Reservation Story

October 26, 2012

It has been a while, dear readers, since I posted anything new here.  Running three parishes in American’s second poorest county has kept me busy, to say the least.  But you will be happy to know, I hope, that the Church here is growing once again — Mass attendance up by 40% over this time last year, sacramental prep programs expanded, a good number of people in RCIA, and a great shot of energy and joy last week with the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha.  I had a little talk with Kateri, back when she was still just a Blessed, and I think she’ll be helping us out here in the future.  In fact, I think she may have pulled a few strings for us already this week.

I hope to write a bit more about our little (but growing) Lakota church here in the near future, but first I thought I’d share something I wrote a while back, after my first visit to Rosebud, which has now finally appeared in print in the very fine Christian literary journal Relief.  I’d recommend a look at Relief even if they hadn’t published my story, and they’re available on Kindle.

I’d also recommend liking St. Francis Mission on Facebook to see a few more pictures of all that’s been going on here, especially our celebrations for St. Kateri.
AL, SJ

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St. Francis Mission on EWTN

January 17, 2012

I am told that astronauts orbiting the earth from space can see the lights of our big cities.  It is probably safe to say that the metropolis of St. Francis, SD, has thus far escaped the notice of NASA’s crews.  But the lights of the world will soon be upon us when St. Francis Mission is featured on EWTN Live this Wednesday, January 18, at 8:00 EST.

The theme of the show is “Bringing the Gospel to the Lakota,” but it would be well worth tuning in even for those who aren’t Lakota and don’t plan on visiting St. Francis, SD (or viewing it from space).  That’s because the question of how evangelization and the inculturation of the Gospel takes place is relevant far beyond the borders of the Rosebud Reservation.  Moreover, I believe both that Lakota Catholics have something unique to contribute to the Church and that the model of mission and ministry we are developing here on Rosebud could serve as a model for evangelization in other contexts as well.

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Shameless self-promotion

August 24, 2011

Jesuit formation, as I wrote in my last post, aims to prepare us to go anywhere, and this August marks a major step forward in that formation for me, as well as a major change in scenery.  I have traded in the skyscrapers of Chicago and the philosophy books of Loyola University for the prairies of south-central South Dakota and parish administration at St. Agnes, St. Bridget, and St. Charles parishes on the Rosebud Reservation.

The Jesuits out here on the prairie don’t often make it into the headlines, but we do work of which the Society can be rightly proud.  So take a moment and check out the work of St. Francis Mission here on the web, and if you happen to be visiting the Badlands or the Black Hills take a somewhat longer moment and a slight detour off of I-90 to learn a bit about Lakota culture and the work of the “Blackrobes” over the past century—and today.

And since, as you can imagine, this transition has taught me just how much I still have to learn about everything from parish finances to Lakota burial traditions to how to polish brass, these weeks have left me with a bit less time for blogging than what I’ve been used to.  Fear not, however, loyal readers of Whosoever Desires, for this latest assignment promises even more stories and observations to share with all of you in the months and years to come.

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