18 of our students received First Holy Communion at mass today. Of that group, most had gone through a year of classes in the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation of Children). Twelve of those students were also baptized and confirmed and one made her profession of faith.
Our small daily chapel was set up for pictures. As families arrived, Aaron took some great snapshots for the students to have and for us to remember. One of our houseparents who works with our youngest girls, had to remind an excited child scampering down the hallway “Today is not a day for running.” A few minutes later, I saw Celesia and Kyla showing off their flowing white communion dresses, spinning around, like a fairy tale Cinderella at the ball. I heard the same houseparent caution again, “Girls, today is not a day for twirling!” But how could they help it with the joy and excitement?
Everyone looked so sharp dressed up. I felt a little guilty ruining the hair do’s that took so long to get right when I doused the students with water three times. Those who were baptized definitely got good and wet.
After mass families and students were invited over to the Dining Hall where staff prepared and served dinner. We also had a couple of beautifully decorated cakes wishing congratulations and blessings. When I witness and participate in sacramental celebrations, especially with children, I pray I can be a good example and deepen my own commitment to the Lord.
The Lakota students continue their journey toward making their Sacraments in April. We have 26 students scheduled to make their sacraments, ranging from second grade to high school.
On Saturday, February 25, St. Joseph’s Indian School will be hosting a day retreat for the students who are in the RCIC program and their families. In the past, many families have attended this event and it has always been meaningful to all who have participated. During the day, we discuss the various sacraments the students will be receiving and students and families work on different projects together.
Students and their families decorate the Baptismal stoles they will wear when they are baptized. We also do a guided meditation on the Last Supper and a game to help the students learn about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in celebration of their Confirmation. The families will also do individual banners in commemoration of the students’ First Holy Communion.
The day culminates with Mass, during which we hold the Rite of Election where the students sign their names in the book acknowledging their willingness to become Catholics. I ask you to remember the students and their families in your prayers on February 25.
Greetings everyone, Richard here! May I wish you all a blessed Christmas time and my prayers for all to have a healthy and joyous new year. Now that the frenzy of shopping hopefully is over … except for the returns … let us take a moment to reflect of the meaning of this season and what the message of the Gospels is all about. Christ came in peace and lived in peace, yet His simple message has eluded humanity since His birth.
On December 11, in the Chapel of our Lady of the Sioux, we had the First Rite of the RCIC program. It is the Rite of Welcoming. We had twenty-five Lakota (Sioux) students partake in this ceremony conducted by Fr. Steve. This is the Rite where students ask to join the community in learning about becoming Catholic. The students ask for acceptance and the community pledges to support their endeavors. The community also prays that I be guided in teaching the students about faith issues. As part of the Rite. Fr. Steve blessed their senses and their hands and feet so they may walk in the path of Jesus. Each student at the conclusion received a Bible for them to read, as we journey on path to receiving First Holy Communion.
Before break, Fr. Anthony conducted class Masses for the sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Each class had their own Mass in the morning before the start of the day. The students reflected on the experience and all said it was the best Mass they ever attended. They liked the shared intimacy and members of each class helped serve and did the readings of the day. It was a good experience for the students.
Before break, we also had confessions for the students. Many students who are not Catholic also attended and had the chance to speak and pray with the priest in the confessional; it gives the student an opportunity to focus on their spiritual development.
We have begun the RCIC (Rite of Christian Initiation for Children) this month. This is a program to teach the youth at St. Joseph’s Indian School about becoming a Catholic and preparing them to receive the Sacraments in May. I enjoy teaching this program and seeing the children develop their faith issues and become excited about the day they are Baptized and receive their First Holy Communion. It is an extraordinary journey we take and I am so honored that I am accompany them on their exploration of their new faith. It is remarkable to work here at St. Joseph’s Indian School and not just see the students mature physically and mentally but also grow in their love of Jesus.
This year we have twenty-one students enrolled in the RCIC program; there are five second graders, six third graders, two fourth graders, four fifth graders, two sixth graders and two seventh graders. Please keep the students in your prayers as they take the first steps in their faith journey and also for me that I may have the wisdom and insight to be the best mentor for them that I can be. Next time I write, I will discuss the different themes we are touching. May I offer to each one of you a blessed and sacred Thanksgiving.