Tonight the Rec Center hosted a “Minute to Win it” fundraising event to benefit our local Relay for Life Chapter. As a cancer survivor myself (2 years now!) I am grateful for the generous efforts of people in our community in solidarity with those battling the disease. Many of our campus homes baked treats to sell in the concession stand and folks made a free will offering as they came in the door. We had plenty of laughs as students, staff and people from the community competed in fun and silly games.
I arrived in the middle of the competition, and was immediately dragged into a game where I had to bounce a pencil on the eraser end and land it in a plastic drinking glass ahead of me. I astounded myself and the cheering crowd by landing all eight pencils into the containers in under a minute. (Now people know what I truly do in my office all day!) I didn’t fare so well later in trying to slide a cookie from my forehead into my mouth. But, everyone had lots of laughs for a great cause.
For today’s National Day of Prayer, the Chamberlain ministerial association sponsored a community prayer gathering at one of the downtown churches. Representatives from local government, the public school system, the hospital, farmers and ranchers, and the Native American community spoke about issues close to their hearts. I talked about the concerns we at St. Joseph’s pray for, and asked the community to lift those issues up in their prayer as well.
I am thankful that because we are a faith-based organization, not only can we pray, but we do regularly pray – in the homes, in the classrooms and dining hall, and of course in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel.
What I hear our Native American children praying most for is their family. Most of our students’ families face some big issues, and our students are all too well aware. About one-third of our students don’t live with either of their parents, so we pray for a strengthening of families in our world.
We also pray that, in the face of high drop out rates, our young people will stay in school and fulfill their potential. We pray they will avoid the scourges of drugs and alcohol that are so problematic in our country, but particularly in the communities our students come from.
From another perspective, we get many prayer requests from our donors when they send us a note along with their donation. The economy is such a huge issue right now. People are praying for better employment opportunities for themselves or a family member. We frequently hear from people when they are facing major health struggles or are grieving the death of a loved one. We try to include all those intentions in our prayers. I was heartened to be in such an ecumenical gathering where we could pray for each others’ needs and the needs of our bigger world.