Appointment of the Executive Director of the SD Catholic Conference signals the formal launch of the SDCC
August 22, 2017
The Most Reverend Robert D. Gruss, Bishop of Rapid City, and the Most Reverend Paul J. Swain, Bishop of Sioux Falls are pleased to announce the appointment of Christopher Motz as the first executive director for the South Dakota Catholic Conference. This newly created Conference will serve as the official voice of the bishops of South Dakota on issues of public policy, providing explanations of Church teaching and their practical application.
As the executive director, Mr. Motz will follow the development and implementation of public policies and communicate with public officials in all branches and at all levels of governments not only during a legislative session but throughout the year. He also will serve as a resource for clergy as well as diocesan and parish staffs. Additionally, he will focus on issues that are of common concern among Catholic organizations, other faith-based communities, and secular agencies to promote religious liberty and the common good.
Mr. Motz and his wife Hannah have three children and will be relocating to South Dakota. He will begin his duties as the executive director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference in October.
Enjoy the August edition of the West River Catholic
By Fr. Michel Mulloy, Vicar General
In the month of September, everyone in the Diocese of Rapid City is asked to complete a questionnaire regarding each person’s personal experience at the celebration of Mass in their own parishes.
Why the questionnaire? What is its purpose? It is part of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan published last year and further explained in Bishop Robert Gruss’s pastoral letter, Through Him, With Him and In Him.
The Diocesan Pastoral Plan is a wonderful guide for our diocese and all its many ministries. It provides direction and energy for continuing to fulfill our sacred mission, that is, to attract and form intentional disciples who joyfully, boldly and lovingly proclaim and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, leading to eternal life.
The Diocesan Pastoral Plan has three Pastoral Priorities: Reconcile, Make Disciples and Fund the Mission. The Plan also defined the Foundational Ministries of the diocese, those ministries that are essential to our fulfilling our sacred mission. Each of the five Foundational Ministries have goals to be achieved. These goals tie back to the three Pastoral Priorities, specifying how we can continue to grow as a diocese, responding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It goes without saying that sacraments and worship are a key Foundational Ministry in our Diocesan Pastoral Plan.
As the Director of the Office of Worship, the goals created for the Foundational Ministry of Sacraments and Worship became my responsibility. One of those goals was to create a Liturgy Commission and the other was to measure parishioners’ personal experience in the celebration of Mass. The Liturgy Commission was created late last year. It consists of two priests and 12 lay leaders from throughout the diocese. The purpose of the Liturgical Commission is to renew the liturgical life of the Diocese of Rapid City. The liturgy of the diocese includes all the ways we, the people of the diocese, pray and worship God together. In addition to the celebration of sacraments, Eucharistic adoration and the Liturgy of the Hours are considered liturgy in the fullest sense of that term.
Certainly the most important aspect of the fuller liturgical life of the diocese is the Eucharist. In order for the Liturgy Commission to facilitate the renewal of our celebration of the Mass, we first need to understand the current experience of the faithful in the celebration of the Mass. That brings us to the questionnaire.
The second goal of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan for the Foundational Ministry of Sacraments and Worship was to implement an evaluation process to measure each parishioner’s personal experience of the Mass in their parish. Simply stated, we encounter Jesus Christ in each celebration of the Mass. The Liturgy Commission wants to understand to what degree this experience of the Risen Lord is happening for parishioners.
To accomplish this goal the Liturgy Commission studied the General Instruction of the Roman Missal also called the GIRM. This is the document that governs how we celebrate Mass. Throughout the GIRM are statements about what is supposed to be happening to the faithful at various moments in the celebration of the Mass. These statements became the foundation of the questionnaire created by the commission. The commission hopes to determine whether what the church envisions as the purpose of the Mass is in fact what parishioners are experiencing.
