25th Anniversary of WSDCF: ‘We can do more by uniting’

By Laurie Hallstrom

The Western South Dakota Catholic Foundation was created to insure the financial stability of ministries within the Diocese of Rapid City. It was established on December 30, 1992.

At the time of incorporation, Grant Trotter, Stewardship Director, was named executive director and Linda Batman assisted him. The mission of the foundation was established as promoting and strengthening the Catholic Church by providing people an opportunity to contribute to a permanent endowment fund, and make other types of gifts that will provide financial resources for meeting the spiritual needs of future generations of Catholics in the diocese.

The foundation is primarily the project of laity and it was encouraged by then­Bishop Charles J. Chaput. Among the steps in establishing the foundation was the lengthy process of writing a constitution and by-laws that would govern the organization. A silent fundraising phase was immediately started by the newly formed organization with an original goal of $4 million.

Msgr. Michael Woster, serving as Diocesan Administrator at the time, continued with the silent phase with the help of foundation leadership, after Bishop Chaput was appointed Archbishop of Denver in 1997. President Ray Hilenbrand, with the support of Pat Goetzinger and Harvey Krautchun, conducted estate planning seminars and promoted the purpose of the foundation throughout the diocese. A significant portion of the original $4 million goal was raised between 1992 and 1998.

Endowment 2000

When Blase J. Cupich was ordained Bishop of Rapid City in September of 1998, the foundation began their campaign titled “Endowment 2000.” The initial strategy was to raise the remainder of the $4 million in five-year pledges. In December 1998, the newly ordained bishop said everyone contributing to the growth of the WSDCF should consider themselves “new founders of the future” of the church in the Diocese of Rapid City. “In working toward self-sufficiency for the ministries in the diocese, I sense that, people are willing to change their viewpoint from being a mission diocese, to a diocese with a mission,” he said.

At that time, the foundation’s first president, Ray Hillenbrand reminded everyone saying, “A large majority of the foundation’s annual fund distributions will to go to seminarian education, priest retirement, Catholic Social Services and the West River Catholic newspaper — programs that impact all areas of the diocese.”

Harvey Krautschun of Spearfish was the chairman of Endowment 2000. He was also elected the treasurer of the WSDCF board. At that time he said, “Foundations intrigue me, especially this one, because it reflects my spiritual beliefs. All too often people have the perception foundation work is driven by dollars. The reality is the opposite; what drives foundations and endowments is a common belief in our spirituality and our humanity as they come together; we can do more by uniting than by standing alone.

“The question is not, does the church need more money,” Krautschun said. “The question is, do we want to be active participants in making sure that what we have been blessed with continues for our children and grandchildren.”

People are encouraged to remember the foundation in their retirement and estate planning. The foundation incorporated the slogan, “Remember God’s Will in Yours.”

With the set goal of $4 million, in February 2000, the Endowment 2000 campaign became a parish drive encouraging all families to participate. Parishioners were told only the interest earned from investing the core money would be used to support the diocese and religious education and youth ministries were added to the list of recipients.

By March 2000, $3.5 million had been raised. As the fund grew, people began donating money for specific causes; those donations did not become part of the core investment and were dispersed according to the wishes of the donors.

At that time, Trotter, said, “A number of people have told me they would like to give to Endowment 2000, but are not able to make the kind of gift necessary for the Foundation to reach its goals. They feel they are not able to make a “large enough” gift …” Recalling the widow’s mite, he went on to say the fund had received gifts ranging from 85 cents up to $500,000.

In March 2001 Dwight Sobczak took over as president. In September that year, Bob Bickett became the executive director. In December the new executive director and foundation members launched a series of diocesan-wide meetings to raise awareness about the foundation and planned giving.

Catholic Heritage Society

In 2002, Shirley Stec and Dan Corrin from Stec’s Advertising Specialties designed a logo, which is still in use. Also in 2002, a Catholic Heritage Society was formed to recognize people who made deferred gifts to the foundation. A fund was established for monthly Masses to be celebrated at various locations, to remember the society’s members. Around that same time the foundation began sponsoring a donor reception after the annual Chrism Mass. The Mass is held at the same time as Pastoral Ministry Days and it attracts many people from outside Rapid City. The reception is a way to thank the donors.

