) of the faith.
Q. What’s your favorite part of being a priest?
A. Preaching and teaching.
Q. What’s the most challenging thing?
A. Not always being able to see the fruits of my labor. Sometimes it’s obvious to see how God works through me to affect the lives of others; sometimes it’s not so obvious.
Q. What did you do before the priesthood? (other jobs, college major, etc.)
A. Prior to seminary, I attended South Dakota State University and received my degree in chemistry. The plan was to get a doctorate and work in the industry.
Q. Who is your go-to saint? Why?
A. St. Athanasius. During the Arian heresy of the early Church, he was the only bishop to stand up and defend the truth of Christ’s divinity. Because of this, he was exiled several times, but he always defended the truth.
Q. What do you do in your spare time?
A. In the summer months, I love to ride my bicycle. I also enjoy camping and hiking, especially in the mountains.
Q. What is something most people don’t know about you?
A. Prior to seminary, I worked in professional audio and lighting production. I DJed dances, theater, live bands, almost any type of event you can think of. Even now as a priest, I still do a few events in my free time.
Q. If you could have supper with anyone from history (besides Jesus), who would it be and why?
A. J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), author of the Lord of the Rings. I want to have dinner with him at the Eagle and Child Pub (in Oxford, UK) and have a few tall, cold pints.