Ottawa prays for Marquette student-athlete

OTTAWA — “Totally unexpected, and nice.”

That’s how Kristal LeRette describes a prayer service that was organized last Wednesday by the Marquette High School football and basketball teammates of her son Bryan, who was undergoing heart surgery that day.

“Bryan is recovering just miraculously,” Bryan’s mother told The Catholic Post.

Bryan, 16, a Marquette student athlete who will start his junior year this fall, has Wolfe-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a congenital condition that causes abnormal heart rhythm. He has also had stomach problems that left him unable to eat.

To treat his medical conditions, Bryan and his family went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., last week. The Catholic parishes and schools of Ottawa responded with an outpouring of prayer and support.

Before the LeRettes left for Rochester, Bryan got a visit from the captains of Marquette’s football and basketball teams, who presented him with an MHS quilt and team letter. His coach, Jim Eustice, also visited.

“That was just really impressive to Bryan, to have Coach come by,” said Kristal LeRette.

While the LeRettes were in Minnesota, about 20 of Bryan’s teammates and friends, led by Alex Kuhn, who will be a senior this fall, organized a rosary prayer service in the Grotto at the high school on the day of Bryan’s surgery. They asked Father Philip Halfacre, pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Ottawa and theology teacher at Marquette, to lead the prayer.

“They did everything on their own. That is really what is so impressive to us,” said Mrs. LeRette. “My husband (Shawn) and I had no idea they were doing this, but Bryan found out about it and he was just elated.

“That just touched my heart. My husband and I were just in tears over this,” she said.

“When (Bryan) came home from the hospital, he had an entourage of eight kids waiting there for him,” she added.

Besides the rosary at the Grotto, the staff and families of Marquette High School, St. Patrick’s School, where Mrs. LeRette is principal, and St. Columba’s School, where she was once a teacher and where Bryan was a student, came together to form a giant “prayer circle” for Bryan.

“It was the whole Catholic community of Ottawa,” she said. “We couldn’t have asked for any more.”

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