In 2006, Doris Bride became the new assistant to Executive Director Bickett. Bishop Cupich was appointed Bishop of Spokane, Washington in 2010 and Bishop Robert Gruss was ordained for the Diocese of Rapid City in 2011. In 2013 Tim Henderson took over as executive director and in 2016 Elizabeth Siemieniak became the assistant. They are the current WSDCF staff.

New Activities

Many other fundraising events have been strategized over the years. In 2001, the foundation hosted a Pheasant Hunt for Seminarians. The latest hunt was held October 3-4. In 2011 a fishing tournament was held at Ft. Pierre to benefit the people impacted by Missouri River flooding. In 2012 it evolved into the Bishop’s Fishing Tournament for Seminarian Education. It has been held in four of the past five years. In 2014 a Bishop’s Golf Classic was added to the fund raising events. It is held in conjunction with the Catholic Social Services and the Rapid City Catholic School System. This year the fourth annual golf tournament was held August 14, netting the three entities more than $30,000.

Sobczak stepped down in 2015 and Msgr. Woster of Spearfish became president. Tony Berendse, Rapid City, is currently serving as the foundation’s vice president. They, along with the executive director, are leading the WSDCF Board of Directors through a re-envisioning exercise to develop strategic approaches for improving the structure of the organization, set short and long-term goals, and implement actions that will guide the Foundation for the next 5-10 years.

As of June 30, 2017, the total WSDCF fund balance is $20,148,771, and unrestricted funds totaled $6,449,204. During the past 25 years the WSDCF has given out $9,288,131 to the diocese, parishes and Catholic organizations.

President Msgr. Woster is confident of the foundation’s future, stating, “Through its many donors in the past, the WSDCF has served the needs of the diocese since its inception. It is our belief that our re-envisioning and refocus of the Foundation’s purpose will serve the expanding mission of the Church for the years to come.”

To find out more about the foundation contact: WSDCF Executive Director Tim Henderson, PO Box 678 Rapid City, SD 57709, phone 605-343-3541 or email THenderson@diorc.org.


Catholic Conference office opens


Christopher Motz is Executive Director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference. The 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 applications. He will follow the development and implementation of public policies and communicate with officials at all levels of the government.



Christopher Motz is in the initial stages of opening the first South Dakota Catholic Conference Office in Sioux Falls. It is jointly sponsored by the Dioceses of Sioux Falls and Rapid City.

He has joined the National Association of State Catholic Conference Directors, which has members from 40 states. His first meeting will be Nov. 29 to Dec. 2 in Washington, DC, at United States Catholic Conference of Bishops headquarters.

“While I am out there I will also take the opportunity to introduce myself to the S.D. congressional delegation,” said Motz.

He said his job will have internal and external components. Externally he is focused on keeping Bishops Paul J. Swain and Robert D. Gruss informed on current judicial, executive and administrative actions. In addition, he will apprise the bishops of lower level court decisions in cases working up through the appellate process that may eventually have an impact at a broader level.

“Internally, it is important that the Catholic lay people are informed and have a grasp of what the church teaches and believes not only for their own understanding, but also so they might be able to articulate it to their friends and neighbors,” said Motz. An example of an important issue is the physician assisted suicide initiative which failed to garner enough signatures to be on the 2018 state ballot. “It will come again and education will continue to be important,” he said.

The upcoming 93rd South Dakota Legislative Session, which opens Jan. 2, 2018, will be his first opportunity to work with S. D. lawmakers. In the future he sees himself being available to give presentations to parishes and on college campuses.

He has already had the opportunity to speak at S.D. State University, Brookings. His topic “Render Unto Caesar,” was based on the book by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Motz said, “At the heart of the message I wanted to convey is that we can be faithful Catholics and good citizens.”

He can be reached at: Christopher J. Motz, Executive Director South Dakota Catholic Conference, 523 North Duluth Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104.

