Sunday, October 3, 2010
After mass I joined the Rooney Home for brunch. These junior high boys are all into football this time of year, both playing on the fields, and following their favorite teams. Word got around that I had a batch of football cards donated, and Josh was wondering if I had any of his favorite team. Soon many of the boys were naming their favorite teams and asking about cards. I talked to the house parents and went home and gathered up some cards that they can use as rewards if those students maintain good grades and good behavior. Incentives can be a good thing.
I spent a good deal of time in the office this afternoon. I like Sundays to be a day of rest, but we have our Clergy Days, donor luncheons in Connecticut and our Board of Directors meeting coming up in quick succession, and I feel anxious about all that needs to be done. When I get that anxious feeling the best thing for me is just to dive in and get done what I can. I did meet with Dean and Dominic, the two High School students who will represent St. Joseph’s at the luncheons, and had them practice what they want to say to our donors. They’re both excited.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Ted Knife, a Lakota Deacon I used to work with on Cheyenne River Reservation, died after a long illness. I traveled to Red Scaffold for his funeral. It has been some time since I’ve been back to that community. When I arrived I could see the steam from the huge kettles boiling outside, cooking the beef to feed everyone afterwards. The men were standing around, stirring the pot and adding wood to the fire, remembering and telling stories. Like many funerals, besides the sadness, there are times when it feels like a family reunion because you get to see many people that were an important part of your life.
I remember Ted’s laughter and jovial nature, but he could also lecture and scold when he saw things he didn’t think were right. Ted served on the Tribal Council for many years and one of the former Tribal Chairmen said that he was often the conscience of the council, reminding them that to do right for the people, they had to do right by God.
Ted was buried in a simple, yet beautiful pine box, with his cattle brand emblazoned on the outside. The casket was lowered by hand into the grave behind the church where he preached and gave so much of himself for the 23 years he was ordained. The casket bearers passed around shovels and covered the grave themselves.
The hall was decorated with many star quilts and blankets covering the walls. After the meal I was one of those honored with the gift of a quilt. I was grateful to be able to be with the family and community on this day.