Enjoy the August 2018 West River Catholic
Matt Loboda and his family from Phoenix, Ariz. He will speak at the Summit. (Courtesy photo)
By Shawna Hanson
Director of Stewardship
“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way.” — Flannery O’Connor
“A lost coin is found by means of a candle; the deepest truth is found by means of a simple story.” — Anthony De Mello
As a third-grader, my son was really struggling to memorize his multiplication facts. We tried everything from flash cards to math games to incentives, all to no avail. He just could not remember them for more than about a day, particularly those involving the numbers greater than five. Finally, I discovered a program developed by a mom who had assigned names to the numbers 6-9 and then developed simple one-sentence stories that contained the math fact. For instance, 7 x 8 = 56 became, “Mrs. Weeks (7) and Mrs. Snowman (8) drove down the highway at 56 mph. (complete with a simple illustration).” In just a matter of days, my son, who had struggled for months, had memorized all the math facts associated with these number “stories.” There is power in a story. For one thing, we remember them. Stories stick with us.
In addition, stories have a power that the mere recitation of facts do not. They draw us in and arouse emotions in us. They bring to the forefront of our minds our own experiences, our own stories.
Recently, I attended a reception for parishioners at the cathedral given to share information with us about the parish’s renovation plans. Much good information was shared and all present seemed to enjoy the conversation and fellowship. But several parishioners shared with me later that the best part of the evening was Fr. Brian’s spontaneous
recounting of attending Mass at the cathedral for the first time as an Air Force officer newly assigned at Ellsworth. All of us delighted in the warm welcome he received from a fellow parishioner and in a real way, shared his gratitude and joy.
Stories often generate conversation and help foster friendship. In late July, I attended the Regional Stewardship Conference in Sioux Falls. There were many fine speakers and good information shared over the course of two days. But, in all honesty, what I enjoyed most was dinner on Thursday evening. Will Wisner, the director of our capital campaign, generously invited those of us from Rapid City to dinner. He also delighted us all with many of his adventures traveling across our diocese gathering information for our campaign. Thanks to his (and others)
talent for storytelling and his generosity in sharing it, all who were at our table had a delightful time.
Lastly, some stories have the power, as Anthony de Mello notes in the quote above, to convey deep truths. We know this is true of the stories Jesus told. In his parables, deep truths are conveyed through these stories which often use experiences and events drawn from the everyday lives of those he spoke to. Despite the apparent simplicity of these stories, books have been written unpacking the meaning of some of them.
My great respect for the power of a story well-told is one of the reasons I am so excited about the upcoming Summit to be held on Saturday, September 22 from 10: a.m.–8 p.m. at Terra Sancta. The speakers we have coming for this year’s Summit are master storytellers. They have some powerful stories to share. Matt Loboda is a father of five and works in landscaping in Phoenix, Arizona. In many ways, he is just like the fathers and husbands you know. But Matt has a very powerful story to share with us. In December of 2016, while visiting her grandparents, 19-month old Joy Loboda, was found floating face down in the swimming pool. She was not breathing. Matt pulled her from the pool and began performing CPR. “As I breathed into Joy, I prayed that my breath would be the breath of God into her …,” says Matt. Thus, begins Matt story of a long, very difficult and faith-filled journey for Matt, his wife Kristen and Joy. A story of a modern-day miracle which, like all good stories, touches the lives and hearts of those who hear it; a story which allows Matt to share with us the sure and certain knowledge of God’s great mercy and love.
Jim Beckman is also a husband and father. He has a great gift for sharing stories from his own life. He was privileged to witness the miraculous healing of his father, and as a Youth Minister for a Denver-area church to minister, to students who experienced the Columbine shooting. Jim was the keynote speaker at the Summit two years ago, and here are a few things people said about him then: “Jim Beckman was excellent!” “Speaker was Exceptional!” “I would love to hear him again.”
Finally, Chris Stewart and Tony Brandt will be there as well, sharing once again their inspirational stories and experiences from their many years of teaching and ministering as they did so well at last year’s Summit.
Bishop Gruss will be joining us, leading us in Mass and sharing his wisdom with us as well. I am looking forward to the event. I pray that you, too, are inspired to make every effort to clear your calendar and come. There are many ways we can choose to spend our time; many demands put upon us. But this is worth sacrificing for!
Come. Be inspired. Be renewed.
