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‘I trusted that He would help me through it’

May 27, 2020

Editor’s note: This is an installment of an ongoing series featuring how Catholics of the Diocese of Ogdensburg are living out their faith. To suggest an individual to be featured in this series, please call the North Country Catholic at 315-393-2920 or email dfargo@rcdony.org.

By Jonathan Monfiletto
Contributing Writer

PLATTSBURGH – Brent Davison came back to his faith through a television program.

Raised Catholic and having received the sacraments of baptism and First Communion, Davison fell away from his faith after his parents divorced. He didn’t go to any church for 30 years.

After a few of his family members died, though, Davison started thinking about God and what happens to people when they die. Then, he started watching Roma Downey and Mark Burnett’s “The Bible” miniseries on the History channel in 2014.

“It really caught my interest. My wife and I began watching it,” Davison said of the 10 episodes that summarize the events of the Old Testament and New Testament. “At the birth of Christ, something opened up in me, and a huge amount of grace filled me. It gave me some sort of enlightenment that I can’t even explain that drew me closer to Jesus and wanted me to explore Him more and get to know Him more and bring my family closer to Him.”

Now, Davison and his family attend St. Peter’s Church in Plattsburgh, one of the faith sites of the newly combined Holy Cross Parish.

Since that moment he was grace watching the television series, Davison said his faith has been important to him, especially with his work as a zone commander with the New York State Police and as he, his lieutenant, and the 12 sergeants and 75 troopers he oversees continue their duties during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Obviously in law enforcement, we see a lot of negative things,” he added. “We see some of the bad sides of society, and it’s good to have faith to know there’s good out there. It’s not all just evil.”

Davison said he is responsible for the health and safety of the officers under him, so together they ensure they wear the proper PPE when performing their duties and interacting with the public.

“For the most part, we’ve been doing our job as we normally would, but we just do it with precautions,” he said.
And those officers who work under Davison are familiar with his strong faith because it comes up in conversation and because they have seen how his reversion to faith has transformed him.

“They’ve seen a change in me in the last five, six years that they know is most likely the result of me turning to God,” Davison said. “We don’t sit down and discuss it like I do with my church friends. … I don’t preach at work, but the guys are aware of how I feel. They recognize the change that’s occurred in me. When the time’s appropriate, I do discuss why there’s always hope and there’s good to everything.”

Davison also has the opportunity to shine God’s light of love with the people he comes across during his duties.
“We have to make sure we treat everybody with dignity,” he said. “Regardless of what they’ve done in their lives, they always have a chance to turn around and do good.”

Davison said his faith became “absolutely important” to him in 2018, when he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Initially, doctors determined the cancer was stage 4 but later revised their finding to stage 2.

“Even then, any time you hear the word cancer you think it’s going to be the end of your life,” Davison said. “Because of my faith, I never really was too fearful. I always trusted that Jesus would accompany me on my journey wherever that was going to be.”

That journey led to surgery and radiation, a process Davison described as “very difficult.” During radiation, a patient wears a mask that pins their head, neck and shoulder to a table so tightly they can’t open and close their eyelids.

Some patients receive Valium to get them through the experience, but Davison relied on his faith.

“When I went through my 10 minutes of radiation a day, I would try to focus on Jesus the whole time,” he said. “I just focused on the Lord and got through my treatment. I trusted that He would help me through it, and He’s done that.”

Aside from his participation in North Country Cursillo and the Deacon Formation Program, Davison said he prays multiple times throughout the day to strengthen his faith and continue to draw closer to God.

As a deacon candidate, he prays the Liturgy of the Hours morning and evening prayers. During the pandemic, the group of candidates has met with their instructors and people they’ve invited for evening prayer through Zoom.

With his Cursillo group, which Davison described as “all about faith sharing,” members would normally meet once a month in a larger venue and weekly in a group of six to 10 people. As a group, they discuss their piety, study and action.

“Every week, you share with your group how you’ve recognized God working throughout your life during that last week,” he said.

And during the pandemic, Davison believes God is working both in him and in the church.

“I know it’s a difficult time for everyone right now,” he said. “Especially as Catholics, we want to receive the sacraments, and we’re unable to do that right now. I’m hoping this whole thing makes our church stronger, that if anyone was taking the Eucharist for granted or the sacrament of reconciliation, they now realize how important those things are to have on a regular basis.”

For Davison and his fellow Catholics, he feels their faith in God will help them grow both as individuals and as a church, especially during this time.

“God will see us through,” he said. “He’s here with us. We don’t know why we’re going through this, but if we trust in Him we’ll come out the other side, and I’m hoping our church will be stronger for going through it and remaining faithful to Him throughout.”

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