Greetings from the banks of the Missouri River! The weather is still mild, which is great for the hunters, but not so nice for the farmers and ranchers.
Fr. Steve and a group of students and staff headed for the Big Apple this weekend for a donor luncheon. Last year when they tried, Hurricane Irene brought everything to a standstill. This year they are coming in right behind Superstorm Sandy. The group took letters of support and encouragement from all the students at St. Joseph’s to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. They were passed out at the lunches so that our guests and others would know that they have not been forgotten as they face the challenge of putting their lives back together.
A variety of things happened here at St. Joseph’s that highlight the activities and events our Lakota students can get involved in. Our student council leaders went to the state capitol in Pierre, South Dakota to be part of more than 90 schools, churches, veterans groups, social clubs and others designated to decorate the Christmas trees that are being set up around the capitol building.
Our inter-city basketball league is going great guns and we have been able to see some good results. There was a young lady last year from Chamberlain who got involved but did not seem to get a lot of playing time. This year when the Chamberlain Cubs came to play the St. Joseph’s Braves, she was part of the team! She seemed to be the first or second one off the bench. It shows the impact the program can have because it gave her the opportunity to improve herself and make new friends. The boys from the area are taking part in the program now and the games have been interesting.
This past Sunday, the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota held a Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of our first Native American Saint, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks. Several of our students went to the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls to take part. Besides the Mass, a statue was erected in her memory and honor. As Kateri is a patron saint for ecology, the group then visited butterfly complex to see beauty in flight. They ended the day by driving by the water falls that give Sioux Falls its name. The falls are lit, making for a very picturesque scene.
Recently one of our high school students, Erika, had the privilege of casting her first vote in a national election. What really made it special, however,was that she was interviewed as she came out of the polling area and was asked which issue meant the most to her. Her response was the bond issue the local high school was trying to get approved that would help fund a new cultural and activity center at Chamberlain High. Erika saw it as a valuable addition to the school, but sadly it went down to defeat since it needed 60% plus one of all those voting. It only got in the mid-50% range.
Things are getting interesting for our high school students as the winter sports of wrestling and boys’ and girls’ basketball get under way. Wrestling started last week and some of our young men are going out. Girls’ basketball got underway today, which means several girls will be staying over the Thanksgiving Break so they can attend practice. The boys hit the court next Monday and a good number are planning on going out for that.
As we approach Thanksgiving, it is a reminder of our gratitude for your generosity. The students and staff keep you in their prayers. May the Great Spirit bless you with good health, much happiness and safe travel if you are heading ‘over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go!’
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
St. Joseph’s Indian School