A Busy Saturday

The Lakota (Sioux) children at St. Joseph’s participate in the Rites of Initiation with the support of their families.
The Lakota students who will be baptized or receive communion make stoles to wear on their special day.

As our students prepare for to receive the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation, our Rite of Christian Initiation included a retreat for the 11 Lakota (Sioux) families participating.

We began with lunch and introductions, then broke into six workshop stations. Each lasted a half hour, and the families rotated to different activities. Delores and Karen helped the students make the stoles they will use on their special day. Mary Jane and Claire helped with a bread making activity. Steve gave them some treats and prizes to help them learn and remember the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (i.e. “smarties” candy to represent the gift of understanding). Joe taught them a song for church. Mary showed them a movie about a family sharing bread and much love.

Father Anthony and I led the workshop in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. Ours was entitled “Holy Things” but we informally named it, “What’s it for, What’s it called???”

The Native American children and their families could wander around the church and ask questions about anything that caught their fancy. Fr. Anthony had a set of vestments sitting out, and kids were tickled when he stood each of them on a stool and dressed them like a priest, explaining each of the vestments and symbolic colors.

I had all the things you use for mass on the altar, and those students who were curious could even taste one of the unconsecrated hosts, to take some of the mystery and worry out of first communion. (Two told me they tasted like chips, but with just whole wheat and water they really are quite plain).

Questions ranged from statues and stained glass to cabinets and storage room. Two groups wanted to get the view from the choir loft, and we let them hear what the pipe organ sounds like up close. The students got excited about the interaction. As always, our main goal is to help them know and love God more dearly.

At the end of the retreat, we had our weekend mass for the whole school Saturday evening. The candidates and catechumens wrote their names in the Book of Enrollment. We will celebrate the sacraments of initiation the Sunday after Easter.

If that wasn’t enough for a Saturday, the 6th-8th grade basketball players, both boys and girls, were given the chance to travel to Mitchell, South Dakota for a college basketball game at Dakota Wesleyan University. The two highlights were Thomas making a 3-point shot during half time to win a bottle of pop, and our kids seeing the live action cam broadcast their faces on the jumbo-tron scoreboard.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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