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.
My name is Mary Jane. I work with the alumni of St. Joseph’s Indian School. Each year we try to have three to four alumni luncheons at various places in South Dakota.
On Sunday, December 18, a group of us traveled to Rapid City, South Dakota for an alumni luncheon. Four of our high school students, RJ, Erin, Cody and Makayla along with another staff member, Maija who was a houseparent and is currently working with our high school students.
During the course of the luncheon we had twelve alumni along with their families join us. We had a total of 40 people for lunch.
Henrietta, who currently lives in Rapid City went to St. Joseph’s Indian School in the 50’s. Henrietta’s cousin LeAnn attended St. Joseph’s in the 70’s and also joined us for lunch. Both ladies shared their stories with Erin and others about their times in the dorms, school days and chores that they had. Currently LeAnn owns her own cleaning business. She stated that she learned to clean so well as a student at St. Joseph’s. Erin, our high school senior, shared her stories of being able to travel to Florida for a donor luncheon and Germany for an exchange with our sister school.
Three others had been students here during the transition from the dorms to the homes and were able to share many experiences. Kory, David and Janice all were classmates in the sixth through eighth grades during those days. Kory and David were in the high school program and a year in the college program together. It was amazing to watch them reconnect, share their stories and learn what each other have done since their ‘St. Joe’s days’.
Parents of several of the alumni came as well. They too talked about how much they appreciated all that St. Joseph’s had done for their children while they were here.
Steve, our 7-8th grade science teacher and Kara, our 2nd and 4th grade teacher also came. They too enjoyed seeing former students and joking about their times together in ‘the olden day’ as they call it.
The day was filled with laughter and reconnecting with old friends.
While we haven’t had much snow this December, it is definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Today was the day for our Christmas store. Our staff pulls aside many new or like new items that are donated and our Native American youth get a chance to “shop” for presents for their family. Each child has a book of tickets, some good for baby clothes, others for jewelry, toiletries, books and games etc.
Staff and other volunteers help wrap a few of the gifts and Santa makes his appearance to find out who has been naughty and who has been nice.
The High School Native American club held an Indian taco sale outside of our downtown Thrift Store. They are raising money for their annual powwow and other activities. I went downtown for lunch, and the food was all mouth-watering. But while our young entrepreneurs were great cooks, they forgot some of the other essentials, like paper plates to put the tacos on, or even utensils to dish out the food. Luckily our Thrift Store was able to come to the rescue until reinforcements arrived.
Our 7th and 8th grade basketball teams traveled to South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. They attended a men’s and women’s college basketball double-header. Hopefully seeing life on a college campus gets a few of our students thinking along those lines.
Tomorrow is the Dancing Dolls and Dudes recital, so I had a special evening mass for the four younger girls homes so they could have extra time to get hair and makeup ready in the morning. The students seemed to enjoy the smaller, more intimate liturgy, and I had plenty of willing volunteers for the help I needed. Appropriately, our closing song was “Lord of the Dance.”
Hi friends! I was excited when Fr. Steve invited guest bloggers to write a little something for our readers.
My name is Carla and I’m one of the staff who answers the telephone when you call, so there’s a good chance we may have already visited with one another.
I was born and raised in Chamberlain and during my lifetime, I have seen St. Joseph’s Indian School make a difference in the lives of thousands of Native American children. I can’t say it often enough, but I am fortunate to work in such a caring environment. St. Joseph’s truly cares for these children and for their staff.
I truly enjoy visiting with friends of St. Joseph’s. Many people call for information about the school and the children, to give a credit card donation or to have their mail tailored to their special interests. If I don’t have the answer for you, I’ll find out who does and be certain all your questions are answered!
It is my pleasure to record and schedule your Holy Mass requests for Fr. Steve. I am also happy to fill out forms and confirm corporate matching gifts from your company. Many people don’t realize companies match donations from both active and retired employees and even their spouses, widows or widowers. It’s an easy way to make your gifts go even further.
We do everything here hand-in-hand with you. With your help, we are able to bring a brighter future to these very special Lakota (Sioux) children. Now be sure to give us a call (1-800-762-2162) if you have any questions. I am waiting to visit with you!
We’re a real crossroads this time of the year, but don’t get a whole lot of visitors in February!
I didn’t have many meetings today, so I was free to move about campus and check in on what’s been going on.
I talked with Tom, head of our facilities department. Tom updated me on all the summer projects our maintenance crew has been up too. It’s obvious what they do when you see one of the homes being gutted and remodeled. There’s so much behind-the-scenes work that goes on; people may not notice.
The campus was surveyed for drainage to improve problem spots. The electrical system on our geothermal Templifier was upgraded, so we won’t have problems heating the campus this winter. Our crew takes great pride in all that goes into keeping the campus safe and beautiful.
I checked out our pool after it got a paint job and a new surface on the surrounding deck. I ran into Patrick, a houseparent I hadn’t seen for about a month. There are so many folks on campus I so enjoy sitting down to share with … even if I only take a few minutes to catch up.
Silent auction brings new friends
There’s been lots of activity at the pavilion where we’ve been silent auctioning off furniture we’ve replaced over the years.
First, we gave staff on campus the chance to look over what we have and switch out anything they could use for offices or campus homes. Now, we’re making a few bucks and clearing out needed storage space. Seems like the biggest spenders were parents of college kids, looking for some worn but usable couches and chairs for setting up an apartment. You’d think they’d buy more of the bookshelves, but no!
Our Lady of the Sioux chapel visitors
Over at the chapel I saw a man kneeling in prayer and another looking at the artwork. I turned on more lights so they could get a better look. They were two priests visiting from Massachusetts, on the way to Alaska. I answered questions about the school until their traveling companions showed up and urged them to hit the road on their westward journey.
