A time for reflection…

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

We have finally had some time to reflect on our 39th Annual Powwow.

What a wonderful few days we had! The festivities began with a bus trip to the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations. I had a chance to meet with donors taking part in the tour to offer a prayer for safe travel before they hit the road. It seems that they all had a great time!

On Thursday evening, St. Joseph’s Indian School had a Meet & Greet. Several staff members and students met with guests to explain the programs offered at St. Joseph’s and answer any questions our visitors had.  We had two of our high school seniors and an alumnae who is currently working at St. Joseph’s share the impact our school has had on their lives.

Friday morning began with the announcement of our powwow  royalty–Eagle Staff bearer Treshawn; Junior Miss St. Joseph’s Aurelia; and Miss St. Joseph’s Frederika.  As our students headed off to class, our guests enjoyed breakfast and tours of the Nagel Business Office to see how our mailings are prepared and how envelopes with donations are handled.

From there, our donors and friends went to the Rec Center to make their own dreamcatcher and attend a demonstration of Native American children’s games.

On Friday afternoon, guests were able to tour the school with some of our students as their tour guides. A great time was had by all; students really enjoyed getting to talk with people from all over the country.

Over 400 guests and friends attended our Tiyospaye Banquet Friday evening. The highlight of the evening– besides the drawing for a star quilt– was the show of hands as to how many were attending their very first powwow.  It seemed that 75-80% of the hands went up! We were so honored that they chose St. Joseph’s as the place to experience their first powwow.

Though Friday was rainy and cool, Saturday dawned clear and pleasant.  Early risers had the chance to visit several of the

Lakota boy dances fancy dance in the powwow.
A St. Joseph’s student dances in the 39th Annual Powwow.

homes on campus to see where our students live.  Prior to the Grand Entry, several of our grass dancers came out to bless the powwow grounds. The Grand Entry began with a presentation of the colors, which all veterans present were invited to take part in.  The veterans in attendance were followed by the royalty from other Native American tribes and entities in the area and the many dancers who had come to take part in the powwow.

It is interesting to note that 102 St. Joseph’s students took part in the various dance categories, which enabled them to win some categories and place in others.  The weather was wonderful, the colors magnificent and the dance moves intricate.  Returning alumni were honored.  Guests were invited to take part in tribal dances which are open to anyone in attendance.

We culminated the day with Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel and a complimentary meal prior to announcing the winners of the dance contests and drum competition.  As things wound down, there were many compliments and ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ over what had taken place that afternoon.

We were honored to have so many guests, dancers, drum groups and staff all interacting in an enjoyable manner to make this one of the best powwows yet!  If you would like to see some of what happened, you can take a look at the video one of our staff members put together.

We were blessed to have great weather on Saturday and we thank you for your prayers to help make that possible.  I’m sure that many of those attending this year are already looking ahead to 2016.  As a quick reminder, St. Joseph’s annual powwow always takes place the third weekend in September.  We look forward to many powwows in the future and hope you can join us!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Instead of a lemonade stand…

When the students of Sheehy Home (high school boys) decided they wanted to go snowboarding and skiing for their home trip, I knew we needed to do a fundraiser to help cover the cost. So, we sat down and talked about some ways to make extra money.

The shirt design incorporates symbols from St. Joseph’s and Chamberlain schools, as well as cultural elements like the dreamcatcher and medicine wheel.
Craig brainstormed the t-shirt design in less than two hours.

Previously, another St. Joseph’s home had done a lemonade stand at our annual powwow, and one did a bake sale. We’ve done car washes in the past but, with the weather outside below freezing at the time, we decided to come up with a new idea: create and sell a t-shirt.

I wanted the guys to learn how a company works from idea to completion, so to get started we elected a president, treasurer, designer, sales manager and production manager.

The young man chosen to be the designer – Craig – sat down and got to work. In less than two hours, he had a sketch of what would become our design.

We took his sketch and had it copied into a computer file. My wife, April, helped Craig enhance the digital file of the sketch and came up with our finished design.

The top banner says Chamberlain High, where our high school students attend. The bottom banner says St. Joseph’s Indian School, where we live. The bear cub is the mascot for Chamberlain teams and the paw print is also a school recognized image. The design also incorporates the colors of the Lakota medicine wheel. The dreamcatcher surrounding the school images symbolizes all the possibilities an education brings.

