In Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel, we have a prominent stained glass window of Kateri Tekakwitha from the Mohawk and Algonquin tribes who lived near Auriesville, New York. On October 21, Blessed Kateri will become the first member of a North American tribe to be canonized and made an official saint in the Catholic Church. Bishop Paul Swain of Sioux Falls gave this exciting news to two Native American Deacons with St. Joseph’s connections. Deacon Bud Jetty (Spirit Lake tribe) is a member of our Board of Directors. Deacon Steve McLaughlin (Standing Rock Sioux) works with the SCJs on the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations ministering to the pastoral needs of the people there. Bishop Swain told the two excited men the diocese would sponsor them on a pilgrimage to Rome being organized by the Rapid City Diocese and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions so they can participate in this landmark ceremony.
I also heard that Fr. Tom Westhoven, SCJ, plans to be there as well. For many years, Fr. Tom was St. Joseph’s Director of Development. Now retired, but still very active, he has been asked to chaperone a pilgrimage for the same exciting event being organized on the East Coast. His group will leave October 19. For anyone who might be interested, information on that trip is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.