I enjoyed breakfast and a good conversation with my brother-in-law Ed this morning. He was on a brief visit, driving home a camper for friends who toured the Black Hills. He rolled in last night and was off again this morning, but I sure appreciated his company and getting caught up on family.
I made the rounds in the classrooms. Richard had the first graders in Religious Education class. They were learning the sign of the cross. A few had the basics down, but for many it was a brand new concept. A lot of the children who come here, even if they have been baptized in some tradition, are mostly unchurched. Hopefully they will deepen their knowledge of God, teach me a thing or two about God’s ways and surpass us all in goodness and mercy.
Frank, our 6th – 8th grade Residential Coordinator and Jenny, our Student Coordinator, met with all the 7th and 8th graders to lay out some guidelines which will help our American Indian students down the road if they want to get accepted into our high school program. We want all of our students to keep their eyes on the future and realize the choices they make now can either contribute to their later success or become a roadblock. We plant the seeds now and hope they will take root.
I ate supper in the Dennis Home (1st-3rd grade girls), where half of the girls are brand new to St. Joseph’s. I was surrounded in the playroom by more dolls than I’ve seen in a long time; familiar play things that help the girls relax, have fun and help their adjustment to new surroundings.
Before becoming a houseparent, Peter was a chef, and he fixed up a wonderful stir fry from scratch. It’s a constant challenge to make sure kids are eating healthy and tonight they had a mixture of chicken, broccoli, celery, onions, green beans, cabbage, water chestnuts, mushrooms and rice on their plates. Not only did I hear no complaints, but many of the girls asked for seconds!
None of the new kids had ever been around a priest much and were very curious about my all black attire. They asked, “When are you going to change clothes?” (I do all the time – they just look the same!). Later when I ran into the group again by the Rec Center, in my gym trunks and tennis shoes, they had to check those out too.