Things have slowed down quite a bit on campus. The Rising Eagle Day Camp culminated and the free lunch program for the community has also came to an end to give our staff a short break before the students return to campus on August 14.
Several students are staying on campus in our Summer Break Home. They recently spent a few days in Omaha, Nebraska. I will make sure to give a report on what they saw and did in my blog next week.
The most popular activity at this year’s summer camp was a slip-n-slide ‘waterslide’! A tarp was placed on a hill with a hose at the top, allowing the kids to slip and slide all the way to the bottom of the hill! Everyone enjoyed it immensely.
About a week or so ago, the Chamberlain Cubs High School varsity basketball team sponsored a clinic to help future NBA prospects perfect their game. Several of the young men from the Break Home took advantage of the opportunity, going to the gym each morning to hone their skills. They seemed to have a lot of fun and we’ll see if the extra training bears fruit when the basketball season opens in November.
Even though summer officially began on Monday, temperatures are and have been very high around here for a few weeks. I hope everyone is making sure to stay cool and hydrated.
Last week, I was able to attend the ordination for two new priests for the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. During the 1st Mass of the newly ordained priest that I had baptized 25 years ago in Houston, Texas, the pastor mentioned that the parish has had 18 priests ordained in the last 11 years and will have another next year. The parish has also been supportive of those who have entered the Brotherhood or convent. May we keep the need for more vocations in our prayers.
We hosted our yearly Scranton Prep students from Scranton, Pennsylvania last week. They raise funds every year to bring their upcoming senior class to South Dakota. During their time in-state, they do some sightseeing in the Black Hills and visit several reservations prior to working as counselors for our summer camp. Several of the students mentioned how helping out at St. Joseph’s has really educated them of the Native American Culture. They appreciated the opportunity to bond with the young people at camp.
Today is the last day of the 2016 Rising Eagle Day Camp. We’ve had a great time getting to know over 200 children from the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations and look forward to some of them returning to campus for school this fall!
Last week Fr. Steve Huffstetter, current Provincial of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and past Director at St. Joseph’s Indian School, was elected to our General Council in Rome!
Fr. Heiner Wilmer, SCJ, the German Provincial, was elected our new Superior General and Fr. Steve – along with the Provincials from Poland, the Congo/Cameroon and Venezuela – were elected to be members of his Council. This election means Fr. Steve will be part of the group leading the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart for the next six years. In late August, the American Province will have an election for a new Provincial and Council. Please keep Father Steve in your prayers as he answers this new call to service in our Congregation.
I am on the road, but in the process of returning to St. Joseph’s. This past weekend I had the chance to be in Lafayette and Carmel, Indiana to take part in the Deaconate Ordination of a young man I baptized nearly 25 years ago at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Houston, Texas. My introduction at the Sunday
Mass included that I was from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota. At the end of the Mass, several people came up and mentioned they have been benefactors for many years.
I am always happy to meet those whose generosity makes our school possible for the Native American youngsters. It is rare you find yourself someplace where no one has heard about our work on the plains of South Dakota. Thank you for your support!
This week and last, children from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation are on St. Joseph’s campus daily to take part in our two-week summer day camp. Several of our staff
and high school students help out. Activities include swimming, arts & crafts, Lakota Studies and more. The campers always enjoy the swimming pool. Starting next week, children from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation will have their turn.
St. Joseph’s kitchen staff is busy this month as they provide lunch and snacks for the campers. St. Joseph’s Indian School is also the site designated in the Chamberlain community for the hot lunch Program offered to any young people in the area. The kitchen crew will be preparing lunch daily for students for approximately six weeks. We enjoy the opportunity to serve and be involved in the local community.
I hope you all have a wonderful week and your summer is enjoyable and relaxing. I am anxious to get home and check in with the students staying on campus for our summer program. The City of Chamberlain renovated the local swimming pool and it’s just opened – I can’t wait to hear what they think about the new slides and swimming area!
Thanks again for all you do for the Lakota boys and girls! We keep you in our prayers.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
Happy New Year from all the students and staff at St. Joseph’s Indian School!
