Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School,
This past Sunday was a very grace-filled day for St. Joseph’s as 27 of our students, who had been studying since September, received the Sacraments. Nineteen students were fully initiated through Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion. Two students, previously baptized in another Christian tradition, made a profession of faith in the Catholic Church, were confirmed and received First Communion. Six others who were baptized Catholic as infants, made their First Communion.
We were honored to host their families and friends here on campus. Festivities began Saturday evening with a chicken dinner for the families, students and godparents. Sunday began with family portraits in the small chapel, followed by Mass and the Sacraments.
Each fall, parents and guardians submit a consent form indicating if they would like their child to take part in sacramental preparation. There is no requirement that a student here at St. Joseph’s must be Catholic, but we are happy to work with a family and their student if they so desire. The Mission Integration Director works closely with families throughout the year, ensuring that this is what they want for their child and updating them on progress being made.
At the beginning of Lent, the children’s final period of preparation begins with a one-day retreat. Students bake bread and reflect on the meaning of the Eucharist, make baptismal garments, glaze a pottery chalice and learn the meaning of the Blessing cup, explore the gifts of the Holy Spirit and learn about the holy things in Church, including tasting a host and sipping the wine used in Communion.
JOSEPH’S HIGH SCHOOL PREPARATION
This year, St. Joseph’s has 16 eighth grade graduates. We are excited for their futures! Two students who will be returning for St. Joseph’s High School Program are “lifers” (meaning they have been at St. Joseph’s since first grade).
In preparation for high school, our eighth graders will:
- make a trip to Chamberlain High to meet the teachers they’ll have next year
- meet the houseparents of the Homes they’ll be moving into and become aware of what is expected in their new surroundings
- visit some colleges in the area so as to start planting a seed for the future.
JOBS FOR AMERICA’S GRADUATES
This past Wednesday, St. Joseph’s had the opportunity to host the JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates). There are three separate parts to the Conference—Employability, Public Speaking and a Math Competition. Sixty-five students and staff from the South Dakota Chapter were expected on campus.
JAG is a state-based national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who are most at-risk. In more than three decades of operation,
JAG has delivered consistent, compelling results—helping nearly three-quarters of a million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.
Last Wednesday, we held our annual Spring Concert. There were 25 performances on five different instruments—clarinet, piano, guitar, flute and the trumpet. Some of our students’ selections included The Planets from Animaniacs, fun pieces from various Disney movies, the theme from Titanic and even a patriotic piece—Battle Hymn of the Republic. The highlight was the 1st Grade’s singing of ‘If you’re happy and you know it—clap your hands, stomp your feet, and shout’ all done in Lakota. They even got the audience involved.
A week or so ago the Wienermobile came to Chamberlain as part of a promotion campaign. What made it special was that the driver, Isaac, is the son of Herb, who was an employee here back in the mid-80s. They were both happy to hear Chamberlain was on their route and they stopped in for a visit. Isaac had the responsibility of showing people through the Wienermobile and answering any questions.
I hope something unexpected yet exciting and challenging will come your way soon. May it bring a sense of openness and a willingness to try anything at least once.
I hope you may have received some April showers to help your May flowers bloom and grow.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