Four diaconate candidates installed September 9

On September 9, four candidates for the diaconate were installed at the 5:30 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Our lady of Perpetual Help, by Bishop Robert Gruss.

The candidates have completed a year of Aspirancy, which is “primarily a time to discern the capability and readiness of an aspirant to be nominated to the bishop for acceptance as a candidate for diaconal ordination” (National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, USCCB).

The next step in their formation is the Rite of Admission. The rite is celebrated when, “it has been established that the intention of those aspiring to Holy Orders is supported by the necessary qualifications and has achieved sufficient maturity” (Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders).

As they continue through the next three years of the program, there are additional rites for institution of lectors and acolytes before ordination as a permanent deacon.

The four men recently spoke to the West River Catholic about themselves and what has led them to discern the diaconate.

Ralph Dupres

Home Parish: St. Therese the Little Flower, Rapid City

Family: Wife Rita; children: Deseree, Danielle, Lisa, Bobby, and Ralph; 8 grandchildren

Church Involvement: CCD and confirmation teacher, active in TEC, usher, Knights of Columbus, homebound ministry, Commissioned Lay Minister, Lector, and Eucharistic minister

What is one church influence (saint, teaching, book) that has made an impression on you? Why/how? St. Ignatius and his teachings and writings have taught me that there are times of spiritual desolation and how to handle those times.

Why did you decide to begin the process of becoming a deacon? At Mass one day, 17 years ago, I felt a calling. I fought it at first but it got too strong so I talked to Rita about it and we talked to our parish priest. We had small children at the time and he suggested we wait. We were patient and waited but the voices never went away. I searched out (the late) Sister Marie Schwan, CSJ, and she guided us to the lay ministry program which led to this.


Rob Hrabe

Home Parish: St. Therese the Little Flower, Rapid City

Work: Business owner

Family: Wife Natalie; two children: Mackenzie and Ashley; and three grandchildren

Church involvement: Commissioned Lay, Minister, Eucharistic minister, lector, and active in the Cursillo movement and TEC youth program.

What is one church influence (saint, teaching, book) that has made an impression on you? Why/how? When we were in the Air Force in California, Saint John Paul II came to visit Universal Studios for a youth conference. Natalie was teaching at a Catholic High School at the time so we got to chaperone the event. It was electrifying. Our faith and our spiritual life also really grew in the lay ministry program.

Why did you decide to begin the process of becoming a deacon? I had several spiritual experiences that led me to the diaconate. My wife’s and my spiritual formation intensified through the lay ministry program and we have a strong desire to serve the Catholic community.

Rich Olsen

Home Parish: Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City

Work: B-1 Simulator Training and Support Engineer and TRU Simulation + Training, Inc.

Family: Wife Mary Helen; three children: Charles, Catherine, and Joseph; and two grandchildren

Church involvement: Lector, Eucharistic minister, volunteer with Joy-Filled Marriage and Heart-to-Heart retreats, and VSI certified (Basic and Master certification)

What is one church influence (saint, teaching, book) that has made an impression on you? Why/how? Mary, Mother of God. As a convert, I did not have a devotion to Mary until I was married and had a family. I was called to pray the Rosary daily when my family came under stress from my military career. I have received many blessings through the intercession of our Blessed Mother. She has helped to strengthen our marriage and protect our children as they ventured out into the world.

Why did you decide to begin the process of becoming a deacon? I feel called to serve the Lord, and the permanent diaconate seems to be where God is directing me. My wife and I have discussed the possibility of the permanent diaconate for a number of years, but for a variety of reasons, it never seemed to be the right time to pursue this. When Aspirancy was announced, we felt it was the right time to respond to the Lord’s gentle prodding and pursue the possibility of service as a permanent deacon.

Bill White

Home Parish: Christ the King, Porcupine

Work: Full-time National Guard

Family: Wife Terri; children: Jared, Sarah, Breanna, Audrey, Billie; 17 grandchildren

Church Involvement: Lector, Eucharistic minister, parish council, wake team, confirmation, currently the part-time pastoral coordinator for Christ the King

What is one church influence (saint, teaching, book) that has made an impression on you? Why/how? The clergy have always inspired me. Deacon James “Heavy” Garnett used to always kid around with us. The church we were going to would have Mass every other Sunday so we would go to St. Isaac Jogues every other week and he would say, “I was wondering if you were still Catholic!” He didn’t live a perfect life, just like I haven’t, and that was a great example.

Why did you decide to begin the process of becoming a deacon? It was a calling. A few years ago I went to the Rapid City Diocese website and found the Canku Wakan retreat and signed up for it. That led to more and more involvement and then to the deacon Aspirancy program.




