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On the Receiving End of a Hail Mary

Faces of Fraternalism: Jake Wieneke

Jake Wieneke of Minnesota State Court 5829, who is active in his faith and has participated in multiple world-wide mission trips, recently graduated from South Dakota State University (SDSU) where he also played football. 

Jake radiates happiness, and it’s impossible to miss his enthusiasm about his Catholic faith. He’s always wanted to play professional football, and this spring, the 6-foot-4-inch wide receiver’s dream came true.

On Saturday, April 28, during the 2018 NFL draft, Jake received a call from the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver coach. “Do you want to be a Viking?” he asked Jake, who couldn’t say yes fast enough! He was excited for obvious reasons – getting the opportunity to play professional football for his hometown team in front of his family and friends – but also for less obvious reasons.

While in college at SDSU, Jake participated in and led bible studies, and his faith began to deepen. “How do I do more than say ‘All Glory to God?’ Anyone can say words,” he explained. And even though the call from the wide receiver coach was about football, Jake knew it was an opportunity for something more. “I can’t wait to use my platform,” he said of his new role as a wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings. But Jake’s more than a football player, and you can tell by how excited he is to speak about his faith.

He’s traveled around the world on mission trips, including on one to Africa with his mom, Agent Susan Wieneke. On one of the trips, he held a child on his lap, and the child began to drool. “This is Jesus,” Jake recalled. “Jesus is sitting in my lap. I should be grossed out but I’m not!” Jake also recalls the hospitality of one woman he encountered on a mission trip. She invited them into her home for dinner. As she cooked, she was caring for her two-year-old child and her ailing mother. Later that night, Jake and the other visitors learned it was a special day for her. “It was her birthday, and she gave so selflessly to us,” he said.

Jake has been involved with Pulse, a prayer and evangelism movement on mission to empower the Church and awaken culture to the reality of Jesus. The event was held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota, the home field of the Vikings.

After naming people from all stages in his life, Jake says there are “too many people to thank” for getting him where he is today. He’s spent time with well-known athletes and unknown suffering children, but he treats each one with respect, love and patience.

His Sundays may look different this year, and his passion for the Catholic faith might, too. You could say he’s on the receiving end of a Hail Mary.

Article by Katlyn Gerken.

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