The Sheehy home accepted the design and submitted our idea for a fundraiser to the management team here at St. Joseph’s. They heard our plan and agreed to allow us to sell the shirts on campus and at Chamberlain High School.

The cabin was only a mile from the slopes and had an outdoor hot tub.
Relaxing in the outdoor hot tub at the cabin.

We worked with a local company that makes t-shirts and negotiated prices for various amounts of t-shirts sold. Our goal was to sell 100 shirts to ensure the best price. With that cost in mind, we worked with St. Joseph’s management team and came up with a sale price of $12.00 per t-shirt.

Our sales manager created a sales folder that everyone used, including a picture of the shirt, our design story and an order form. Our guys covered the campus and school for an entire week taking orders. Our Production Manager took all the order forms and totaled all the various sizes and announced that we had sold 192 shirts. Our elected president led the way selling 58 shirts. When we turned in our order we were able to negotiate an even better cost price for the shirts!

Once the shirts were ready we picked them up and, again using the order forms from each student, filled the orders. After delivering the finished product and all expenses were paid, our treasurer announced that we had earned just over $850.00 for our trip.

We had raised enough to stay in a cabin less than a mile from the slopes!

Our guys enjoyed two days of skiing and snowboarding, followed by relaxing in the outdoor hot tub at the cabin. The best part for me was, when all was said and done, one of the boys said “You know, there is a lot of work that goes into making a shirt.”

Thank you for making St. Joseph’s possible, and the life lessons our guys learn here that are making tomorrow brighter.

Mike and April F

Sheehy Home Houseparents

Boys in the Sheehy Home earned some extra money to go skiing on their home trip this winter.
The guys enjoyed two days of skiing and snowboarding.

Dealing with loss: St. Joseph’s Opiciye Okizi (Healing Camp)

Last Monday and Tuesday we held our Opiciye Okizi (Healing Camp) for students who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Our Lakota

Claire works with St. Joseph's students in the homes and at school.

students were paired up with an adult—either a relative or a staff person—to accompany them throughout their time in camp. It was a time for using storytelling, ceremony and art to process feelings of loss. We took a holistic approach, addressing the spiritual, physical and emotional aspects of grieving. Family members were an important part of camp, and on-campus housing was provided for relatives who were coming from long distances to participate.

Several themes emerged as the camp progressed. One theme was that of heartstrings—the invisible and yet unbreakable connections between us and the people we love. As a group we made the world’s first known human dreamcatcher. We stood in a circle as Clare read the story of how the spirit Iktomi brought the dreamcatcher to the people. All the while, LaRayne wove a web among the members of the group connecting each person to everyone else because – Mitakuye Oyasin —we are all related. Later, we strung all our prayers for our loved ones together by making prayer ties out of red cloth and sage. These were tied together and hung outside in the branches of a pine tree.

As part of Healing Camp, St. Joseph’s students created the first known human dreamcatcher.
The first known human dreamcatcher!

Stories like these were important because they reminded us of who we are, where we came from and where we are going. Another traditional story about the origins of the Milky Way reminded us that we are not alone, and that those we love are always with us. Our Christian stories reminded us that death is not the end, and that we are going to be reunited with our loved ones in God’s embrace.

One underlying theme was the task of accepting things as they are. Nobody cries the same way, and there is no wrong way to grieve. Each person felt their loss in his or her own way and had a unique way of expressing that—laughter, tears, drawing, avoidance, writing, numbing out. As a group, we had to adjust to what worked or didn’t work for each person, and to treat each person’s process with respect. Sometimes that meant letting go of expectations about what an activity would look like, or how a group interaction would take shape.

We ended the day with the Wiping of the Tears, a Lakota ceremony for the end of the mourning period.   A Dakota elder said a prayer and sang a song, while helpers offered each participant sage water and a ceremonial combing of the hair and wiping of tears. The ceremony provided a sense of closure to our camp, while reinforcing the sense of support and connection in the group.

