Meet Father Drew - New PriestAug 18, 2017 08:15AM ● By Editor
By Brian Larsen from The Cook County News Herald - August 18, 2017
He’s been in the community for about one month, but already Father Drew (Braun) feels like he’s home.
“I’m not really a city guy. I like living in rural areas, and this is pretty rural,” he laughed as he said that.
He loves the natural beauty that surrounds him and the parishioners who have greeted him from St. John’s Catholic Church in Grand Marais and Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Grand Portage, “have all been very welcoming to me,” he said with a smile as he sat down to be interviewed.
Raised in Morris, Minnesota, Father Drew was home schooled the last four years of high school. After graduating high school, he attended three years of college at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in Winona, but decided to transfer to St. Thomas, where he completed his undergraduate work. “I consider myself a ‘Tommy,’” he said.
Then it was off to a four-year study at Saint Meinrad Seminary and school of theology, a Benedictine monastery located in rural southern Indiana, where Father Drew received his Master of Divinity degree.
Coming back home to Minnesota, Father Drew received an assignment to serve as parochial vicar of St. Joseph, Grand Rapids, and St. Augustine, Cohasset, for two years. His next job took him to pastor three churches on the Iron Range, St. Mary’s in Cook; Holy Cross in Orr; and St. Martin’s in Tower. When the chance came to come to Cook County, Father Drew was thrilled.
“I didn’t know the county very well, but I had come here a couple of times. Once in the winter, I came with a group of guys up the Gunflint Trail to ice fish,” he said.
Among his off duty pursuits, fishing and hunting are two things Father Drew enjoys. “I also like hockey. I used to play in an old timer’s league, and I like to watch hockey,” he added. “I also like to snowmobile. I have a snowmobile that I haven’t moved here yet.”
As far as fishing, Father Drew can’t wait to wet a line in one of the area’s tributaries that flow into Lake Superior.
“I have fished the streams near Duluth, but I haven’t fished the streams in Cook County yet,” he said.
That doesn’t mean he hasn’t gone fishing. Father Drew has taken his kayak out onto the big lake “every other day or so,” and caught plenty of fish.
Oh yeah, he also likes to exercise to stay in shape, but that’s gotten away from him the last six months or so, he said. “I really need to start working out again. Maybe when I’m more settled.”
One passion that hasn’t escaped him is the local cuisine. “I like to eat. I have found some great restaurants that serve fantastic food. I also like to cook, but I can’t say that I’m very good at it,” he said with a shrug, adding a fantasy of his is that someday he could volunteer at some of the local restaurants and learn to cook some of the favorite dishes he has dined on.
Be careful of what you wish for, he was warned. A few of those chefs will put you to work lickety-split if you really want a quick cooking lesson.
There are approximately 150 families between the two churches that Father Drew serves. With just three services under his belt, he is still learning people’s names and putting faces to those names. As far as church services, they will evolve as he gets to know his parishioners better. “What works one place doesn’t necessarily work somewhere else. That’s what I’m coming to learn,” he said.
Father Drew has three siblings. His sister Carissa lives in Maryland. Brother James resides in Ohio and brother Beau lives in Hibbing. On June 9, 2017, Beau became an ordained priest who now serves as a parochial vicar at Blessed Sacrament in Hibbing.