Good day from a snowy South Dakota!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's ChaplainGood day from a snowy South Dakota.

Although we wanted rain more than snow, we’ve had two days of snow this week that has come down looking like it is going to bury everything, but then it lets up and melts quickly. The grass seems to like it as it is starting to turn green in spots.  Hope you’ll have wonderful weather for all the new Easter outfits.

You may recall that I recently mentioned the Chamberlain Cubs had qualified for the State ‘A’ Basketball tournament in Rapid City, SD. They won their first game in a bit of an upset against Sioux Valley. St. Joseph’s own, Davis, went wild again scoring 20 points, grabbing a number of rebounds and making steals all over the court.  Their next game was against the #1 seed, Sioux Valley Christian, which had several players over 6’4’’. It was a hard-fought battle, but their height eventually stymied the Cubs.  The third game saw Chamberlain in the lead until the last few moments, when opposing Dakota Valley got hot.  The Cubs were hurt by poor free throw shooting, only making 5 out of 14 attempts, and came up short when Davis’ three point try, as the horn sounded, rimmed in and came out.

They ended the tournament with a fourth place finish—we are very proud of them!

spirit of 6Another bright note was the fact that the Cubs’ cheerleaders won the Spirit of 6 Award! The award is given yearly in memory of the Rapid City Central Cobblers’ cheerleaders who were killed in an airplane crash coming back to Rapid City from the State ‘A’ tournament in Sioux Falls in March of 1968.  To honor their memory, the South Dakota Peace Officers’ Association has been giving out the award to the best cheerleading squad at the ‘AA’, ‘A’ and ‘B’ tournaments since 1970.  The award is given on the basis of those who exhibit best crowd control, best dress, sportsmanship and enthusiasm.

St. Joseph’s is proud to have two students–Irene and Danielle on the squad. Congratulations to the cheerleaders.

Continue reading “Good day from a snowy South Dakota!”

Big smiles at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Over the weekend I returned to one of my former parishes up the road in Stephan, South Dakota to officiate at the wedding of a young couple who both graduated from college last year. The small church was filled to capacity with family and friends.  We don’t have fancy reception halls in our area, so the family machine shop on the ranch was transformed first into a banquet hall, and then later in the evening a dance hall.

Congratulations to Augie and Dani!

After church today, as I sat down for brunch in the Fisher Home (6th – 8th grade boys), Fr. Anthony tracked me down to let me know a couple of donors from Philadelphia area were on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus hoping to meet me. I invited them to come over and meet the boys. On opening weekend of NFL football, Trenton had on a Philadelphia Eagle’s jersey, which brought a big grin to our guests’ faces. Trenton and Elliott gave them a good tour of the home. Carol said that they’ve been supporting St. Joseph’s for many years, but being here in person, and seeing all that is involved makes it come alive in a much more substantial way. Afterwards  I showed them a few more sights on campus before they headed out to explore the West.

The Native American children had so much fun!
The slip and slide was a huge hit for the kids at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Outside my office, I heard squeals of delight. On a warm September day, I discovered that a couple of the homes had rolled a long plastic tarp onto the gentle slope between the picnic pavilion and the parking lot, and with soap and water had created a giant slip and slide. When I went outside to see the action for myself, a third grader came up and gave me a big soapy hug, and everyone laughed at the white suds on black clerical garb. Our kids and houseparents know how to have a good time.

The Giles Home (freshman boys) challenged the Carola Home (10th – 11th grade) to a basketball game for bragging rights on campus. Carola’s height and experience  proved too much for the freshman, but they played hard until the end. Afterwards they invited me along to a pizza party, where they resolved to keep practicing and try again.

Faculty vs. 8th grade

St. Joseph's Indian School had a "staff vs 8th graders" basketball game!
Nice drive JR!

The highlight of my day was our annual faculty versus the 8th grade basketball game. We played a double-header after school. First the girls against our female staff, then the boys against the men.  Everyone saw lots of playing time, and had good fun. The staff prevailed in two close games, but I think we had some extra help from the referees and scorekeepers.

While it’s hard to run with 14 year olds, we have some tall and athletic houseparents and coaches who carried the day for us. I’m a Hoosier and love my basketball, but my 52-year-old body doesn’t always cooperate in making the moves I used to make. A couple of times, I jumped to get a ball I’d normally grasp, but my vertical leap is higher in my memory than in today’s reality.  Since it’s less than 3 weeks since I got out of the hospital, I limited my playing time to a few minutes here and there to give others a breather. But it definitely felt great to be on the court with students again.