Holy Week at St. Joseph’s

Happy Holy Week from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

What is the old adage, ‘if you don’t like the weather just wait a few moments?’ That has been the truth here in Chamberlain these past few days. It was in the 80’s on Saturday and then on Monday, the temperatures dropped to the low 30’s along with rain, sleet and snow. On Tuesday, most of the snow melted and on Wednesday, the weather was overcast and rainy. The moisture is allowing the grass to green-up nicely!

Last Friday, our 3rd graders hosted a ‘wax museum’. Continue reading “Holy Week at St. Joseph’s”

Colorful eggs, treats and a stuffed rabbit

American Indian girl with a stuffed bunny.
Happy Easter!

During Holy Week, I helped with services at several nearby parishes, and enjoyed reconnecting with people . Friday and Saturday were very quiet around St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus and especially in the office, where I worked on some catch-up projects. I also took  time for  prayer and reflection during these days filled with such religious significance.

Fr. Anthony had Mass this morning for our break home students. When I got back to campus I walked over to the break home to join them for Easter dinner. As I got close to the home I saw some colored paper nestled in the bushes. I figured it was some trash that the wind had blown in, and I sauntered over to pick it up. Rather than trash, it was a brightly colored gift bag, hidden behind the bush, apparently by the Easter Bunny. It was filled with colorful eggs, treats and a stuffed rabbit.  After lunch the seven students in the break home searched the yard and found the hidden goody bags.

A bit of everything

Greetings once again from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  As Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ is on his way back from a donor luncheon in the Miami, Florida area, I have been asked to bring you up-to-date on what happened here at St. Joseph’s over the weekend.

It was a weekend that had a bit of everything happen.  Friday afternoon had one of our 4th grades present a ‘living’ Way of the Cross entitled The Week That Changed the World to our students and staff.  Friday also saw the end of the bowling season as all the participants had a fun afternoon in which trophies were awarded and snacks provided.  A lot of fun was had this year and several of the students improved remarkably over the course of the season.

While we were at the bowling lane, word was received that the Chamberlain water supply was experiencing some difficulty and that the water should not be drunk.  The whole town and campus were affected.  As those working on the problem were not sure how long it would last, there was a run on bottled water.  Luckily the disruption was fixed overnight and we could drink and use the water in cooking.

The end of the month also brought an end to our Home Prayers for March and the theme of St. Joseph.  We had the homes pray the Litany of St. Joseph and talked with the students about who St. Joseph was and why he plays an important role in salvation history as the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus.

Saturday saw the Spring session of FAST (Families And Schools Together) hold its graduation.  We had five families complete the program which encourages interaction among the students, their families and St. Joseph’s staff.  It was wonderful to see several homes attend the graduation as a sign of support and encouragement for their students who took part in the program.  A nice reception took place afterwards.

Should the popular movie, The Hunger Games, have a sequel, several of our students are ready to try out.  Due to the beautiful weather we have been having, those who have been practicing their archery skills were able to shoot outside on the football field.  They seemed to really be into the experience as they were out there for several hours.

Several of the younger grades are taking part in a gymnastics camp offered in the Chamberlain community.  It seems a very popular event; one of our students even participated on the Chamberlain High School Gymnastics Team as a 7th grader.  We hope that taking part in such a camp helps the students get the basics and establish some friendships with Chamberlain students. When they meet up again in high school, we hope good team work values may be established and will bear fruit as Chamberlain’s gymnastics team competes locally and on a state wide basis.

You know Spring has come when you see your first riding lawn mower!  I am not sure if it was out to be used or was being moved to be prepared for the upcoming grass cutting season, but it was moving about the campus.  I hope that is a positive sign that no more ‘wintery’ weather will hit the campus until next Fall and Winter.

Yesterday was Palm Sunday and we began our liturgy by gathering outside in front of the Benedict Homes for the blessing of the palms and then the procession into Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel.

I hope that each of you will have a meaningful and grace-filled Holy Week.  As we continue our journey to Easter and witness what takes place on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, may we be grateful for the love and mercy the Great Spirit shows His people through the witness Jesus gives as He willingly pays the price for our sins.  May we always be grateful and echo the statement of the Roman officer heard in yesterday’s reading of the Passion,

‘Truly this man was the Son of God.’

May we live out that gratitude by following Jesus’ example of love and service to all those we encounter in our journey through life.

During our Sunday liturgy we make various announcements.  Our high school program asked us to share some wonderful news.  Erin, one of our high school seniors, has just been awarded the opportunity of a lifetime.  She is one of only six South Dakota students to receive a Davis-Bahcall Scholarship.  This will enable her to spend a month studying particle physics at some great laboratories world-wide.  She’ll spend a week at Sanford Labs in Lead, South Dakota, which used to be an active gold mine, and then two weeks at the Fermilabs just outside Chicago, Illinois, where the Manhattan Project was begun.  She ends the program with a visit to northern Italy where CERN’s Gran Sasso lab, which houses the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest, is housed.  The Chamberlain High School principal stated he ranked this as one of the two highest honors a student could receive in the science field.  We congratulate Erin on this honor.  It was also mentioned that Erin and D’Kera have both been accepted at South Dakota State University following graduation.

Have a Happy Easter and know we continue to keep all of you in our prayers in gratitude for your generosity.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Fr. Steve’s updates

This year’s Holy Week has been so different for me, not having to prepare any homilies or lead services. Instead, I con-celebrated mass this morning at the local parish, where there was uplifting music and a good spirit among the overflowing crowd.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

This year’s Holy Week has been so different for me, not having to prepare any homilies or lead services. Instead, I con-celebrated mass this morning at the local parish, where there was uplifting music and a good spirit among the overflowing crowd.

The pastor introduced me and told folks that I was here for cancer treatments. Standing in the doorway afterward to shake hands and wish folks a happy Easter, countless folks came up and offered their prayers and support. Some told me briefly of their being survivors. All urged me to have faith and courage. And, the experience of prayer and community increased my faith and courage.

I’ve been told it’s important not to lose much weight before surgery, and having two Easter dinners probably has me looking to gain rather than lose over the weekend!

Right after church, Brother Clay and I went to a downtown hotel for a lovely Easter brunch. In the evening, some of the Franciscan sisters invited me over for dinner. One sister, who was in novitiate during World War II (she has just a few more years of religious life than me!) recalled how disappointing it was that they couldn’t initially receive their profession cross because silver was rationed at that time! But with 65+ years as a sister, I think her vows definitely took.