I had two more masses in Kennebec and Lower Brule this morning. I again enjoyed the chance to reconnect with people I previously served as pastor. After Kennebec, one of the parishioners talked about a friend of his who is dying of cancer, and wanted to know if I had any words of wisdom. He is at a loss as to what to say to his friend. The times I was too sick or to tired for company, I did let people know. But, I appreciated it when people sent a card, called or visited. A serious illness is made much worse when people avoid visiting because they are uncomfortable. I advised him not to worry about what words to say. Perhaps the most important words are, “How are you doing” and being open to really listening. You can let the sick person themselves decide what they want to share; be it the weather, sports, what it is really like to face illness or even death.
The drive from Kennebec to Lower Brule was 30 miles along a state road to the north and then a tribal road along the Missouri river the rest of the way. I didn’t see another car the entire time, but the scenery was wonderful and made for some prayerful reflection.
We had three baptisms at Lower Brule. I don’t know if anyone heard much of my homily, because the infants made themselves heard and took turns drawing everyone’s attention. During the baptism after the two-year old saw what happened to his cousin, he didn’t like the idea of getting wet, and started to object. But once he felt the warm water over his forehead the first time he relaxed, calmed down and had a big smile on his face when all was done. The families served a nice meal afterwards in the hall and invited everyone who came to church to eat and help celebrate with them.
Our students are all coming back to campus. The question I asked most of them as I walked the campus was, “What did you like best about spring break”. The most common answer was: the chance to play outside. We have been blessed across the state with some wonderful and warm weather this week.