This questionnaire is a positive tool that can be filled out easily in a few minutes. It will help parishioners reflect on their own experience of Mass, understand the church’s vision of the celebration of the Mass and how Mass is designed to allow us to encounter Jesus Christ. In addition to the demographic information requested to help with analysis, the questions about the Mass allow for a range of responses. The questionnaire takes into account the fact that our experience of Mass varies from day to day. This questionnaire is not designed to be critical of the pastor, musicians or others who have ministerial roles in the Mass. The focus is rather on the experience of each of us as priests, deacons and lay persons.
The questionnaire is available August 15 at http://rapidcitydiocese.org/. Following this article are a few sample questions. Hard copies will also be available at your parish in the month of September. Please take a few minutes to complete the questionnaire between now and the end of September. To complete this survey go to the link and answer the questionnaire. Through the month of October the Liturgy Commission will compile and analyze responses. A report of the findings will be made available to the parishes and the whole diocese in the month of November.
Thank you for taking the time to reflect on your experience of liturgy and complete the questionnaire. Your input will guide the work of the Liturgy Commission and each parish Through these efforts, we will grow in full, conscious and active participation in the Liturgy so that we may encounter Jesus Christ and be transformed by what we celebrate to become more fully the body of Christ, the church* and the intentional disciples we are called to be.
*Through Him, With Him and In Him: A Spiritual Guide to the Diocesan Priority Plan, by Bishop Robert Gruss, p. 108
The National Tekakwitha Conference was held in Rapid City, July 19-22. Dedicated to St. Kateri Tekakwitha, it is the largest gathering of Native Catholics in the U.S. and Canada. This year more than 750 people attented the event in Rapid City. Dancer Dallas Chief Eagle and his daughter, Dallasina, performed at the powwow demonstrating traditional hoop dancing. (WRC photos by Laurie Hallstrom)
Tekakwitha Conference Committee leaders, Alice Pourier, vice committee chair, from Pine Ridge, and Beverly Running Bear, committee chair, from Rapid City, carried the traveling Tekakawitha icon in the Grand Entry, July 20.
By Laurie Hallstrom
“Loving One Another Through the Spirit of Kateri,” was the theme of the 78th Annual National Tekakwitha Conference held in Rapid City, July 19-22. It brought together people of many tribes, religious and clergy.
Fr. Peter Klink, SJ, vice president for Mission and Identity at Red Cloud Indian School, Pine Ridge, gave the opening keynote address on July 20. He has attended many National Tekakwitha Conferences, and while he cannot recite every state by heart, he does recall the religious and social experiences they brought to him.
“The National Tekakwitha Conferences were a positive faith experiences for the entire family. I remember grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers and fathers, children and grandchildren all celebrating, all having a good time, all sharing faith,” he said.
Father Klink recalled the St. Mary and St. Joseph Societies wherein native people could support one another in faith. He said by the mid-1980s the national conferences had become predominantly a gathering of elders. The Tekakwitha Conferences he has attended brought together all generations. “Include the youth in planning conferences. We have to be fun and substantive to them,” he said.
He noted the conferences were larger before the October 2012 canonization of St. Kateri.
“The challenge and invitation of St. Kateri, and of a loving God, is basically ‘now what’? How is the spirit inviting us and calling us to be a lively experience of God’s good news … throughout Indian Country today?”
“I am confident that throughout these days of our gathering here two women are smiling broadly, the blessed Virgin Mary, the church’s model of trusting faith, and St. Kateri. Both are watching … they want the best faith experience for us. We are not alone; they are interceding and cheering for us. That’s important for us to always remember.”
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, celebrated the opening Mass. He reminded the people he was ordained a bishop 29 years ago in Rapid City. In his homily, he said many of the people he spoke with since his arrival at the conference were men and women who were heavily burdened by illnesses, jobs and deaths.
Referring to the Gospel of the day, Mt 11:28-30, he said, “All of us are subjects of Jesus’ invitation ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart … For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.’”
Archbishop Chaput said by knowing God’s love we can release our anxieties and worries and not take them into the future. We can depend on God.