I want to thank the people who made this camp possible—the family members and staff who gave of their time and of themselves to our students, the dying mother who requested this for her children back when camp started in 2003, the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center staff who were very gracious with the use of their space, and the many benefactors who support the work at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Wopila tanka, many thanks.

Another wonderful powwow at St. Joseph’s Indian School

What a great celebration!

St. Joseph’s Royalty Joe, Diamond and Shawnna are pictured with Fr. Anthony.
Joe was named Eagle Staff Bearer; Diamond, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s and Shawnna, Miss St. Joseph’s.

Powwow activities started last Thursday when two busloads of visitors went on a tour of the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Indian Reservations just north of Chamberlain. A ‘meet & greet’ Thursday evening allowed our visitors to ask questions of our Child Services Staff.

Friday, guests gathered for various cultural activities at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. Later that day, the students gave tours of their classrooms. Afterwards, everyone gathered at the rec center for the announcement of our powwow royalty — Miss St. Joseph’s, Jr., Miss St. Joseph’s and our Eagle Staff Bearer, who would lead the Grand Entry on Saturday.

Mr. Dallas Chief Eagle then presented a hoop dance.  Friday concluded with the annual Tiyospaye Banquet, where we drew for a Lakota Star Quilt (won by a benefactor from California). There were also silent auctions and the live auction of hand-painted piece by Del Iron Cloud, a St. Joseph’s graduate and our Distinguished Alumni Award winner.

Saturday did indeed live up to all the predictions and was an answer to our prayers. The sun was out with no clouds in the sky, but it was a bit breezy. As the day progressed, it warmed up and turned out to be a beautiful day, great for the dancers.

The morning began with the dedication of the new playground equipment.  We were honored to have the benefactor who was the driving force behind the project present to help cut the ribbon with Miss St. Joseph’s.

Grand Entry at powwow is led by St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer and veteran alumni carrying flags.
St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer led Grand Entry, followed by St. Joseph’s veteran alumni carrying the flags.

Afterwards, our grass dancers helped bless the powwow grounds and prayers were offered asking the Great Spirit to help the dancers do their best and to make the whole day a rewarding experience for everyone.  The Colors were carried by an Honor Guard made up of military veterans who were St. Joseph’s alumni.  All veterans were invited to march in following the colors. Veterans were invited to introduce themselves, tell what branch of service they served in and where they have been stationed.  We were especially honored to have a World War II veteran with us.

Another highlight of the day was the presence of Mr. Casimir LeBeau, one of two surviving members of the student body that started at St. Joseph’s when the school opened in 1927.  He shared some thoughts with the crowd and then became the centerpiece as the 64 alumni who were present gathered around him for a group picture.

As the competitive dancing came to an end, we had Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. Several of our dancers attended in full regalia and danced accompanied by St. Joseph’s drum group.  After Mass was over, everyone gathered for dinner and prizes for the dancers and drum groups.

It was a wonderful weekend! Be sure to watch our powwow video and consider making plans to attend our 39th powwow on September 19, 2015!

We thank you for your many prayers.  May God’s blessings continue to be with you and yours.

See more powwow pictures in our Flickr album!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Sharing & Learning: a Cultural Exchange for St. Joseph’s Students

Our trip to France was fantastic!

A few weeks ago, I shared in a blog post that I was headed to France with Erica and Andrew. It was a wonderful trip!

St. Joseph’s staff and Lakota students enjoyed an exchange visit to St. Solange, in Chateauroux France.
Andrew, Maija and Erica had a wonderful trip to France!

Many of the French students thought we would arrive wearing traditional Lakota (Sioux) regalia instead of modern clothes – they were surprised to see us in jeans and


We shared much about South Dakota and the Lakota culture, and the students and staff asked some great questions. Everyone appreciated the dreamcatchers we brought for them, and they all seemed to enjoy trying on some of the regalia. They were also interested in learning what kinds of modern music and video games our kids like and were surprised to learn of the similarities they shared. The younger students had a great time participating in the Circle Dance, learning Lakota words, and making beaded bracelets.

Our hosts introduced us to France’s Berry Region – a beautiful area with amazing culture, music and food! The town, Chateauroux, was lovely and some areas were quite old, with cobblestone streets and amazing architecture.  Some of the sights we were fortunate to see were the Chambord Castle (designed by DaVinci), Europe’s largest zoo, beautiful smaller castles and gardens, an organic goat cheese farm and – best of all – spending time with our host families and children at St. Solange!

