By now, you have probably heard that with Fr. Steve’s election to be our new Provincial, I have been asked to oversee operations until a more permanent replacement can be found. I have been in touch with you before, when Fr. Steve has been away on donor luncheons. We may also have crossed paths at St. Joseph’s powwow celebrations over the last four years. I look forward to sharing what is happening here on campus at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
This past Thursday was Independence Day and we had lots of visitors in our South Dakota town, camping and fishing out on the Missouri River. Many also stopped by to visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, and our new addition, the Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi Alumni & Historical Center. A few alumni stopped by as well.
The big event of the evening was the fireworks display over the river. Fr. Jose and I had intended to watch them from our residence here on campus, since we have a beautiful view of the river, but the bugs and mosquitoes had other ideas! We went up to the rest area out on Interstate 90, which overlooks Chamberlain, and sat in the car to avoid being eaten alive. While there were some beautiful explosions during the 20-minute program, the locals also were putting on a great show before and after.
Every year, the Race on the River is part of the 4th of July activities in Chamberlain, and it usually starts here on campus and then heads into town. We had to re-configure the route this year since much of the campus is undergoing some repair and fix-ups, which required our roads being torn up at this time. As a result, there was no way to make a complete circle around campus. We hope to have everything up and running by the start of the school year on August 12.
The Lakota students still on campus for our summer program went to Mitchell, South Dakota, last week for an outing and decided to stay for the double feature at the local drive-in theater. When trying to enjoy such a treat, we pay for it by being at the end of the line for the Central Time Zone. The Mountain Time Zone is about a hundred miles west, so our evenings tend to stay light for a long time. Sunset comes around 10 PM and the movie had to wait until the skies darkened completely. They saw Monsters’ University and Despicable Me 2; but they did not get home until nearly 3:00 AM since Mitchell is over an hour away. Needless to say, there was a sleep-in the next day.
While I was home for a brief vacation about two weeks ago, I had the chance to concelebrate Mass at the parish nearest to where my mother resides in the San Antonio area. The people were very friendly and asked where my parish was, but when I told them I was from South Dakota and served as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Indian School , several said ‘I’ve been there’ and/or ‘I contribute to your school.’
They are excited to meet someone in the flesh from St. Joseph’s, and I am happy to interact with some of our benefactors and answer any questions they may have and assure them that our students and staff our very grateful for their generosity and that we keep you all in our prayers.
Speaking of prayers, a benefactor from Oklahoma recently sent in a request that we keep the people of Norman in our prayers due to the destruction from the tornadoes that went through the area recently. I feel it is important to pass along since, as I was driving down and back from Texas, I went through the Norman area on Interstate 35 and you could still see the effects of the storm. It was amazing to see some homes gone completely and other homes right nearby that had very little damage at all. Please say a prayer or two that we can rally to help support and encourage our fellow citizens who have a long road to recovery ahead of them.
I hope your 4th of July weekend went well and that you enjoyed whatever activities you and your family and friends took part in! May we not just celebrate, but also be good citizens and help our country be the best it can be as a model of freedom, justice and peace.
Have a great week ahead and may the Great Spirit bless and reward you.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
PS Fr. Steve made it home from his most recent donor luncheons in Michigan and Indiana. He also had some time to squeeze in a brief visit with his family. Please continue to keep him in your prayers that the Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen him as he prepares to assume the responsibility of guiding our Province into the future for the next three years.