I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a great start. Our students and staff are in the process of working their way back to campus as the Christmas Break comes to an end. The weather is making it a bit interesting today – we have snow and 11 degrees outside, along with blistering winds lowering the wind chill to well below zero. Word has already come from the Rosebud Indian Reservation that their bus will not be able to make it to St. Joseph’s today due to the weather. South Dakota could get up to 6 inches of snow or more before tomorrow. Please keep all those traveling in your prayers for a safe journey.
Since things were quiet around campus this past week, I would like to bring you up-to-date on some things that happened just before Christmas.
Pope Francis has dedicated 2015 to be a Year of Consecrated Life —honoring Sisters, Priests and Brothers who have made the commitment to religious life. Our Provincial, Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, sent out a memo encouraging our Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) communities to discern ways we could make ourselves visible to the people in our areas so as to give witness and invite them to know us better.
On December 14, 2014, Fr. Bernard Rosinski, SCJ and I, along with our housekeeper, Terri, took part in the annual Parade of Homes in the Chamberlain area. It is a fundraiser for our local Cozard Memorial Library. There were five homes and one local business that people could visit.
We hosted between 60-75 people and had a great time answering questions and showing off our home —beautiful, thanks to Terri’s wonderful sense of decorating.
Later that week, we invited St. Joseph’s staff to come up and see the decorations and enjoy some cookies and hot cider. About 40-50 staff accepted our invite during this busy season. It was a wonderful experience!
On the calendar for the week ahead is the start of the third quarter at school and our celebration of Christmas with the Lakota (Sioux) boys and girls. The students are looking forward to opening their gifts your generosity provided! I always enjoy visiting the homes and seeing the expressions of joy on the children’s faces as they open their gifts. We’ll be sure to take some pictures so you can see them in next week’s blog!
With 2015 upon us, I also wanted to remind you of the donor luncheons that will be coming up, giving you an opportunity to meet some of St. Joseph’s students and staff:
January 18-19, 2015: San Francisco, California
April 25-26, 2015 : Panama City, Florida
June 7-8, 2015: New York, New York
If you are able to attend and would like additional information, please call 1-800-584-9200. We look forward to spending some time with you!
Enjoy the week ahead. May God’s blessings continue to be with you as in the New Year. Thanks again for your support and encouragement of our Lakota students and all of us. Be assured of our prayers for you and your special intentions.
We had a very busy weekend at St. Joseph’s Indian School, including celebrating Native American Day yesterday. South Dakota has celebrated Native American Day instead of Columbus Day since 1990.
We were also honored to have Fr. Steve on campus for part of the weekend!
Fr. Steve, now our SCJ Provincial Superior, was back on campus to take part in St. Joseph’s semi-annual board meeting. It was good to see him; his health is good and he’s
enjoying his new position.
During his visit, Fr. Steve was able to take part in Enrichment Night activities with the Lakota boys and girls and visit with some of the Hogebach girls who took part in an inipi ceremony the afternoon he arrived.
Saturday, he attended the River City Band Festival Parade with many of our students and staff.
Local and regional bands march in a parade and then perform in the field competition at the Chamberlain High School football field. During the parade, 40 St. Joseph’s students helped by carrying banners to advertise the local sponsors.
Sunday was the parish festival at St. James Catholic Church in Chamberlain. Several young men from the Cyr Home (fourth, fifth and sixth grade boys) volunteered to set up, help with some games and then take part in the clean-up. One of their houseparents is the parish secretary, which inspired them to volunteer.
At the Chamberlain community fall festival the St. Joseph’s Chuckers won the contest for who could shoot a pumpkin the farthest with a catapult. Several members of our maintenance crew worked together to construct a launcher and won 1st place. Haesel, one of our seventh graders, came in second in the hand throw contest for the 10-15 year age group.
As the autumn days slip away, we see the football and volleyball seasons wind down and come to an end. The seventh and eighth grade football team will have their last game of the season this week as they host Crow Creek. The girls’ volleyball teams will be on the road to Pierre to play PILC (Pierre Indian Learning Center). Our flag football season is also winding down and the students had another good year.
May God continue to bless and reward each of you for your generosity for the education and care of the Lakota boys and girls. Be assured of our prayers for you and your loved ones.
Throughout the school year, St. Joseph’s high school students visit various colleges and trade schools as they consider their future. Last week, several or our seniors, juniors and sophomores traveled to the University of South Dakota to learn more about the campus and classes offered there.