Before we departed, the students at St. Solange presented us with gifts of music, poetry, and art in a wonderful celebration which included the benediction of their chapel. The festivities included traditional regional music and food, a visit from the mayor, reporters and lots of fun! We presented the school headmaster with an ironwood buffalo in thanks for their hospitality and generosity during our stay.

The whole day was truly touching; we were humbled by their kindness.

We had a short visit of Paris, the beautiful “City of Lights,” and we were not disappointed. We took a bus tour of Paris’ most visited areas, and went to the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, Sacre-Coeur (which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus) at Montmartre. We felt this was an important visit, as St. Joseph’s was founded by the Priests of the Sacred Heart!

After a night in Paris, we took the Chunnel to London in preparation for the trip home.

Before we even left the station in Paris, we saw the Queen! She departed from the same train we were taking to England! It was exciting to see the guards in full dress, the reporters, and the Queen’s car.

Once in London, we met up with the group of St. Joseph’s staff and students who were in Germany, giving presentations as we were, to Gymnasium Leonium, in Handrup.

The students appreciated being in an English speaking country and loved the sights of the city of London, riding the “Eye” and seeing “Stomp!’ at the West End.

We all had a wonderful time learning about another culture and way of life. We are especially looking forward to our hosts coming to South Dakota in October to be our guests at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Thank you for helping St. Joseph’s provide amazing learning opportunities for the Native American children we serve!

Representing St. Joseph’s Indian School in France

On May 25, Erica, Andrew, and I left on the trip of a lifetime! We have the honor of representing St. Joseph’s Indian School at the Lycee Ste Solange School, in Chateauroux,

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students

France, on a trip to our sister school!

Similar to the exchange program with our sister school in Handrup, Germany, we hope this experience will broaden our students’ horizons. In turn, we will share the Lakota (Sioux) culture and St. Joseph’s mission.

We spent several months putting together a presentation for the school to share information about:

  • The state of South Dakota
  • Powwows and traditional regalia
  • The Seven Sacred Lakota Rites
  • St. Joseph’s programs
  • Chamberlain High School

With the older students in France, we will make dreamcatchers and beaded bracelets using the colors of the Four Directions. The little ones will learn about the Lakota tipi, star quilt and drum. Erica will also demonstrate fancy dancing in her regalia.

Erica, a St. Joseph’s high school student, traveled to our sister school in France.

The past several months have also been spent getting to know our hosts. I have been in touch with Blandine, who is the school secretary and the headmaster’s wife.

Before Easter, Stellie (from St. Joseph’s office in Paris), went to Chateauroux and gave a presentation about St. Joseph’s mission and the Lakota children who attend our school. After learning why children come to St. Joseph’s, Blandine and the students organized the “Bowl of Rice” operation.

This activity came in conjunction with the Easter season of Lent. After a talk about what sacrifice means, students at their school were given a choice about their regular lunch.

They proposed having the students pay the regular price of a school lunch and, instead of receiving what they would normally have (starter, main course, cheese and dessert), it would be substituted with a bowl of rice, apple, and piece of bread. The difference in cost would be donated to St. Joseph’s.

Andrew, a St. Joseph’s high school student, traveled to our sister school in France.

Two weeks ago, I received a very ecstatic email from Blandine – they had great success in Operation Bowl of Rice and raised 2,000 Euros (over $2,700)!

They never had so many participants, she added. She said everyone was so proud to be allowed to participate for Maija, Erica and Andrew’s school!

In thanks for their generosity, we’re showing our appreciation for the school children and staff at Chateauroux by offering a gift of an ironwood buffalo – a symbol of sacrifice.

The buffalotatanka – is considered a symbol of abundance. It is especially significant in the Lakota culture because it provided the people with everything they needed.

Thank you for helping St. Joseph’s provide amazing learning opportunities for the Native American children we serve and stay tuned for more details about our trip!


Poetry, snow & sixth grade at St. Joseph’s Indian School

The end of the year is here! It is a very busy time at St. Joseph’s Indian School, fitting in class trips, end-of-the-year activities and wrapping up projects.