Telehealth reduces windshield time and improves counselor access

Jim Kinyon, executive director of Catholic Social Services and members of his staff test the new telehealth system. (Courtesy photo)

By Mary Garrigan 
Catholic Social Services

There are 22 counties in western South Dakota and 21 of them don’t have enough mental health providers to meet the needs of their residents.

Thanks to a new telehealth initiative from Catholic Social Services, access to a licensed, professional counselor may soon be only a computer screen away in those counties.

“We know that thousands of South Dakotans who live in remote, rural areas of the diocese lack access to mental healthcare services. The miles are long and the providers are few,” said Cathy Larsen, director of counseling at CSS. “Now, using a confidential online telehealth platform, those folks will be able to access a mental health therapist without driving hundreds of miles to do so.”

Telehealth technology can provide outpatient therapy and other behavioral health services delivered electronically by a counselor in Rapid City to a client who is accessing the appointment via computer, cell phone or other mobile device at a remote location. Telehealth is an innovative way to help solve the problem of limited access to mental health care that exists in western South Dakota, Larsen said.

Two at-risk populations who stand to benefit from telehealth services are middle-age white males living in rural regions and young Native Americans. In South Dakota, these groups are among the high risk populations for suicide and have experienced record numbers of losses to suicide in the past three years, according to the S.D. Department of Health’s 2017 Suicide Surveillance Survey.

“This initiative will allow us to more effectively reach out to those groups using telecommunications technology and help two of the most underserved areas in our state: Native American reservations and rural ranching communities,” said Jim Kinyon, executive director of CSS.

In the western half of the state, only Pennington County, where CSS’s main Rapid City office is located, has sufficient mental health professionals to meet demand for services. CSS also staffs satellite offices part-time in Sturgis and Spearfish, and in the more remote communities of Pine Ridge, Porcupine and Eagle Butte. On the Cheyenne River Reservation, where a CSS counselor works two days per week, the ratio is 1 mental health providers for every 2,840 residents.

“While Catholic Social Services would love to extend face-to-face services everywhere, the reality is that given many of the remote regions of our diocese this is not feasible. However, through telehealth, we reduce the windshield time and travel expenses and this improves access for those needing services,” Kinyon said.

Telehealth counseling costs are being supported by a two-year, $50,000 grant from Catholic Extension. This strategic initiative funding is designed to improve health ministry in the Diocese of Rapid City and other mission dioceses in the U.S. CSS is working with numerous parishes across the diocese that will serve as locations for anyone who wants to access telehealth services from the agency but may lack the technology or high-quality internet connection in their home that it requires.

To learn more about telehealth services or to schedule a counseling appointment, contact CSS at 605-348-6086.


Fr. Mark’s Musings

Advent Group Reconciliation Schedule

Midland, St. William, Sunday, Dec. 3 — 1:30 p.m.
Philip, Sacred Heart, Sunday, Dec. 3 — 4 p.m.

Rapid City, Cathedral, Monday, Dec. 4 — 6:30 p.m.
McLaughlin, St. Bernard, Monday, Dec. 4 — 7 p.m.

Custer, St. John, Tuesday, Dec. 5 — 6:30 p.m.
Fairfax, St. Anthony, Tuesday, Dec. 5 — 6:30 p.m. CT

Kadoka, Our Lady of Victory, Sunday, Dec. 10 — 1 p.m.
Colome, St. Isidore, Sunday, Dec. 10 — 3 p.m. CT
Wall, St. Patrick, Sunday, Dec. 10 — 4 p.m.
Sturgis, St. Francis, Sunday, Dec. 10 — 7 p.m
Lemmon, St. Mary, Sunday, Dec. 10 — 7 p.m.

Rapid City, Blessed Sacrament, Monday, Dec. 11 — 6:30 p.m.
Belle Fourche, Monday, Dec. 11 — 7 p.m.
Timber Lake, Holy Cross, Monday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m.
Buffalo, St. Anthony, Monday, Dec. 11 — 7 p.m.