Immigration: ‘Let’s reject the forces of division’


If you have been following the news lately, you have read and heard much about the recent hurricanes in both Texas and Florida. This awareness calls for our continued prayers for the many, many people who have been impacted by these natural disasters as well as those who have been affected by the fires in the western part of our country and the earthquake in Mexico.

Immigration has also been a hot topic in the news over the past number of weeks. You would have most likely heard that President Donald Trump has suspended the five-year-old program instituted by former President Barack Obama known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It is estimated that approximately 800,000 individuals referred to as “Dreamers” have been in the program created by DACA.

The Dream Act associated with this policy is intended to protect immigrant youth who entered the United States as children. These young people are seeking to reach their full God-given potential and fulfill the promise of being able to give back to the only country most have ever known. The decision to end this program plunges these immigrant youth into uncertainty.

As stated recently by the leadership of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “The cancellation of the DACA program causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.”

DACA is a pro-life policy which protects the life and unity of the family. The family is vital for building up a sound social order. Family is the very foundation of society and a communion of persons called to reflect the life of the Trinity. These images are not to be taken lightly because they reveal the heart of God for the family. These young people were brought to the United States by their parents because they desired to provide their children with hope, opportunity and safety that they could never find in their countries of birth.

In a recent interview, former White House strategist Steve Bannon, a Catholic, criticized the Catholic Church and U.S. bishops for their views on immigration, stating; “The bishops have been terrible about this. … Because unable to really … come to grips with the problems in the church, they need illegal aliens to fill the churches. … They have an economic interest in unlimited immigration, unlimited illegal immigration.”

I, like many other bishops, find this statement outrageous and insulting. Jesus himself, in Matthew 25, has put the stranger, the immigrant, the refugee, the poor at the heart of his Gospel message, “For I was hungry and you gave me food… a stranger and you welcomed me.” The immigrant and the refugee are precisely the ones whom we are called to welcome. The sacred Scriptures very clearly declare that welcoming immigrants is indispensable to our faith. We will all be judged on how well we have responded to this call.

At the heart of Catholic Social Teaching is the moral obligation to protect the life and dignity of every human being, particularly the most vulnerable, which includes the many youth impacted by DACA. The church’s pro-immigration position is based on fidelity to God’s word and respects what all Americans desire — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To think otherwise is ridiculous and has no merit.

As stated by James Rogers, Chief Communications Officer for the USCCB, “The witness of the Catholic bishops on issues from pro-life to pro-marriage to pro-health care to pro-immigration reforms is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ rather than the convenient political trends of the day. We are called not to politics or partisanship, but to love our neighbor. Let’s reject the forces of division that insist we make a false choice between our safety and our humanity. It is both possible and morally necessary to secure the border in a manner which provides security and a humane immigration policy.”

No matter where a person is politically on this issue, this recent decision by President Trump is clear evidence that permanent and comprehensive immigration reform in our country is desperately needed. Let us all pray diligently that this can be accomplished and soon.


Why being a Stewardship Parish is important

Over the last several months I have written about your parish becoming a Stewardship Parish. Much of what I have written has been about how to become a Stewardship Parish. In referring to our diocesan priority plan, Through Him, With Him and In Him: A Spiritual Guide to the Diocesan Priority Plan,” I have spelled out the process for becoming a Stewardship Parish in “The Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish.” Some readers – and maybe you’re one of them – are asking, “Why is being a Stewardship Parish so important? Our parish is fine.” I am glad people are asking that question.

Patrick Lencioni, in his book, “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business” lists six crucial questions that need to be addressed for organizational health. They are:

Why do we exist?

How do we behave?

What do we do?

How will we succeed?

What is most important right now?

Who must do what?

It is important to note that Lencioni begins with the why question first — Why do we exist?

Simon Sinek, author, Columbia University professor and motivational speaker, says “very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief — WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.”

Sinek’s thoughts remind me of the prayer by the late Jesuit Father General, Fr. Pedro Arrupé, who answers his why question in finding and falling in love with God:

“Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

The why is the fulfillment of our true desire and happiness which can only be found in finding and falling in love with God in an absolute way.

Our sacred mission statement for the Diocese of Rapid City addresses the why question as well. “We, the Diocese of Rapid City, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are called to attract and form intentional disciples who joyfully, boldly and lovingly proclaim and live the mission of Jesus Christ, leading to eternal life.”

The why is eternal life!

In Paul’s letter to the Romans we hear: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Rm 8:28).

Jesus tells us what his purpose is — to love and serve God, and to love and serve others. “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, 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 12:29-31).

In the 19th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, a young man approaches Jesus and asks him, “Teacher, what must I do to gain eternal life?”

Jesus, himself, asks him the why question, “Why do you ask me about the good?”

