I hope everyone had a blessed and Happy Easter. Our students and staff arrived on campus Monday morning rested, refreshed and ready to go for the remainder of the school year. Thankfully, our students were all able to return to campus before the snow began falling.
This week is very special for a number of our students as they are in the homestretch of their preparation for reception of Sacraments (Baptism, 1st Communion and Confirmation). The students prepared by completing our Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) Class.
We’ll have a number of students receiving all three Sacraments! Those already Baptized will make their First Communion. Additionally, a few students who are members of another denomination will be making a Profession of Faith to join the Church and receive Eucharist and Confirmation.
We had a mini-retreat back in February for the participating students that allowed them to have some fun making a blessing cup and the stoles they’ll wear. They were also able to take part in some bread making. They watched a film called “Gramma’s Bread,” which sought to teach them important truths about Eucharist, intergenerational relationships, death and the importance of tradition in our lives. They also had the chance to visit Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel and become aware of the special role of the priest, the vestments he wears and what the colors represent. I was also able to show and explain various items that are in the sanctuary—altar, lectern, tabernacle, chalice, ciborium, paten and hosts.
They had the chance to taste an unconsecrated host and have a sip of wine to prepare them for when they make their First Communion. The highlight for some of the students was being chosen to get vested with what the priest and Deacons wear when celebrating the Liturgy. The students involved also had a session on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to help them focus on Confirmation.
We’ll have a practice this week and they’ll receive the Sacraments this coming Sunday, April 3rd. Please keep them in your prayers.
I have some additional information to share regarding the recently completed basketball season. You may recall that the Chamberlain High School cheerleaders won the “Spirit of Six” award at the Boys’ “A” Tournament out in Rapid City and that two of our St. Joseph’s girls are on the squad. What I did not know was that one of our high school students, Gabriel, is our Cub mascot.
Several previous St. Joseph’s students have had the honor to be the mascot and Gabe is walking in some special footprints, although none of those have gone on to part of a “Spirit of Six” award winning squad. Congratulations, Gabriel, on a job well done.
Another honor given to a member of the boys’ team was the designation by the local Mitchell, South Dakota newspaper, The Daily Republic, of Seth Friesz as the 2016 boys’ basketball player of the year. He is a junior guard who was the leading scorer of the Class “A” Tournament with a 22.3 points per game average. His scoring and play during the tournament, along with helping the Cubs reach the State Tournament for the first time since 2012, was the reason why he was selected. Though not a St. Joseph’s student, he has taken part in our Inter-City basketball program and is an athlete the whole local Chamberlain community can be proud of. We are happy to extend our congratulations to Seth on being selected for this honor.
With the students away for Spring/Easter Break, it was rather quiet on campus. I did celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter Liturgy with the Break Home students who were not able to be with family during the Easter holiday. Some of the local staff was able to join in with them.
I hope the week ahead is a very special one for you as we enter into the Easter Season reflecting on the price Jesus paid for our sins and the Good News of His victory over sin and death as realized in His Resurrection. May we each do our part to share and witness the Good News with those we come in contact with.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