Friday morning the keynote speaker was Dr. Laurel Vermillion, president of Sitting Bull College, Ft. Yates, N.D., and a member of the Standing Rock Tribe. She addressed the conference theme.
“When we think about loving each other and caring — to me that means family,” said Vermillion. She grew up with her family close by and said her fondest memories include her grandparent’s who lived about 100 yards from them in their own home. Vermillion said. “People need to know where they come from, who they are, their language and their culture in order to be happy people — people who are successful. This is what we encourage our students to do. I didn’t know a lot about my culture and my language. I didn’t learn because it wasn’t a priority. My parents and grandparents thought that would be best for us.
“Now I make sure that our young people know who they are. We have a Lakota language immersion nest and to see the young people there is mind-boggling. They have so much respect. I see these young children speaking and listening and answering questions in Lakota. This is part of the answer. This is part of how we make things better.”
Auxiliary Bishop Edward Clark, Los Angeles, Calif., celebrated the July 21 Mass before conference members spent the afternoon at Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer.
On the morning of July 22, there was a panel discussion on opening the cause of Nicholas Black Elk for canonization.
Bishop Robert D. Gruss, Diocese of Rapid City, celebrated the concluding Mass. The Gospel from Matthew was the parable Jesus told about sowing good seed. Bishop Gruss said, “Our faith makes unconditional demands on us throughout our lives. It requires us to make immense leaps of sympathy and forgiveness; it asks us to live for God, not for earthly power and wealth; it asks us to put aside self-will and to live for others…”
I recently attended the Knights of Columbus 135th Supreme Convention in St. Louis, a gathering of over two thousand from throughout North and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Europe – bishops, clergy, Knights and their families – to celebrate what the Knights of Columbus accomplished over the past year and to give encouragement to the members as they carry out the mission of the Knights of Columbus in their local church. The theme of this year’s convention was “Convinced of God’s Love and Power.”
Throughout their history, since 1882, the Knights of Columbus have been a force in responding to the challenges of the times, those challenges presented by the culture, and the challenges faced in society around the world. The Knights’ dedication and commitment to the mission of Jesus Christ is expressed through the ways in which they serve as the Lord’s hands. As we all know, the heart of Christianity is not a series of principles or ideas. It is the person of Jesus Christ who extends his deep love for us and then propels us into action, sacrificing our own lives for others. This is the work of the Knights of Columbus.
Those who are “convinced of God’s love and power” find this as the source of the Christian life and mission. This underlies the work of Christian charity and fraternal charity which is the hallmark of the Knights of Columbus and their councils throughout the world.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, in his annual report given at the convention, shared the major accomplishments of the Knights of Columbus over the past year. He spoke of new records in charitable giving, with more than $177,500,673 given last year. Over the past decade, the Knights of Columbus have donated $1,622,606,995. Over 75 million hours of volunteer service by its members around the world reflect countless individual acts of kindness and love, changing the lives of many people. Other accomplishments include increased membership and the sixteenth consecutive year of growth in insurance sales.
The Knights of Columbus led the way worldwide in assisting Christians facing persecution, especially those facing genocide in the Middle East. They have provided more than $13 million to persecuted Christians since 2014 in the form of food, clothing, shelter, education and medical care. Supreme Knight Anderson shared, “Christians who endure suffering and death for their faith in places like Iraq, Syria and Egypt, show us how to confront terrible evil with the weapons of love and truth. They are a brilliant witness to God’s love and power.”
Two new initiatives were announced to assist Christians at Risk. First, on November 26, the Knights of Columbus and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will sponsor a day of prayer for persecuted Christians followed by a Week of Awareness and Education. Secondly, a new effort was announced to help save Christianity in Iraq by raising $2 million to save the Christian town of Karamedes in Iraq. Until recently Karamedes was controlled by ISIS. The terrorists desecrated churches and graves and looted and destroyed homes.
The Knights of Columbus are urging local councils, parishes, or other church groups, and individuals to help by donating $2,000 — the approximate cost of resettling one family. The rebuilding work will begin immediately. For more information about this initiative or to donate to it, please visit www.christiansatrisk.org.