Murdo, St. Martin, Tuesday, Dec. 12 — 6 p.m. CT
Porcupine, Christ the King, Tuesday, Dec. 12 — 6 p.m.
Hot Springs, St. Anthony, Tuesday, Dec. 12 — 6:30 p.m.
Isabel, St. Mary, Tuesday, Dec. 12 — 7 p.m.

Pine Ridge, Sacred Heart, Wednesday, Dec. 13 — 6 p.m.

Manderson, St. Agnes, Thursday, Dec. 14 — 6 p.m.
Gregory, St. Joseph, Thursday, Dec. 14, — 6:30 p.m. CT
Rapid City, St. Isaac Jogues, Thursday, Dec. 14 — 6:30 p.m.

Deadwood, St. Ambrose, Sunday, Dec. 17 — 2 p.m.
Durpee, Sacred Heart, Sunday, Dec. 17 — 4 p.m.
Eagle Butte, All Saints, Sunday, Dec. 17 — 4 p.m.
Ft. Pierre, St. John, Sunday, Dec. 17 — 4 p.m. CT
Faith, St. Joseph, Sunday Dec. 17 — 7 p.m.

Rapid City, St. Therese, Monday, Dec. 18 — 6:30 p.m.
Bison, Blessed Sacrament, Monday Dec. 18 — 7 p.m.

Winner, Immaculate Conception, Tuesday, Dec. 19 — 6:30 p.m. CT

Piedmont, Our Lady of the Black Hills, Wednesday, Dec. 20 — 6:30 p.m.

Presho, Christ the King, Thursday, Dec. 21 — 6 p.m. CT
Martin, Sacred Heart, Thursday, Dec. 21 — 6:30 p.m.
McIntosh, St. Bonaventure, Thursday, Dec. 21 — 7 p.m.

Spearfish, St. Joseph, Friday, Dec. 22 — 7 p.m.

Unstoppable Youth Retreat


What is it?  An overnight retreat aimed at fostering an encounter between post-Confirmation teens and Jesus Christ.

Who may attend?  All post-Confirmation teens in grades 8-12.

When is it?  The retreat kicks off Thursday, December 28th with check-in/dinner at 5:30pm, and concludes Saturday afternoon at 1pm.

Where is it?  The retreat will take place at Terra Sancta Retreat Center in Rapid City.

How much does it cost?  The retreat fee is $105, which covers all retreat materials, food and lodging (teens will stay in rooms with 1-2 roommates.

How do I register?  Click here!

When is the deadline for registering?  Please send in your registrations by December 15th to secure your spot(s).  Space is limited to 30 teens.

March for Life 2018

Love Saves Lives

The March for Life began in Washington, D.C., as a small demonstration and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world. The peaceful demonstration that has followed on the somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade every year since 1973 is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand.

Join the Office of Youth and Young Adults for a trip to Washington D.C., to participate in the rally and March for Life on January 19, 2017! Open to all high school and college age students. Contact your parish youth minister, Linda Batman, lbatman@diorc.org, or Craig Dyke, cdyke@diorc.org, for more information.  Click here for a registration form.

Attention Musicians: Join the Bilingual Choir

Hello everyone!

I would like to personally invite you to join the Bilingual Choir “United inChrist/Unidos en Cristo”for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12,  5:30pm, at Blessed Sacrament Church in Rapid City.

In  following our Bishop’s call to be “good stewards” for our diocese I strongly encourage you to prayerfully consider joining us for this very special Mass and be a good steward of the gifts God has given you. I have listed the dates and times of our choir rehearsals, all of which are held at Blessed Sacrament. If you are not able to attend these rehearsals but would still like to share your musical talents, please contact me at thyschroeder@vastbb.net or by calling 605-341-1143. If you have any questions please contact me or Maria Munoz at 605-791-3430 and we will be happy to help.

Rehearsal dates at Blessed Sacrament are as follows:
Saturday, December 2, 1-3pm
Sunday, December 3, 3-5pm
Sunday, December 10, 3-5pm
Tuesday, December 12, 4:30pm

Please prayerfully consider joining us for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe — even if you decide not to sing in the choir.