Linea teaches reading at St. Joseph’s Indian School
Linea, St. Joseph’s reading teacher for sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

In reading classes, the Lakota students completed units on poetry. During this unit, it is always a treat to have our principal, Kathleen, come and read to us. She does an amazing job and captures the attention of all the students.

We read mostly lyric and narrative poems, and students explored the different ways authors presented their words. Some used humor and others appealed to our senses and emotions.

I also discovered we have some talented young poets right here at St. Joseph’s!

During the reading of the poem “The Dream Keeper,” our Native American Studies teachers came into our classroom and helped us make our own dreamcatchers. The students did an awesome job and had a lot of fun.

Spring is also the time that our sixth graders take their cultural field trip to the Badlands National Park in western South Dakota. We schedule this trip a couple of weeks in advance and then have to accept what Mother Nature has in store of us.

This year she decided to rain on our day…

Actually, we were like postal workers and could say that “neither rain nor sleet nor snow” will keep us from having fun on our class trip!

Everyone knows the end of the year is coming fast and the students are looking forward to their summer break!

Linea – Reading Teacher, grades 6-8

St. Joseph’s sixth graders made their own dreamcatchers after reading the poem “The Dream Keeper.”
After reading “The Dream Keeper,” St. Joseph’s sixth graders made dreamcatchers in class.
St. Joseph’s sixth graders had their class trip to the Badlands National Park in May.
Sixth grade boys stand in the rain and snow in the Badlands during the sixth grade class trip.

Everybody Powwow!!

WOW! What a weekend!

The Great Spirit really blessed St. Joseph’s Indian School this past weekend with great weather for our 37th Annual   Powwow.  Many new friendships were made, and over 400 visitors were given the chance to see where their generous donations go and how they impact the lives of our Lakota (Sioux) students.

The festivities kicked off on Wednesday, with Fr. Steve returning for the weekend.  The students and staff had an ‘official’ going away gathering that gave everyone time for tears, handshakes and sharing memories.  Thursday morning, we were up bright and early to take part in the bus trip to the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations.

Friday, the morning got started with breakfast at the Development Office.  Tours were also included so visitors could see how the mailings go out and how the donations are handled when they come in.

Later, at the Rec Center, there were three different cultural presentations:

  • How to make a dreamcatcher
  • Traditional Native American foods
  • A drum presentation

Each session filled quickly.  Many took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and the new addition, the Tokéya uŋkí nájiŋpi (We Stood Here in the Beginning) Historical and Alumni Center. 

Visits to the school and classrooms, with the Lakota boys and girls acting as tour guides, took up the early afternoon prior to the crowning of St. Joseph’s royalty  — Eagle Staff Bearer,  Miss St. Joseph’s and Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s.  The afternoon concluded with a demonstration of Hoop Dancing by Kevin Locke who told stories, taught us sign language and employed 28 hoops in his dance.  The Friday evening banquet at Cedar Shores was jam packed with 375 guests.  There was a drawing for a Lakota Star Quilt and a silent auction for a painting by Mr. Del Iron Cloud, a St. Joseph’s alumnus.

Saturday was absolutely awesome weather-wise with sunshine and gentle breezes.  Early guests on campus that morning had the chance to visit several of St. Joseph’s homes prior to the Grand Entry at noon.  All veterans were invited to take part as the colors were presented and then shared their name and branch of service.

We had a great turn out of youth dancers – 191 in all – and all the practice our students put in paid off. Twenty St. Joseph’s students claimed prize money, with five winning first place!

Everyone enjoyed a buffalo stew supper after the powwow.

The evening ended with an honor dance for Fr. Steve, which began with a blessing for him in his new assignment as Provincial of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the United States.

There was a full house for Mass on Sunday morning, which began with some of St. Joseph’s dancers – wearing full regalia – leading us in as our drum group provided the entrance music. Many pictures were taken and then our guests were free to visit the museum again or begin their journey home.

As I shook hands with those leaving Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel, many mentioned they are looking forward to coming again next year.  Our students and staff hope they are able to return and that others, who were unable to come this year, might make it next year.  St. Joseph’s 38th Annual WacipiPowwow – will be September 12-14, 2014.  I hope you all can join us!