Bishop Robert Gruss has been asked to serve on the Board of Directors for Catholic Rural Life. He will begin serving a three-year term in November. The 94-year-old organization is headquartered in St. Paul, Minn.
Executive Director Jim Ennis said he met Bishop Gruss last year when they served together on a rural ministry panel. He recommended the bishop to the organization’s board.
The organization was founded in 1923, in St. Louis, Mo., by Fr. Edwin V. Ohara, who at that time was serving as the director of the National Catholic Welfare Conference’s Rural Life Bureau. He believed rural Catholics were underserved by Catholic priests, schools and hospitals. His primary interest was in religious education.
During the Great Depression the organization sought to help the economic plight of farmers by bringing attention to produce prices. In the 1940s the headquarters were moved to Des Moines, Iowa. Msgr. Luigi G. Ligutti became a spokesman for rural life issues. During the next two decades National Catholic Rural Life also focused on the spiritual needs of rural Catholics. It developed its own “Rural Life Prayerbook,” stressed blessing animals and fields and chose St. Isidore as the official patron saint for farmers. Between 1960 and 1980, the organization stressed farm-aid policies that did not change with political parties and responsible soil, energy and water stewardship.
Under the leadership of Bishop Maurice Dingman, with the help of Dr. John Hart, in 1980 a pastoral letter was developed: “Strangers and Guests: Toward Community in the Heartland,” and it was signed by 44 Midwestern bishops. In the 1980s, when many farmers and ranchers faced foreclosures, the organization began working to impact national food and agriculture policies.
In 2008, Ennis became executive director. In 2013 the name was changed to Catholic Rural Life and in 2014 the office was moved to St. Paul. Today the organization focuses on the environment, developing leaders in the agriculture community, and training priests and lay leaders who serve in rural areas. More can be learned about Catholic Rural Life from the Website, https://catholicrurallife.org/. In the Diocese of Rapid City, Fr. Tyler Dennis, Martin, is the Rural Life Director. (History condensed from CRL materials by Laurie Hallstrom)
Fr. Luis Escalante, postulator from the Congregation for Causes of Saints, Rome, looks up from the diocesan history book, “We Walk by Faith.” (WRC photo)
On July 26, in Rapid City, a local committee organized for the canonization of Nicholas Black Elk, servant of God, convened. The group called Officials of the Inquiry met with Fr. Luis Escalante, postulator from the Congregation for Causes of Saints, Rome. Also attending was Ken Stuart, Archives Research Administrator for the South Dakota State Archives/South Dakota State Historical Society. Stewart is working on the induction of Black Elk into the S. D. Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 9:30 a.m. in Chamberlain. The Black Elk descendants were represented by Myron Pourier, the great-great-grandson of Black Elk.
On July 27, Father Escalante went to Christ the King Church, Porcupine, and reviewed the files Vice Postulator Bill White has collected.
After Porcupine, Father Escalante went to Holy Rosary Mission in Pine Ridge. Black Elk’s work as a catechist originated from the mission in 1907. He is credited with bringing more than 400 people into the Catholic Church.
The diocesan phase of the process still includes gathering testimonies. In early 2019, the records will be sent to the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in Rome for review. No one knows how long the canonization process will take. To view the requirements of sainthood, check the West River Catholic digital archives, at https://www.rapidcitydiocese.org/west-river-catholic-october-2017/ see page 6.
In so many places in the Gospel, people who were sick and suffering were brought to Jesus, in hope of healing. Over and over again, Jesus touches them or they touch him. His healing love and mercy then become the source of new life for those who believed in his power. “Your faith has saved you,” he says over and over again.
Have you ever thought about the need for healing in your own life; that Jesus desires to give you that same new life? All of us are wounded in some way, wounded by many different experiences of life, wounded by hurtful events or uninvited traumas that happened in our childhood years from which we still feel the effects. We are left with inner wounds which cause emotional pain, and we try to manage our lives so that we get through each day with the least amount of suffering. Does this ring true in your life? Sometimes we are so good at managing life that simply to avoid pain has become our norm and we don’t know that life can be any different.
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly,” (Jn 10:10). This promise of Jesus may seem like just a dream to many people. But these words of Jesus from John’s Gospel reveal a gift that is offered to all of us. We know that he is not speaking of material abundance, but a deeper life in his love and mercy and healing. But how often do we ask for this gift? Or open our hearts to this gift?