Thank you and may God’s grace be upon you! 

—Terry Schroeder

CSS honors Richard Thompson — recipient of the 2017 Founder’s Award

Catholic Social Services held their annual banquet on October 1 in Rapid City. The Founder’s Award, given in honor of the late Msgr. William O’Connell, went to Richard Thompson, former Superintendent for the Rapid City Catholic School System.

Thompson was instrumental in getting St. Thomas More High School started in 1991. Before the current building was completed in 1995, classes were held in the basement of National American University. He worked as a principal, superintendent and fundraiser for a new building.

Three people gave testimonials on behalf of Thompson. Barbara Honeycutt is the current Superintendent of the RCCSS. She previously served in the development department for the schools when Thompson was superintendent.

She roasted him on the conditions of the new Catholic high school: “In the fall of 1993, my family and I moved to Rapid City from Grand Island, Nebraska. It was important to us that there be a Catholic School System in the town we relocated to. I learned about St. Thomas More High School and we decided we had found our new home. When I inquired about the school I don’t remember being told at that the students ate lunch on the floor in the hallways, that every clock in the building had a different time on it, or that students had to crawl over their desks in Wayne Sullivan’s math class in order to be seated.”

His daughter, Kara Thompson, who teaches at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia, spoke second. She was attending with her sister Tammy and brother Brian. (Their brother Kevin passed away in 1986.) “I am a 1996 graduate of St. Thomas More. Msgr. O’Connell was a dear member of our family, of Kevin’s especially. The Founder’s Award contains special significance for all the Thompsons.”

She lauded her father’s sense of fairness and justice and his work toward seeing underprivileged students get a Catholic education.

Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, gave his congratulations to Thompson via video testimony. Thompson worked for Archbishop Chaput in the Diocese of Rapid City and the Archdiocese of Denver. “Dick Thompson is one of my heroes. He is a great man; he served the Diocese of Rapid City in extraordinary ways. Back in the early days of St. Thomas More (High School) I don’t think we could have survived without the encouragement and hard work he committed to education, to the church, to the Diocese of Rapid City, and to his family. I can’t think of anybody who deserves this honor more.”

Jim Kinyon, executive director of CSS, and Susan Raposa, president of the CSS board, presented the Founders Award.

When Thompson took the stage he thanked Honeycutt and her staff for keeping the school going.

He thanked his children for coming and his wife of 55 years, Judy, for keeping him going. “This award acknowledges that by the grace of God and the hard work of hundreds of people great things can be accomplished and continued,” he said. “It means so much because in reflecting on the life and spirit of O’C what better priestly model of Christ to the community of the faithful could we have than O’C? He’s a very special member of many families here I know, and certainly of ours,” said Thompson. He recalled all the support Msgr. O’Connell had given his family — especially when his son Kevin had gone through treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma of the spine.

John Garvey, president, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., a nationally recognized expert in constitutional law, religious liberty, and the 1st amendment, gave the keynote address.

Garvey said, “Most universities promote the idea that there are no good or bad choices. I am the judge of my own good; you are the judge of yours. If you mean to do good, that’s what matters most.”

That brings up two areas of concern — moral ambiguity and moral complexity. He gave examples of moral ambiguity themes promoted in pop culture. One is where physician assisted suicide is looked at as heroic and another where non-traditional family structures are held up as just as good as old-fashioned ones. In contrast, he used the Catechism and teachings of Pope Francis to illustrate Catholic moral tradition offers clear counter-cultural answers.

For moral complexity, he addressed a personal issue — the decision to attend a family wedding wherein a person had not gotten their previous marriage annulled. There was a lot of family discussion on whether attending would give young family members the impression they approved of the union. Garvey said he attended and was following Pope Francis’ position on staying close to a person in a messy real life situation. When the time was right, family members encouraged the groom to get an annulment and then be married in the church. Which is what happened.

Garvey said, “The Holy Father says to error on the side of charity. In Francis’s words, “Heal the wounds and warm the hearts of the faithful.’”