On the trip to USD, our students were thrilled to catch up with St. Joseph’s alumni Errol and Wyatt, who graduated in 2014 and now attend the University of South Dakota. It was great to have their insight about the transition from high school to college. Thanks guys!
You may have heard about the recent difficulties at Chicago’s airports. The ripple effect of this disruption in air travel made it all the way to South Dakota. Our team going to the donor luncheon in Chicago this past weekend had their flight cancelled. In an effort to keep our scheduled events, the decision was made to drive to Chicago.
Everything went great!
Justina and Treyah did a great job speaking to our donors. The trip was made extra special by a visit from Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, past Director of St. Joseph’s and our current Provincial Superior. He joined the team for the Saturday lunch and sightseeing. Fr. Steve grew up near Chicago and was excited to show the team the local sights.
During the donor events we hold in different cities around the U.S., two of our Lakota (Sioux) students share with our benefactors how their generosity touches the lives of the children who attend St. Joseph’s. Our next luncheon will be in San Francisco, California in January. You can register online or call 1-800-584-9200. We’d love to have you join us if you are in the area!
Within the next few days, St. Joseph’s will be hosting exchange students from Germany. In June, we send a couple students to visit Germany and France. In the fall, our European counterparts become our guests and visit St. Joseph’s Indian School. They will attend a few days of classes with our students at Chamberlain High School, do some sightseeing and make a presentation of what life and school are like in Germany.
I hope that everyone has a great week. May God continue to bless and reward you for your generosity.
Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lilly of the
Mohawks. She is the first Native American to be canonized and holds a special place in the heart of the Native American people. I’ve had the privilege of visiting the village where Kateri grew up in in New York State.
One of the stained glass windows in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel on St. Joseph’s campus is dedicated to Kateri. We ask for her intercession that the Great Spirit will give His blessings and strength to all who seek to follow her dedication and commitment to follow Jesus.
On behalf of all the SCJs, I thank you for your prayers for the success of the recent Provincial Chapter held last week in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. I had the chance to join with Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ and 42 other priests and brothers to discuss various issues to help the members of the Province be supportive of one another and renewed in our dedication to serving the people of God as ‘prophets of love and servants of reconciliation.’
Thanks to your prayers, the Spirit helped move the Chapter in a very positive direction.
We also got to do some celebrating.
Fr. Leonard Tadyszak, SCJ, celebrated the 70th anniversary of his vows. Among Father’s various ministries was his time serving in north-central South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.
The next day, we celebrated Br. Clay Diaz, SCJ, and his Final Profession of Vows. As part of his training, Br. Clay served at St. Joseph’s Indian School. His next assignment will take him to northern Mississippi.
On a sad note, we received word that Fr. Larry Rucker, SCJ passed away. Fr. Larry had served in South Dakota and many in this area still remember him. Please keep Fr. Larry in prayer.
As we continue moving through the summer, various rodeos and powwows will take place throughout central South Dakota. The powwows at Lower Brule and Fort Thompson will take place in early August. I hope to see you at St. Joseph’s annual powwow on September 13.
What a wonderful weekend at St. Joseph’s Indian School!
Friday, June 27, we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart, which is very special to our religious community. SCJ is Latin for sacerdotes cordis jesu (priests of the heart of Jesus).
We were honored to have St. Joseph’s former President, Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, back among us for the day.
The members of the Priests of the Sacred Heart who minister here in South Dakota gathered for an adoration period in which we renewed our vows of commitment to the Congregation and the people of God. It is always a wonderful time to join with fellowSCJs and share somecamaraderie and dinner together.
Wonderful as it was, we were a little sad too. On Sunday, Fr. Guy Blair, SCJ, said good-bye to the parishes of St. Anthony in Pukwana and St. James in Chamberlain as he moves on to his new assignment.
The SCJ community has helped the Sioux Falls Diocese with local ministry over the last 25-30 years, but the Province was not able to replace Fr. Guy with another SCJ, so the communities gave the parishes back to the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Fr. Steve was here to extend the thanks of the Province for all the support and encouragement the parishes have given to the SCJ priests who have served over the years.
Tomorrow, we are looking forward to a visit South Dakota’s senior Senator, the Honorable Tim Johnson. The Senator is making a farewell tour of the state as he will not be running for re-election this year after serving three terms in the United States Senate.