Fr. Peter, an SCJ from Ottawa Canada, also surprised us with a visit. He’d been on a tour of many of the National Parks, and just stopped in for a cool drink and the chance to say hello before he continued his journey east. We’re at a real crossroads this time of the year, but don’t get a whole lot of visitors in February!
I doubt I’ll ever spend 18 hours straight in a confessional; but I pray I can be a humble and good priest, and help people feel both the need for conversion and the love of God.
Feast of St. John Vianney
I doubt I’ll ever spend 18 hours straight in a confessional; but I pray I can be a humble and good priest, and help people feel both the need for conversion and the love of God. To do that I have to fully accept both those realities in my own life.
Visions for St. Joseph’s
Our management meeting dealt with a broad array of topics. Some issues are immediate like reshuffling janitorial duties, or how we’ll split our presentations to the all staff gathering next week. Other topics require long-term planning, such as adding on to the museum or starting our next strategic plan.
Four years ago our staff came together and worked out our vision for St. Joseph’s, which laid the groundwork for much of what we’re doing now. Our next plan will take us to 2017; so we’re laying out a time frame for that process now.
Celebrating birthdays with conversation
Two of my three member management team, Kory and Donna, have birthdays this week. After our meeting we went out to lunch to celebrate. It’s fun to visit with staff when you’re not just talking business and getting to know each other in a more personal way. If you’re going to have good teamwork, it’s important to build relationships.
I spent the day helping with the funeral. Afterward, at the luncheon, I heard family and friends telling the stories of how he will be remembered.
Ron, a 69 year-old rancher from my former parish in Stephan, died after a long and painful battle with cancer. He died in the same house he grew up and lived all his life. He knew the cancer was terminal. When I talked to him a few weeks ago, he had come to a sense of peace and acceptance about that.
Ron knew a lot about many things; but, what I admired most was that instead of pontificating about what he believed, he asked, “What do you think about . . . ?” He was anxious to learn, and because of that, he had a lot of wisdom.
I spent the day helping with the funeral. Afterward, at the luncheon, I heard family and friends telling the stories of how he will be remembered. One of his sons recalled how Ron would give them a ranch chore and then pressure them to get done by a deadline; however, he wouldn’t tell them HOW they had to do it. Many of their days were spent experimenting with homemade gadgets that sometimes worked great; other times leaving them working late to make up for their mistakes. In allowing them to try different things, they learned.
The freedom to grow
I think God is like that too. We all have a broad outline of what we have to do – love God and our neighbor – but we each have to find unique ways to do that. In giving us freedom, God allows us to make mistakes … and hopes that we can learn from them.
Speaking of blood, since my clotting factor was too high last week, I had more blood work today. My level stabilized and is where the doctors want it.
This morning I welcomed our seven new houseparents and one new teacher as they began their week of orientation. Three are South Dakota residents; one couple is from Michigan. The others represent Oklahoma, Louisiana and Ohio.
We get the most geographic diversity within the houseparent job. Most of our staff have local roots. The newcomers bring lots of enthusiasm, plenty of questions, and a little bit of anxiety as they tackle this new endeavor.
Mike, our Executive Director of Child Services, spoke about his first years as a houseparent. There are days that are fun and memorable; other days when the students frustrate and upset you terribly. He encouraged everyone to work through both the good and the bad. It’s the whole mix of admiring kids at their finest, and working with them at their lowest, that really makes the job get into your blood.
Speaking of blood, since my clotting factor was too high last week, I had more blood work today. My level stabilized and is where the doctors want it.
Our Tiyospaye – extended family
Darby – who works on our computers – was back at work today after becoming a brand new Dad for the first time last week. His wife and son are both doing well. He just needs to have a “man-to-man” talk with his son about keeping it a little quieter in the middle of the night.
Encounters like this remind me that besides the students we serve and friends like you, our staff have family and loved ones that become part of our Tiyospaye – extended family.
During the school year, Sundays can be anything but a day of rest. However, today was very peaceful. I had plenty of time for reading and prayers.
During the school year, Sundays can be anything but a day of rest. However, today was very peaceful. I had plenty of time for reading and prayers. Several phone calls came in from family and friends that lifted my spirits.
The only real work I did occurred when a donor arrived with a truck load of non-monetary goods; I was the only person he could find on campus. I helped him unload, and tomorrow Central Receiving will have their hands full once again.
I ventured out to the campus recreation center to see how much of a workout I could do. I increased my time and speed on the treadmill, and the soreness in the foot was more easily put out of mind with a closely fought baseball game on the TV. I’m not much of a weight person; but I worked on some upper body strengthening, since that part of me feels fine.
Tomorrow our new Child Service’s staff – 7 houseparents and 1 teacher – arrive and start their orientation. While the calendar still says we have much more summer left, tomorrow our summer at St. Joseph’s comes to an end.
I concelebrated mass in Reliance this evening. I continue my “Recuperation Tour” of liturgies at the area parishes I was assigned to.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I concelebrated mass in Reliance this evening. I continued my “recuperation tour” of liturgies at the parishes I was assigned. I got another warm reception with lots of hugs.
People are glad to see me getting out and about and are very supportive. I also hear of difficulties and illnesses they are dealing with; and even as I feel so much comfort and prayer, my own prayer list for others grows.
A family I hadn’t met before stopped in to visit. They were friends of a friend who had arranged for a memorial brick for their adult daughter who had died. It took us a while in the very hot sun to find exactly where the brick was, but they effort was definitely worth it for them. Their entire trip together was something of a pilgrimage, and they placed flowers on the spot. They shed some tears, and told some stories. I felt privileged to share in that time with them.