In order to realize the need for inner healing, we must first identify the problem, those emotional wounds, so that we can then seek the healing Jesus wants to give us. Allow me to name a few common ones:
- A hurt that doesn’t seem to go away
- A tendency to become easily irritable with others, to lash out at others, even people who love you and have done you no harm
- Low tolerance and/or irrational expectations of others, expecting and demanding more from them than is reasonable
- Feelings of anger, hate, resentment, etc. that seem to “rise up” within you at the slightest offense from others
- Feelings of anger or resentment that are brought up by events from your past
- Difficulty in forgiving yourself and others, perhaps even God
- Difficulty in feeling loved, in seeing clearly and realizing the love of others and God in your life, as if a wall has been erected that blocks the flow of love into your life
- Becoming easily frustrated with others, with everyday tasks and responsibilities
- Feelings of hopelessness
These are just a few common emotional wounds that diminish the life Jesus desires for you.
How does one overcome these negative emotions to receive healing? 1) Believe that these things are not what defines you. What defines you is Christ’s love. 2) Believe that Jesus wants to heal you and give life in abundance. Remember Jesus’ words, “Your faith has saved you.” You must have faith that he can and wants to do this.
Over the years I have come across many prayers that have helped me along the way – leading to a deeper life in abundance. Below are two prayers which have helped and which I pray daily with my morning Liturgy of the Hours. They have helped me. I hope and pray that they will help you and lead you to the healing you seek — and the promised life in abundance. They have come from the “Manual of Minor Exorcisms by Bishop Julian Porteous.”
Prayer for Protection and Deliverance
Heavenly Father, I praise and thank you for all you have given me. Please cover me with the protective, precious blood of your Son, Jesus Christ, and increase your Holy Spirit in me with His gifts of wisdom, knowledge, understanding, hunger for prayer, guidance, and discernment to help me know your will and surrender to it more completely.
Father, please heal my negative emotions and any wounds in my heart and spirit. Send the sword of your Holy Spirit to sever and break all spells, curses, hexes, voodoo, and all negative genetic, inter-generational, and addictive material, past, present, or to come, known or unknown, against me, my relationships, and family, finances, and possessions.
Father, I forgive and I ask forgiveness for my sins and failings, and I ask that my whole person, body and mind, heart and will, soul and spirit, memory and emotions, attitudes and values be cleansed, renewed and protected by the most precious blood of your Son, Jesus.
In the name, power, blood, and authority of Jesus Christ I bind and break the power and effect in or around me of any and all evil spirits who are trying to harm me in any way and I command these spirits and their companion spirits in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to leave me peacefully and quietly and go immediately and directly to the Eucharistic presence of Jesus Christ in the closest Catholic Church tabernacle, to be disposed of by Jesus and never again return to harm me.
Dear Holy Spirit, please fill up any void in me to overflowing with your great love. All this, Father, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ by the guidance of your Holy Spirit. Immaculate Heart of Mary, spouse of the Holy Spirit, please pray for me and with me. Amen.
— Manual of Minor Exorcisms by Bishop Julian Porteous
Prayer for Inner Healing
Lord Jesus, you came to heal our wounded and troubled hearts. I beg you to heal the torments that cause anxiety in my heart. I beg you, in a
particular way, to heal all who are the cause of sin. I beg you to come into my life and heal me of the psychological harms that struck me in my early years and from the injuries that they caused throughout my life.
Lord Jesus, you know my burdens. I lay them all on your Good Shepherd’s heart. I beseech you — by the merits of the great, open wound in your heart — to heal the small wounds that are mine. Heal the pain of my memories, so that nothing that has happened to me will cause me to remain in pain and anguish, filled with anxiety.
Heal, O Lord, all those wounds that have been the cause of all the evil that is rooted in my life. I want to forgive all those who have offended me. Look to those inner sores that make me unable to forgive. You who came to forgive the afflicted of heart, please, heal my own heart. Heal, my Lord Jesus, those intimate wounds that cause me physical illness. I offer you my heart. Accept it, Lord, purify it and give me the sentiments of Your Divine Heart. Help me to be meek and humble.
Heal me, O Lord, from any pain caused by the death of my loved ones, if it is oppressing me. Grant me to regain peace and joy in the knowledge that you are the Resurrection and the Life. Make me an authentic witness to your resurrection, your victory over sin and death, your living presence among us. Amen.
— Manual of Minor Exorcisms by Bishop Julian Porteous