Priests vs. Priests Diocesan basketball showdown honors beloved monsignor

Tom Ackerman
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

This fundraising event is Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m. in the McDowell Activity Center with donations going to winning diocese

BISMARCK — In the midst of the annual Priests & Deacons Summerfest, the University of Mary will be hosting the Monsignor Jeffrey Wald Memorial Slam Dunk for Our Schools on Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m. in the McDowell Activity Center (MAC).

The basketball game will feature the clergy of the Diocese of Bismarck going head-to-head with those of the Diocese of Fargo. Bismarck will be led by Father Jarad Wolf, pastor of St. Charles Catholic Church in Bowman, ND, and soon-to-be chaplain for Marauders Athletics, and Fargo by Fr. Jayson Miller, secretary to the bishop and director of liturgy.

The event – which promises to be a nail-biter – comes in the midst of a weekend bringing clergy together for a few days of fraternity, leisure, and formation. The faithful of both dioceses are invited to join them for an evening in that spirit … and in the chance to cheer their pastors on to victory.

The event is also an opportunity to honor Monsignor Jeffrey Wald, who was pastor of St. James Basilica in Jamestown and of parishes in the surrounding area when he died in October of 2020. A beloved priest to many in both the Bismarck and Fargo dioceses, Catholic education was among the motivating passions of his life and priesthood, as he spent enormous amounts of time and energy improving the Catholic schools of Devils Lake, Fargo, and Jamestown. In honor of his service, the winning diocese will receive all the proceeds from the event, with an additional $5,000 victor’s purse from the University of Mary, to be put toward supporting that diocese’s Catholic schools.

The university’s Crow’s Nest Campus Restaurant will be open the evening of the game, and those joining for the event are welcome to bring their families for dinner beforehand.

Admission to the game is a free will offering.

About the University of Mary: True to its motto “lumen vitae” — The Light of Life — the University of Mary offers education for the whole of life through cutting-edge professional programs and graduate programs animated by moral courage and leadership in chosen professions and service to the community. A private, co-educational Catholic institution, the University of Mary welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

A Christian, Catholic, Benedictine institution founded in 1959 by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, Mary offers nearly 60 bachelor’s, 15 master’s, and five doctoral programs — in business administration, education, nursing practice, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. The 19-sport Athletic Department adheres to its Greatness Through Virtue mission under the governance of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) conferences. With more than 3,800 students, Mary has locations in North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, and Rome, Italy, as well as vibrant online offerings.