The Lakota (Sioux) students participating in our summer program will welcome him and share about St. Joseph’s. The
Senator has been helpful when our students visited Washington DC and has also taken an active interest in Native American issues during his years of service. I’ll share with you how the visit went in next week’s blog!
We hope you all have a safe and memorable Independence Day! As you enjoy time with family and friends, remember the values our country stands for and continue to find ways to pass them along to future generations.
Memo to Mother Nature — enough is enough, please make up your mind! This past Saturday was gorgeous but Palm Sunday was cold and windy, which kept our blessing of the palms indoors. I hope spring has really sprung for you, wherever you may live.
Last week, we were honored to have Fr. Steve back on campus. In his new role as Provincial of the United States Province he had two tasks to fulfill during his visit to St. Joseph’s Indian School. First, he visited with all the SCJs in ministry here in South Dakota to check in on how we are doing in terms of health, ministry and spiritual lives.
Second, he was part of the board meeting that reviews finances and ministry of the work the community is doing. The meeting was held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so board members could visit St. Joseph’s Donor Care Center. The board was impressed by the ability of Donor Care Center staff to reach out to our benefactors, offering birthday greetings, answering questions and helping people learn more about St. Joseph’s Indian School and the programs we offer the Lakota (Sioux) people in Chamberlain and on South Dakota Indian Reservations.
Before heading to Sioux Falls for the meeting, Fr. Steve enjoyed watching the basketball games between staff teams and our eighth grade boys and girls’ teams. Our young ladies were up first, and staff players gave us a glimpse of glory from their younger years. The effort was there, but it took them awhile to hit their stride.
It was 12-11 in the staff’s favor at half. The fans were into the game, pulling for their side in good fun. The staff team was in the lead as the final few minutes wound down. The eighth grade coach sent his whole team out to play in a sneak attack that resulted in the eighth graders getting the ball for one last shot! They made a long 3-point shot to tie it at the buzzer ending the game tied at 33 all!
Many laughs were had by all, setting us up for the boys vs. staff game.
When the game got ready to start, Fr. Steve came out to administer the opening toss up and then scrambled out of the way as everyone rushed to get the ball. The staff team came at the eighth graders in waves – they had enough players to sub in and out. The eighth grade boys, however, had just five players!
The boys held their own, however, and lead at half 13-9. Once the second half got underway, it got a bit confusing – many staff were wearing St. Joseph’s team uniforms, so it was hard to make sure you were passing to your teammate and not the opposition. The fans kept rooting for the students as the minutes ticked off the clock. There were lots of oohs and aahs as shots went up but not in. At the buzzer, the staff escaped with a 23-21 victory.
It was a great way to finish the week!
It was a busy weekend at St. Joseph’s, so stay tuned to hear more about Saturday’s many activities.
We hope that whatever activity you chose for Lent has proven beneficial and has you ready for Holy Week. May God continue to bless you all and reward you for your generosity.
We hope this finds you all healthy and doing well! The weather in Chamberlain is keeping us guessing, but the last couple of days have been warming up… Dare we say spring
is really here?
St. Joseph’s Native American students have taken advantage of the nice days and are getting out for some activities. Tonight, the junior high softball league will start. The fourth and fifth grade softball will have a meeting today and start their season in the next day or two. Our youngest students (first, second and third grades) take part in T-ball and they kick off their season tomorrow afternoon.
Last Thursday, I had the chance to attend the Chrism Mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The oils used in church rituals during this year were blessed and then distributed to all the parishes. The clergy gather to re-affirm our commitment of service to God’s people and to take the oils home as a sign of unity within the diocese. These oils will be used on April 27 when our Lakota (Sioux) students who are taking part in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) program will receive their Sacraments.
Saturday was a big night for our high school students – prom! Since the festivities go through the night, we decided to push back our Sunday Mass at St. Joseph’s Indian School to late afternoon so everyone could get some sleep. It was nice to see other prom goers from the community join our later service after taking the opportunity to sleep in. Check out our photos from the evening!
Everyone was very excited to have Fr. Steve back with us to be the celebrant at our afternoon Mass. He is in South Dakota for a board meeting this week and to visit with the local SCJ community members in his role as Provincial Superior.
It is hard to believe Palm Sunday is coming up this weekend. We hope it will be a special day for you as we continue our journey to Easter.
Take care and know we are keeping you and your intentions in our prayers.