God’s love during the Christmas season

I hope that all of you had a Merry Christmas and through the love of family and friends, felt the love of God as well.

After three days with no one other than Fr. Bernie and I around, campus is gradually coming back to life. Two break homes opened on Monday. About 15 high school students who are in sports are back, along with a few younger students who have a need to be here. Yesterday Laura, one of our custodians, made her usual 7:30 a.m. stop at the high school home to empty trash and accidentally set off the alarms! During the school year, students are already up and on their way to school by then. With the holiday schedule, they were all still sleeping, and when she opened the doors the horns and whistles started blaring. Our students got out of bed much quicker than normal – maybe something the houseparents can keep in mind for the future!

The week before and after Christmas brings different rhythms to St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus. Some days are frenzied, others so very quiet. Last week, our grade school youth were home for break, but our high school students stayed through Thursday. Stress levels were high as the students took exams and finished the final semester projects and papers. I could see the visible signs of relief on their faces as families came to campus to pick them up for vacation.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

My holiday temptation toward over-eating had several worthy opportunities. Our facilities department had their annual holiday luncheon on Tuesday. They can be proud of the quality and quantity of projects they can say they accomplished as they look back over the past year.

The development office had their Christmas pot-luck on Thursday. The fall pot-luck features a lot more fresh vegetables from the garden, while this spread was filled with dishes that you need to eat in moderation, but I don’t always have the will power not to fill your plate.

While the campus is quieter without children around for a few days, many of our staff are still hard at work. We have thank-you’s to send to the many generous donors we heard from during Christmas. With the homes empty for a few days, it’s a good chance for the fix up projects that are too noisy or messy to otherwise do.

On the partial list for facilities this week:

  • Painting several rooms in the school
  • Removal of old storage tank in boiler room
  • Tile and freezer floor work in the Dining Hall
  • Changing many – many – many air filters around campus
  • Spray for Bed Bugs

Also on the list is snow removal – but we haven’t had much of the white stuff yet. The mild weather has allowed us to focus on other projects, especially the Stevens & Matthias Home remodeling.

The milder weather has also let the outside construction contractor to make good progress on the Iya Tokeya InajinThey Stood Here in the Beginning – Alumni building. This week and last they have put up support columns and attached the aluminum studs. The frame of a building  going up is one of the most noticeable and dramatic parts of any project.

Last week, three members of our committee took a drive to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to make some decisions about concrete castings to be used for the exterior. A four-hour round trip for a half hour meeting seems like a lot, but in South Dakota we get used to the mileage. What we don’t have too often is traffic. My brother, who lives in Chicago, can get stuck in traffic that long going but a fraction of the distance. With the good company of Tom (facilities) and Dixie (museum director) our conversation made the miles fly quickly by.

On Christmas Eve, I traveled north to the parish in Stephan, on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. When we don’t have campus masses, I enjoy returning to the area parishes I used to serve. Christmas is a wonderful time in small towns to see the extended clans and I caught up with many people who have moved away, but came home for the holidays.

Because of a larger than expected crowd, we completely ran out of hosts and I had to break the last few I had into tiny fragments. But I suppose even a little bit of Christ can do a lot for people who believe.

I hope Christmas services strengthened people’s faith and experience of God’s love.

On Christmas Day, I did the cooking and invited all our area SCJ parish priests to relax at our community house after a long weekend of Masses.

This week, I have very few meetings. The end of the year gives me a chance to clear the desk and dispatch with the 15 and 20 minute projects I pushed aside in the pre-holiday rush and also have time for some of the long-range planning that we’re in the midst of.



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.

2 thoughts on “God’s love during the Christmas season”

  1. ‘Happy New Year!’ Fr. Steve- and, all of the priests.

    Wow! A lot said- I can picture the whole scenario, this Christmas week.

    I have scene our priests break the host to accommodate a crowd; it’s one in the same.

    Below is a website you may find helpful:

    How to Kill the Bed Bugs in a Mattress
    By Erin Ringwald, eHow Contributor

    Print this article

    Bed bugs are often found in your mattress.
    Bed bugs got their name because they are often found in your bed. They will feed on you while you sleep. They inject an anti-clotting agent into your blood when they bite you to make their feeding easier. Their bites cause little welts all over that are hard and irritating. If they cannot find a human host they will also live off of the blood of other creatures, including birds and bats. Even though bed bugs do not usually carry or spread disease, they should be treated immediately to prevent skin irritation.

    Related Searches:
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    Difficulty: Moderate

    Things You’ll Need
    Upholstery attachment
    Flash light
    Crevice tool
    Diatomaceous earth
    Laundry detergent
    Hot water
    Take apart your bed. Separate the mattress and the box spring. Take the box spring off the bed frame. Remove all bedding. The more parts that are exposed, the more likely you are to find the hiding place of the bugs.

    Vacuum your mattress and box springs using your upholstery attachment. This will remove any of the bed bugs on the surface as well as their waste that may be left behind. This will also remove any skin cells you left behind.

    Use a flash light to illuminate the inside of your box springs. Bed bugs can use tears and gaps in the mesh covering to make their way inside it. Look to see if you can see any bugs through the meshing. If so, use a knife or box cutter to cut the mesh on the bottom of your box spring, so you can access the inside. Use your crevice tool to vacuum the inside of the box spring and remove visible bugs.

    Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on your mattress and box spring. Diatomaceous earth is a product made from ground up microscopic fossils. Choose the food grade version that is found at garden supply stores, not the pool grade found at pool supply stores.

    Leave the powder on the mattress and box springs for at least four hours. The longer you can leave it the better. Diatomaceous earth works by dehydrating the bugs. The longer you leave the powder on your mattress the more bed bugs it will impact. If possible, sprinkle it inside your box spring or inside any open crevices in your mattress.

    Vacuum up the diatomaceous earth after allowing it to sit for several hours.

    Wash all bedding in the washing machine using laundry detergent and hot water to kill any bugs that may be on it. This includes your sheets, blankets, mattress covers, bed skirts and pillows. Dry the bedding in the dryer using a hot setting.

    Reassemble your bed.

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    In the event of a severe infestation, call a professional exterminator.

    Reduce clutter in your home to help remove infestations not in your mattress. Bed bugs like to live in areas such as your hampers, luggage and furniture. Wash soft toys and clothing in the washing machine as you did your bedding. Clean behind, under and in all furniture, including drawers.

    Ensure there are no cracks or gaps in your walls. Use caulk to seal up spaces in baseboards and around wire entry and exit points in the walls. Vacuum the room thoroughly. Make sure you get the baseboards, under and around all furniture, and inside any other crevice. Seal up the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and dispose of it outside immediately.

    Use a stiff scrub brush to scrub your carpet in affected rooms. This will dislodge any unseen eggs.


    Read more: How to Kill the Bed Bugs in a Mattress | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_6548989_kill-bed-bugs-mattress.html#ixzz1i2GWs9Oq

  2. Dear Fr. Steve,
    Our best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year to you,your staff and children. I hope the winter is good to you-better than last year and the year provides many blessings.
    Marty and Teddy Brennan

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