See more moments from the weekend on Flickr, Facebook and YouTube!


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


P.S.   One thing that really impressed me was how many individuals or church groups brought donations of school supplies, clothing and other needed items.  Several mentioned they have been doing this for years.  Pilamayathank you.

St. Joseph’s Royalty were named Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s powwow.
Hope, Miss St. Joseph’s and Sasha, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s, are pictured with Fr. Anthony and Ben, St. Joseph’s Eagle Staff Bearer.

Friday’s powwow festivities

Friday before powwow, 330 donors took part in the school and cultural activities we offered throughout the day, and attended our banquet that evening. I shook lots of hands and got plenty of hugs as I answered as many questions as I could about St. Joseph’s Indian School and our programs. There are familiar faces that come back for powwow year after year, and I smiled as I recognized them coming through the museum doors. At the banquet I asked for a show of hands who was on their first actual visit to the school, and approximately 80% of the people were first timers. What I heard over and over again, in many different ways, was,

“I had no idea you have so much going on here. I was blown away by the comprehensive nature of your programs and facilities, and how well your school is run.”

While I always appreciate the affirmation, as people look over our programs, they also pass on new ideas that may contribute to ongoing improvement.

Lakota child teaches how to make dreamcatcher.
Liz teaches a friend of St. Joseph’s how to make a dreamcatcher.

Morning held cultural workshops. One favorite is having students teach people to make their own dreamcatcher. We also had presentations on traditional Lakota foods, children’s games, culture and stories. Folks could attend one or several of the workshops, and still have time to browse in the museum. Our students led small groups on tours of the school in the afternoon. They are excited to have visitors, and proud to “show and tell” what goes on in the school. At 3:00, everyone gathered in the Rec Center for the announcement of our 2012 Powwow Royalty. These students will serve as ambassadors and represent St. Joseph’s at different events throughout the year. A group called “Sons of Eagle Horse” then gave a presentation on traditional dance, and included flute songs and hand drumming. They offered our students encouragement about the strength they can draw from Lakota traditions. Lots of the kids joined the circle when it came time for the round dance. Many of the places we do business with make a donation so we can host a nice sit down meal for all our visitors. The crowd was huge, lively and fun. “Lakota George” set a relaxing tone with background flute music One new wrinkle we added this year was to have noted artist and St. Joseph’s alumnus Del Iron Cloud paint a watercolor during the meal. Folks could watch his skill up close, and ask questions about his art. At the end of the night, he auctioned it off and the proceeds went to help with our latest round of home remodeling.

St. Joseph's Indian School alumni painting at their banquet.
Del Iron Cloud painting at St. Joseph’s Indian School’s banquet.

Our fourth graders demonstrated hoop dancing on stage, and showed lots of enthusiasm and athleticism. Then they led the group in a Round Dance, and more than half of the crowd got out of their seats and moved to the beat of the drum. I announced the ten star quilt raffle winners that were drawn earlier in the day. Those went to folks across the country. But we saved one and drew a door prize, and Robert from Nebraska was honored to have such a beautiful symbol of the Lakota (Sioux) culture wrapped around his shoulders to take home with him.

78 years young today

The kids playing outside in the winter snow.
The kids at St. Joseph's Indian School love to play in the snow.

We got an icy drizzle on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus today that turned the sidewalks into skating rinks for a while. Staff and students alike had to be very careful. We got word that the Carola Home (high school boys) took their annual skiing trip to the Black Hills yesterday. There were a couple harsh wipe outs, it’s a good thing our boys are tough. After mass the younger students on campus flocked to our hills by the football field, which give a fun ride, but nothing compared to the slopes in the beautiful Black Hills.

Fr. Bernie turned 78 years young today, so we took him out to dinner for his birthday. With the roads still worrisome (and maybe with some folks staying home for football playoffs) the normally hopping Al’s Oasis, which can seat hundreds, had just eleven patrons dining when we arrived. D’Kera, one of our high school students was waitressing, and had only two tables in the two hours she had been on duty. Having safely arrived, we sat down to a nice feast and good conversation to celebrate the many years of faithful service Fr. Bernie has given.