These are just a few examples of the great charitable work of the Knights of Columbus, continuing its efforts to build a culture of life and a civilization of love.
I am deeply grateful for the great work the Knights of Columbus have done in parishes throughout our diocese, for their support of me and our priests, and for their witness and dedication through the ways in which they serve as the Lord’s hands.
I would encourage all Catholic men to become members of the Knights of Columbus. It is a wonderful way for men to support one another in their faith, to deepen their faith through prayer and action, and to answer the Lord’s call to intentional discipleship. When Catholic men come off the sidelines and get into the work of Christian charity, unity and fraternity the mission of Jesus Christ comes alive and many lives are deeply affected.
To my brother Knights in the Diocese of Rapid City, I conclude with the encouragement that our Supreme Knight shared at the annual convention. “This year let us be in even greater ways who we are called to be as brother Knights. Let us strive to be that radiant and attractive witness of fraternal communion that our church and our world so desperately need. Let us strive to be authentic witnesses of how to care for one another, and how to encourage and accompany one another. We can and we will do these things as the spiritual sons of Father Michael McGivney. We can and we will do these things because we are convinced of God’s love and power.” Vivat Jesus!
On Friday evening Sept. 29 and Saturday, Sept. 30, the Office of Stewardship will host the Third Annual Stewardship Summit. This year our conference will focus on the third lens of our Stewardship initiative: Dedicated Discipleship.
We understand that dedicated discipleship is rooted in the first or greatest commandment. In the Gospel, one of the scribes approaches Jesus with this question: “Which commandment is the first of all?”
Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mk 12:28-31).
Dedicated discipleship, then, encompasses both intentional love of God and intentional love of neighbor.
Sherry Weddell, in her book “Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus,” would call this dropping the net. We need to learn how to drop the nets of our own lives, just as the apostles dropped their nets, leaving behind the way of life they knew and with which they were so comfortable, to embrace a life with Jesus — a life of surrender that allowed Jesus to take control of their lives and hearts.
Echoing the words of a young seventh grader at Boys Totus Tuus camp this summer when praying the Stations of the Cross, “Easier said than done, Lord.”
To be a dedicated disciple of Jesus is not easy. It takes a lot of hard work with a lot of starts and stops along the way. However, God is patient and works gradually in our lives, bringing us to a point in which we hopefully can truly drop the nets of our own lives in order to follow Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life; there is no one other than he.
Weddell writes: “All of us must learn to drop our nets as the first disciples did and make an intentional choice to follow the Lord.”
After we have made this choice for ourselves, we are encouraged to begin assisting others. This can begin with a simple, two-part conversation with a friend, neighbor, family member or even a stranger. It begins with two simple questions:
Can you describe your relationship with God to this point in your life?
Can you tell me the story of your relationship with God so far?
Pope Francis says: “In the virtue of our baptism, all members of the people of God have become missionary disciples (Mt 28:19), every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are disciples and missionaries, but rather we are always missionary disciples” (Evangelii Gaudium paragraph 119).
Are you intimidated when you are encouraged to be a missionary disciple? If so, you are not alone. After last year’s conference, we surveyed parishioners from around the diocese and the most common reason for not coming to the summit was, “I didn’t think it was for me.” The reality is that this conference is for you!
We have worked hard to ensure that it offers inspiring talks and workshops for all Catholics — from those who have already dropped their nets and are looking for ways to help others, to those who don’t even know they have a net, and everyone in between. Come and see just how easy it can be to first drop your own net and then share with others why you have done so.
Our keynote speakers are Tony Brandt and Chris Stewart of Casting Nets Ministries. “Tony and Chris have been speaking all over the country for more than a decade proclaiming the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ and equipping Catholics to become Missionary Disciples,” according to their website.
Both are former teachers who bring warmth, humor and wisdom to their presentations. They have great stories to tell about their own experiences living as dedicated disciples in the Diocese of Wichita, which has a rich and successful tradition of stewardship. They will give three addresses during the summit and will share with us their “Seven Pillars of Effective Evangelization.”