The rich young man kept all the commandments and desired to do good, yet Jesus has more in store for him than simply keeping the commandments. Jesus wants him to go further and deeper not only with his relationship with God, but with his brothers and sisters: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Why is being a Stewardship Parish so important? It is important because it helps us to focus our lives on Christ as the center of everything we say and do. It takes the focus off ourselves and puts the focus on the needs of our brothers and sisters, who come first, even before our own needs and desires.

Remember, stewardship is not a program; it is a way of life. Stewardship begins with a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, who reminds us of our own identity as beloved sons and daughters of the Father, and then sends us forth as missionary disciples who proclaim joyfully, boldly and lovingly the living Christ that leads us to eternal life.

In linking discipleship to stewardship, we are following Jesus’ examples. In Matthew 25:14-30 he describes a disciple in the terms of stewardship. The steward is the one to whom the owner of the household turns over responsibility for caring for the property, managing affairs, making resources yield as much as possible, and sharing the resources with others. The position involves trust and accountability.

The characteristics of a Stewardship Parish are meant to help us to be accountable not only to one another as missionary disciples, but also to our parishes and our diocese. The characteristics of a Stewardship Parish are meant to be a guide, a blueprint helping us to fall more in love with Jesus Christ by living a Catholic way of life through generous hospitality, lively faith and dedicated discipleship.

I welcome your questions and comments regarding stewardship in your life and that of your parish. Feel free to contact me at (605) 716-5214 x235 or


Special Collection — September 23-24, 2017

The Diocese of Rapid City will participate in an emergency collection the weekend of September 23-24 on behalf of those devastated in parts of the Caribbean and southeastern United States by Hurricane Irma. You can give directly to the Catholic relief efforts either in the Caribbean ( or to the US areas ( affected by Irma.

To participate in the special collection: Indicate “Hurricane Irma” in the memo line or your check and turn it with the parish collection at Mass or their parish office. There will be no envelopes for these emergency collections. Parishes will send money to the chancery where the total is sent to the USCCB. USCCB keeps $0 and sends the rest to CRS/CCUSA for direct relief and for rebuilding churches.


From the USCCB:

WASHINGTON—The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited his brother bishops to take up an emergency collection the weekend of September 23-24 on behalf of those devastated in parts of the Caribbean and southeastern United States by Hurricane Irma. In a letter sent to bishops today, Cardinal DiNardo says the emergency collection is greatly needed to help victims of Hurricane Irma rebuild their lives and also help support reconstruction needs of churches destroyed or severely damaged in the U.S. and Caribbean.

Cardinal DiNardo’s letter to the bishops follows:
“In the past few days Hurricane Irma devastated significant parts of the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. While emergency outreach was immediate, we know that the road to recovery and the rebuilding of communities will be long and additional support will be needed.

“I write to you today and ask that you take up an emergency collection for those impacted by Hurricane Irma. These funds will be used in the affected areas to support humanitarian aid, assistance with long-term efforts to restore communities after widespread destruction, and for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church in US and the Caribbean.

“I am aware that this call comes on the heels of the emergency collection for Hurricane Harvey. That storm, which hit Texas and Louisiana and held on for days before moving inland, caused catastrophic damage and compelled us to respond. Likewise, Hurricane Irma has been devastating and our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, especially the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and the southern US need our help.

“The Church is a channel for grace and solidarity in the wake of natural disasters as it offers solace and support in their aftermath. However, as is so often the case, the Church itself in these regions is both a long-standing provider of aid and now is in need of tremendous assistance itself. So many of the Church’s structures have been damaged and their resources depleted which makes it even more challenging to provide assistance and pastoral outreach to those in need.”

Executive Director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference Appointment

Appointment of the Executive Director of the SD Catholic Conference signals the formal launch of the SDCC

Christopher Motz

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.

Click here for the full statement


West River Catholic: August 2017

Enjoy the August edition of the West River Catholic

Download the PDF

Liturgy Commission Questionnaire results

In 2017 the Diocesan Liturgy Commission conducted a survey of parishioners in the diocese regarding their experience in the celebration of the Eucharist in their respective parishes. The results were collated and analyzed and this document contains those results. Additional reports on each Deanery’s responses and each parish responses who participated are also available by contacting the chancery,  605-343-3541 or by contacting your pastor.

This questionnaire was part of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. It was one of the goals under the foundational ministry of Sacraments and Worship. The Liturgy Commission of the Diocese will use this information to chart its work into the next two years.

Click here to see the results

National Tekakwitha Conference brings tribes together

Great Attendance 
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…”


Knights bring Christ alive in wonderful ways

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

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!


Obituary — Father Gerald Nicholas Joseph Scherer

Click here to read the text from Bishop Steven Biegler’s funeral Mass homily.

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.

Father Jerry Scherer February 17, 1919 – August 1, 2017

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.