In addition to these talks, eight workshops will be offered. Bishop Robert Gruss has generously agreed to lead three workshops, Fr. Jonathan Dillon, who is the pastor of the parish clusters in Gregory County, will be back with three more stories of great saints and I will share wisdom from Brandon Vogt’s book, “Return,” which outlines proven steps for drawing your adult child back to the church.
Lastly, I am looking forward to welcoming many more families to the conference this year. An addition to our conference this year is a youth track – meaningful play and age appropriate stewardship lessons for toddlers through 9th grade. I look forward to seeing families from across the diocese at Terra Sancta in September.
Where: Terra Sancta
Cost: $50 per individual/
$75 per couple/$90 per Family/
$10 per College-aged student
— if registered before
If you have any questions about the Stewardship Summit, or if you’re not sure whether or not it is for you, please contact me at (605) 716-5214 x235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Father Gerald N. Scherer was born in 1919 in a little farmhouse near Timber Lake, South Dakota. He was the third of six children born to Simon A. Scherer and Mary C. Ditter. He attended grade school in a one-room country school near their farm, then went to high school at St. Joseph’s School in Timber Lake, graduating in 1936.
From 1936 to 1940 he helped his father operate a lignite coal mine near Firesteel, SD. When his father died in a mining accident in 1940 he took over the operation of the mine and ran it until 1943 when the underground supply of coal was exhausted.
After spending a year working in an aircraft factory as an arc-welder in Wayne, Michigan, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. In 1947 he was discharged from the service, and that fall he entered St. John’s University at Collegeville, Minnesota, graduating with a BA degree in 1950.
In the fall of 1950 he entered the Seminary at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, for theological studies. He was ordained to the priesthood there on May 8, 1954 by then-Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, who was the Apostolic Delegate to the United States before later being named a Cardinal and appointed as the Vatican’s Secretary of State.
Father Scherer’s first assignment in the Diocese of Rapid City was as assistant pastor at the Cathedral Parish in Rapid City. From there he was sent as assistant pastor to Buffalo, South Dakota, where he helped attend to St. Anthony’s Parish and its six outlying missions.
In January 1956 he was appointed by Bishop McCarty as rector of Witten, Hamill and Dixon-Iona. While pastor there he helped with the remodeling of all three churches. In 1960 his residence was transferred to Winner, where he helped out with the school and sports program while still taking care of the missions at Witten, Hamill and Dixon.
In 1965 he was appointed as pastor of Murdo with a mission at Draper. During these years he held the additional position of Diocesan Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
On September 14, 1967 he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Gregory, and in 1970 he was again reassigned as pastor of St. Mary’s in Lemmon, where he continued to work at the diocesan level organizing parish catechetical programs, training catechists and using a mimeograph to publish the materials he had written, bringing a new approach to teaching the faith to children and youth.
In 1974 Father Scherer was appointed as Rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Rapid City, where he served until 1983. During this time he put his building know-how to good use, designing the present chancery, which opened in 1975.
From 1983 to 1994 he served as pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Custer with a mission at Hermosa. During this time, he build a new rectory in Custer, doing much of the work himself.
Father Scherer retired in 1994 to the private home he built near Hermosa. His “hermitage” was used at times for private retreats by many in the diocese. He continued to assist pastors with weekend pastoral support and to host retreats and workshops at his home until 2000, although he enjoyed visiting relatives in warmer climates during the winter months.
In 2011 his Hermosa home was sold and Father Scherer moved to Casa Maria Priest Retirement Home, where he lived until 2013, when he moved to Here’s a Hart Assisted Living. In 2014 he celebrated his 60th Anniversary of Priesthood in May, and that November moved to Bella Vista Golden Living Center, where he received skilled care until his death on August 1, 2017.
606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
Chancery Annex at Terra Sancta
2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
Terra Sancta Retreat Center
2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
Victim Assistance Coordinator